The Island Omnibus Service
On Thursday 13th April 1905, the formal sending off of four of the ‘buses of the I.W. Express Motor Syndicate on their several routes was performed by Lady Adela Cochrane, on the Esplanade, Ryde, in the presence of a very large number of people.
The ceremony was preceded by a luncheon at the Crown Hotel, when the Mayor of Ryde (Ald. A. Millward), vice-chairman of the Directors, presided, supported by Lt.-Col. J. F. C. Hamilton (Director), Mr. G. Fardell, etc. An excellent repast was served by “mine host,” Mr. Oliver Cromwell. Amongst other encouraging comments about the new scheme was that arrangements had been made for the delivery and collecting of parcels and letters. The greatest benefit which would be derived from these ‘buses would be that the towns and villages would be brought more into touch.
On arriving at the Esplanade, crowds of people were found assembled, many of whom were from other parts of the Island. Many automobiles and carriages were up along the front, and favoured with beautiful weather, the scene was really an inspiring one. Many photographers, both amateur and professional, were present, and photographs were taken of the car which contained the Lady Adela Cochrane. Beside her Ladyship sat Sir Alexander Onslow, the Chairman of the Directors.
Lady Adela Cochrane, in a graceful little speech, said she was sure the people meant by their presence that they wished success to the new service. For a very long time there had been a need for some quick and inexpensive mode of travelling in the Island. She hoped that the new motor ‘buses here would be as useful and successful as they had been in other parts of the country.
Lady Adela Cochrane, amid loud and prolonged cheering, pulled the lever, which set the car in motion, and the procession of four cars wended its way along the Esplanade and round the Canoe Lake, the foremost vehicle being steered by her Ladyship the whole of the way and back to the starting point.
The ‘buses were crowded on the first trips to Newport, Bembridge, Cowes and Shanklin, the fare being only 1s. return. Similar trips were made from the Esplanade at five o’clock the same evening.
Full coverage of the Luncheon and Opening Ceremony can be found in the IW Observer newspaper, issue 15 April 1905, page 4.
Sources: IW Observer, RSHG Archive
Image: Broderick Postcard, Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett