A hundred Years ‘On the Buses’

Our Deputy Chair, Paul Maddocks, reviews “100 years ‘On The Buses’ with the Bailey Family” – A Personal Journey by Roger Bailey.

Paul writes….

I was very pleased to get my hands on this book just before lockdown. I have known the Bailey family on and off for many years, so I was looking forward to reading it. I first got to know of Maurine Bailey when she was the conductress on some of the buses I was traveling on in the 1960’s, when going to and from school. She did not take “lip” or bad behaviour from any of us boisterous children. Although she was only small in height she made it up by having a ‘Beehive’ hair do!

I mentioned this at a Coventry Society meeting last year where Maurine and Jim Bailey came to hear a special talk by their son Roger. Roger was giving us details about the link between Coventry Precinct and the ancient city of Amarna. Roger, a Blue Badge Tourist Guide and city councillor, had been researching the fascinating history of the links between the rebuilt Coventry and the ancient Egyptian city.

I first got to know Roger a long time ago when he gave me his expert knowledge on Buses when I was designing a Coventry Transport Museum exhibition. The Coventry Evening Telegraph did a special souvenir edition to accompany the launch, written by Keith Draper, called ‘Buses, Trams and Coaches’ of Coventry. It was a great success and attracted a lot of interest, especially as it was over the summer holidays. We even had a horse drawn stagecoach which was driven around the city centre to advertise the opening and gave rides to the lucky first few. Over the years I have got to know and work with Roger on many projects even though we don’t always share the same views we both always want the best for Coventry and its heritage.

This book is jammed with photographs and tells the history of the family from the very early days of Tom Bailey who owned a steam boat, based at Stourport on Severn in 1905. Then he started the Bailey’s Motor Bus Service, Stourport and Kidderminster. Roger tells the story of other relatives who worked on the buses and how his mum and dad met.

Jim, Maurine and Roger moved to Coventry in 1956 to work for Coventry Corporation Transport, which almost doubled Jim’s salary from what he was getting in Kidderminster. Maurine was one of the first three women to be trained as bus drivers and later Maurine was the first woman to be a bus inspector, the only woman to hold this position in Coventry.  Jim and Maurine would dress up in their uniform and drive and conduct many of the Transport Museum buses on special days and were always great fun to be with.

Roger said “One reason I wrote the book was to remember my mum one year after we lost her.  I wanted a positive thing to remember her by and to celebrate her life, which I think this does just like her funeral did.

“If you would like to get a copy please contact me by email at covtourist@aol.com or using Facebook Messenger. The book costs £7 and a donation from the sale of the book will go to the Air Ambulance.” Roger will deliver purchased books by hand to Coventry addresses after the lockdown ends.

If you like buses or any Coventry history you will like this book. I am going to buy a few more copies for presents for people who I know who would like one especially before they all go.

Paul Maddocks, Deputy Chair of the Coventry Society

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