In 1939 very few people from Crowle worked at the steel works. There was no workmen’s bus; you had to have your own transport. My father had the Morris equivalent of The Austin 7. He was allowed a petrol ration to go to work and continue his agency supplying oil and grease to the local farmers. This of course meant he had permission to drive his car. About 1941 men started to work at the steel works and a bus for day workers was provided. Later the bus covered two shifts and my father had to use it, but he still had to drive himself in for the night shift. His petrol ration was reduced but by that time he had found places where he could get the odd gallon or two of petrol. This meant he was able to use his car locally throughout the war.
He restricted the area he used it in to the triangle between Goole, Doncaster and Scunthorpe If he had to go beyond that area he cleared it with the local police before he went in case he got stopped.
Long distances we used the train, twice a year we went to Glossop to see my grandmother and once during the war to Loughborough to see Uncle Tom my Father’s older brother. He and his wife usually came and spent a week with us in the summer.
The bus service was good. The Advance bus from Goole to Gainsborough allowed one to visit Epworth and Haxey. Ben’s Bus came from Goole three times a day with a late service on Saturday when the cinema closed. My mother always took me to see her relatives at Boltgate farm on Saturday afternoons. on most occasions when my father could not fetch us we came back by Ben’s Bus. The bus came past Boltgate at about 7pm.
Leaving Goole, after passing through Swinefleet it started to pick young people up from the farm lane ends and the roads from Ouse fleet and the other villages along the bank of the Ouse. They rode their bikes and hid them in the ditches. Bens would be half to three-quarters full by the time it picked us up. At Eastoft it would become jammed packed hardly any standing room. Not only people from Eastoft but from Garthorpe, Luddington and the farms in the area who had ridden to Eastoft on their bikes. Often Ben would shout the lasses will have to sit on the lad’s knees as he crammed them in. Much delighted grumbling occurred as the request was complied with. A young woman sat on a young mans knee at the front threatening her fiancée if he got up to any hankie-pankie with the girl on his knee at the back. Numerous male cheers when a young lady shouted “ Now then Jimmy Proctor, keep your hands to yourself.”
Ben trundled on, on the three miles to Crowle squeezing more passengers in as he passed the farms on the way. Stopping outside the Regal Cinema the bus disgorged most of its passengers who now joined the queue for the second house at 9–o-clock. That queue would stretch two deep for fifty yards along the High Street into Cross Street. Normally Bill Spivey who ran the cinema was very strict about entry when the cinema was full, but in view of the distance people had come and the time taken, second house on a Saturday he managed to squeeze everybody in. The local policeman on duty on a Saturday night making sure that he was nowhere in the vicinity.
A passenger and school bus to Scunthorpe at 8 a.m. returning at 4 p.m. with two more passenger services at midday and 7p.m. Plus a morning and afternoon service, “Round by the Villages”, turning right after Keadby Bridge into Keadby and on through Luddington, Garthorpe and Eastoft.
Although double decker buses existed we only had single deckers. The viaduct where the Isle of Axholme Light Railway crossed the main road, close to where the river Torne joins the Double Rivers was too low to allow the double deckers through, later in the war the double deckers were not so high and they were able to get under provided they used the middle of the road.
At first ordinary buses with upholstered seats were used but we thought that they were not cleaned as frequently as they had been. Hoovers are very efficient at removing fleas and fleas’ eggs. All our early journeys were followed by a search through clothes and bedding after we ended up covered in fleabites. Later in the war simpler, sturdy “Utility” buses were provided. The seats were all made of wooden slats, perhaps not quite as cosy but FLEA FREE.
A little aside to “Utility” products, furniture and other house hold goods. Plain sturdy and simple in design. You can still find “utility” furniture in use.
The Utility Logo. Two black discs with a slice cut out at 3-o-clock.