WRIGHTS  OF  LOUTH

Operating across the Wolds of Lincolnshire in days gone by


 Please note this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information


Lying in valley of the river Lud, the historic market town of Louth is recognised as the capital of the Lincolnshire Wolds.  It was there in 1925 that two brothers Fred and Alf Wright set up in the motor bus business.  The first vehicle acquired by Wright Brothers was a second-hand 14-seater Renault and after some initial uncertainties their first bus routes appear to have been from Louth to Lincoln and from Louth via Saltfleetby to Mablethorpe (Barker of Mablethorpe's Grayscroft service was also running on this road since 1924 and continues to this day). By 1927 the Wright fleet had become six vehicles and six routes, but it appears that in August 1926 Alf had withdrawn from the partnership and been replaced by Mr E Kemp, the owner of the East Lincolnshire Motor Company. His fresh injection of capital ensured that by 1930 there were thirty buses in the fleet.

The August 1929 timetable booklet issued by the Lincolnshire Chronicle exhorted passengers "for night travelling look for the illuminated W".  It lists Wright's routes as including Lincoln - Woodhall Spa - Tattershall - Boston (4 times a day); Louth - Alford - Spilsby (also 4 times a day); Louth - Wragby - Lincoln (3 times a day); and Louth - Horncastle - Bardney - Lincoln (4 times a day).

After its opening in 1934 special services were operated to the motor racing circuit at Cadwell Park (established by Mansfield Wilkinson of Louth). The seaside routes to Mablethorpe were important to Wrights and in 1936 the competing Grayscroft service from Mablethorpe to Louth was expanded to serve the RAF at Manby and this resulted in many traffic commissionersí court battles as Wrights were unhappy with the other service taking away some of their business in and around Louth.

Pages from an early Wrights timetable, possibly later than the 1929 booklet mentioned above as the Spilsby service has reached Boston.
(Reproduced with thanks from the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society collection)
early Wrights timetable from LVVS collection

early Wrights timetable from LVVS collection

Over the years the network of Wright's Bus Services routes expanded considerably across this part of Lincolnshire reaching Market Rasen, Horncastle, Lincoln, Boston and Sleaford - as shown in the map below - and the red and cream buses became a familiar sight around these parts of the county. By 1931 the majority of the routes set out in the 1950 table below were already in operation. It was a network of daily bus services between the several market towns of East Lincolnshire - Louth, Alford and Horncastle - linking them to nearby villages and to key destinations such as Lincoln, Mablethorpe and Boston.

Coupling
private hire and excursion work to the bus routes, growth continued and by the middle of the 1930s this was a significant business with some thirty five vehicles and a hundred staff.  Significant parcel and newspaper carrying developed. Additional depots were established in Sleaford and in Lincoln (in the yard of the Adam and Eve on Lindum Hill, opposite the medieval Pottergate Arch in the shadow of the cathedral, and reputedly the oldest tavern in Lincoln dating back to 1701). Nine buses were based there in 1947. The Lincoln city terminus used by Wrights was Unity Square, whilst in Sleaford it was Cropley's Yard off Eastgate.

Restrictions on private motoring during the war encouraged increased use of buses and the RAF airfield at Manby near Louth provided plenty of wartime work. Two second-hand Maudsley double deckers had come into the fleet pre-war. During the extended snowfall of winter 1947 almost everything came to a halt for six weeks and the roof of the Louth garage collapsed onto twenty buses. Times were to prove more difficult in the austerity of post-war years and profitability declined, resulting in the sale of the business with thirty four vehicles by Wright and Kemp to Lincolnshire Road Car in June 1950 (Road Car, founded in 1928, was nationalised in 1948 as part of the Tilling group of companies).


ticket
map of routes

timetable cover

Map of routes 1938 (left) and cover of 1950
timetable booklet (above)



With thanks to Peter White's book "Passenger Transport in Lincoln" (published in 1974) this is the list of routes that were operated by Wright when the operations were taken over by the Lincolnshire Road Car in 1950:

Wright's routes 1950
LRC Number
Frequency
LRC alterations up to 1974




Mablethorpe - Manby - Louth - Wragby - Lincoln
10A
Daily

Alford - Manby - Lincoln
10B
Daily

Louth - Donington - Lincoln
10C / 10D
Daily
withdrawn 1973
Bardney - Lincoln
10E
Daily
ceased 1959
Louth - Saltfleet - Mablethorpe
48
Daily

Boston - Woodhall Spa - Horsington - Bardney - Lincoln
8A
Daily
cut to Boston - Horsington 1958
Louth - Reston - Alford - Spilsby - Boston
61A
Daily
renumbered 61 in 1973
Louth - Burwell - Spilsby - Boston
61
Daily
withdrawn 1973
Louth - Spilsby - Old Bolingbroke - Boston
61B
Wed and Sat
withdrawn 1973
Boston - Hubbards Bridge - Swineshead - Sleaford
36B
Daily
withdrawn 1971
Sleaford - Tattershall - Horncastle - Louth
47
Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat
severely cut
Lincoln - Lissington - Market Rasen
3A
Tue, Fri, Sat
reduced to Friday and Saturday
Lincoln - Cherry Willingham - Reepham
6A
Daily

Lincoln - Cherry Willingham - Fiskerton
6B
Daily

Lincoln - Cherry Willingham - Reepham - Fiskerton
6C
Daily

Lincoln - Fiskerton - Brookside
6D
Friday
withdrawn
Louth - Furze Lane - Manby
46
Daily
withdrawn 1971

gratefully incorporating information from articles and publications found in Lincoln Central Library

including by A Tye and P R White (notably the February / March 1971 issue of  Lincoln Transport Review)


A more detailed history of Wrights buses 1925 to 1950, written in 1999 by Fred Wright's son,

can be found on the Wright family website


DORSET (RURAL)
DORSET (URBAN)
SOMERSET
WILTSHIRE
HAMPSHIRE
FAROE ISLANDS
FRANCE (REGIONAL)
ISLE OF SKYE
LINKS
LINCOLNSHIRE