Rottingdean Through Time – Chapter 7

Getting Around

Village Horse Buses

Horse-drawn bus services were operated by two rival public houses, facing each other on the coast road: the Royal Oak and the White Horse (see previous page), whose landlords for many years were Frederick Thomas and Stephen Welfare respectively.

On this page, the Royal Oak bus is heading west from the village not far from the windmill, while Welfare’s bus is standing outside St Margaret’s church in around 1891.

Moppett Carts

In these two pictures, horses are being used for private transport. Village publisher William Bowles produced the postcard of a horse and cart standing near Dale Cottage, near where Alfred and Ernest Moppett had stables. The man in the picture is an unknown employee.

The four-wheeled cart owned by the brothers is shown here being used for a family outing. Ernest is holding the whip and Alfred, smoking, is standing at the back. In the foreground stands Fred, another brother.

Motor Buses

A splendid view (top) of Frederick Thomas’s 12hp Daimler 35-cwt Wagonette, thought to have been registered as CD 152 on 18 January 1904. It remained in service until 1912, running between Rottingdean and Brighton station. Frederick Thomas is standing in front of the vehicle and his son, George Frederick (1875-1956), is seated at the back (right).

In more recent times, the No. 7 double-decker waits in Manor Terrace, at the White Horse terminus.

Contrasting Conveyances

The No 4 service double-decker, a Tilling AEC Regent, approaches its terminus from Brighton. The year is probably 1935, the last year of the company’s operations in the Brighton/Hove area. On the cleared site behind the flint wall there now stands a block of flats with businesses on the ground floor.

This charabanc outside the White Horse Hotel was photographed after 1919, judging from the design of the AEC chassis badge, but no information is available as to the occasion or occupants.

David Hennessy

Only a short distance away, Dave Hennessy, a driver from the village, sits in his rather fine Maudslay, possibly a 17hp model, fitted with landaulette-type bodywork. His first job was driving carriages and other horse-drawn vehicles for Fred Thomas, then he worked as a taxi-driver for Fred’s son George.

In the second picture, Dave is near the White Horse, standing beside his Bean (possibly a 14) dating from the mid-1920s. The OT prefix was issued in Hampshire.

A Napier and a Morris

Charles Thomas (1880-1941), the son of Fred (in the front passenger seat) at the wheel of his Napier, which may be a 16hp model of about 1901. In a car like this he drove twice round the world in the company of his employer, the American millionaire Charles Jasper Glidden.

In complete contrast, young Harry Hilder is driving his flat radiator Morris (either an Oxford or a Cowley) on the Falmer Road on an unknown date, although post-1926.

Another Contrast

This fine period piece depicts an Oldsmobile, probably a 10hp model of about 1904, outside the Plough Inn. A good number of American cars were being imported into Britain at this time. The P prefix was issued in Surrey.

Charles Moppett is being chauffeured in his own taxi on his wedding day. It is here seen turning west from the crossroads on the coast road.

Pride and Joy Cars

A B.M.A. Hazelcar, beautifully restored by Saltdean resident Arthur Hazell. This vehicle was the brainchild of the brothers Eric and Roy Hazeldine of Rottingdean. Its owner from new was Sir Roderick Jones’ son, Dominick, who clocked up over 50,000 miles in it between 1951 and 1957.

Winifred Hoyle is in the back seat of the Rolls-Royce owned by author and local historian Henry Blyth. The occasion was the 1994 Rottingdean Fair, with ‘Nursery Rhymes’ as the cavalcade theme, this entry being ‘Goosey Goosey Gander’.

Transport by Taylor

James Henry Taylor (b. 1881) started as a bus conductor on Frederick Thomas’ horse bus. After Thomas sold out to Tilling, Taylor bought a horse and cart and started his own carrier business. The cart was built by Arnold & Marshall of Jubilee Street, Brighton.

JHT at the wheel of his first motor lorry, a one-ton Model T Ford with left-hand drive. The body was also built by Arnold & Marshall and was royal blue in colour.

Copyright © Douglas d’Enno, 2009

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