Horseshoe Memories - Ray Swain
HORSESHOE COACHES INFORMATION
I understand that prior to the Coach garage, the premise were used as stables and we are still trying to obtain further information to confirm this fact. As to the possible stables, I can remember the big wooden gates across the yard but I cannot remember the garage going up. It could only have been built after the gates had gone perhaps 1949-1950. I do know that the garage was built up to the old walls of the stables, as they still survived up until they demolished the garage in 1993/94/. When you looked at the garage from the road (so thats the left-hand side), the walls were the original stable walls and they still had the tying rings in the wall about five feet from the ground. The back wall was also the original wall, as was the one on the right-hand side. What they did was to construct concrete pillars against the original walls and put the roof spans in from there to make the framework of the new garage. It was all pre-cast and the roof and sides were filled in with corrugated asbestos sheeting.
As to old Bob (Pop) Austin living at number 16, he did not rent the rooms from Alice Corbyn. The house belonged to the Rutters the proprietors of Horseshoe Coaches, and Bobs accommodation was part of the job. Alice Corbyn rented the top floor from Rutters. Prior to Bob Austin, I also believe that Mrs Austins Mum once lived there, a Mrs Turner. (This can be confirmed by consulting the 1945 Electoral Roll for Summerhill Road, which is on the website.).
is another picture showing the entrance to the Horseshoe Coaches garage.
Bob Austin had two grandson's (Colin
Ames and Stephen Ames) who also had associations with Horseshoe Coaches. Rose
Austin, who also had the nickname 'Bud', was Bobs daughter and Colin and Stephen
were her sons. Bob did have a son who was always referred to as Young Bob and
he lived in West Green Road.
I can remember helping 'Pop' to clean the coaches at night but only for the money we might find under the seats. I found a wallet once with about £100 in it. Bob handed it in to Culross Road and the chap came and gave Bob a Ten Shilling note as a reward of which Bob gave me half-a-crown.
As to me putting my brothers Dinky Toy model of a 'Bedford' coach down the tree Despite the passing of the years, I can honestly say It was not me ! I can recall putting a wooden mallet down that hole in the tree at number 23, and would you believe it the hole has now completely knitted over. As to the many excursions our family went on, I dont think our Mum had to pay for the last minute vacancies. She only treated the drivers to a tip. Regarding the Clacton-on-Sea incident with my brother and a 'Crazy' golf club, its funny that he should now be the keen golfer, as I have not touched a club since. I think that I still have somewhere, one of my Dads receipts from Horseshoe Coaches for the coach trip to Anstey near Buntingford Herts. for one of his pub outings.
On the article that Mervyn Askew kindly sent to us on Taking up the Slack, the picture on the front page was taken outside Tottenham Town Hall, going into the Municipal Swimming Baths and that could even be me in the Welly boots. The bloke in the uniform at the back was a fireman. On page one of the Horseshoe Photos section, the coach GWN 432 used to look like JUV 352 ( I am not sure if it was a chap called Reg who sold it to Heritage Bus I will get his name one day)
We also heard from Fred Hardy that he could remember a character who was known as Arthur the Horse-Keeper. That could well have been Arthur Lee who once lived at number 14 Summerhill Road. Perhaps Norma Lane will remember what his work was. She may even remember the horses as she lived at number 14 along with her sister Shirley for a period shortly after the war.
You are right about the origins of the name Horseshoe ! Old Bob Austin once told me that it was through the Horses that the coaches got their name. Its a pity that his grandson Colin has not replied to my letter. I will try and find out his brother Stephens address and try him for his memories.
I read the Marston Valley article by Raymond Holmes with interest. It backs up what I had previously said about the brickwork's coaches. Ill tell you that the garage looked more like a breakers yard. What did Mervyn say about the Kempston depot ? I hear that he is also a model maker but I bet he could not make a model of that place. It would take him about 40 years to do it with all those old engines and parts everywhere.
Regarding Vineys Coaches, if 'Horseshoe' did not acquire them they certainly had some of their coaches in the yard. As to George Ewers, they tried to buy out Horseshoe a few times, as they wanted the service routes. They also bought out Orange Coaches who were based in Brixton South London. Their garage is now a music venue in Brixton. (Perhaps thats where garage music came from !) Anyway at one time George Ewers daughter was the transport manager at their Stamford Hill depot. One of the Horseshoe drivers left Grey-Green as she used to come into the Mens toilets and shout and rave at them whilst having a pee! And he did not like her attitude generally so he left. I have heard that story more than once in the 1960s/1970s. I dont think she was a young woman, more an old bat.
Anyway, when I find the time, I will go through all the old 'Horseshoe' memorabilia once again to see if it can evoke any more memories.