90 years on the buses

The first ever Hulleys bus from 1921, a Ford T Woodwiss B14F
The first ever Hulleys bus from 1921, a Ford T Woodwiss B14F

While the rest of the world toasts the Royal Wedding, one Dales firm has got an even bigger reason to be cheerful.

Bus company Hulleys of Baslow celebrates its 90th birthday on Friday, April 29 - and staff members past and present are gearing up for huge party to mark the occasion.

Driving Forward: Manager Richard Eades and staff Tom Oldfield, Keith Clark and Neil Brassington of Baslow-based Henry Hulley and Sons Ltd, are preparing to celebrate their 90th anniversary on the same day as the forthcoing Royal Wedding.

Driving Forward: Manager Richard Eades and staff Tom Oldfield, Keith Clark and Neil Brassington of Baslow-based Henry Hulley and Sons Ltd, are preparing to celebrate their 90th anniversary on the same day as the forthcoing Royal Wedding.

Managing director Peter Eades said: “We’re really proud to have reached this milestone. We’re looking forward to celebrating our 90th birthday on the same day as the Royal wedding.

“I’ve been here since 1959. We’re still growing and looking to the future, and we had a new vehicle delivered in March, which you could say was part of the anniversary celebrations.

“If all goes well we’ll be still be here to celebrate our 100th birthday in ten years’ time. You never know what can happen, but at the moment everything’s going fine.”

It was on April 29, 1921 that a licence was issued to Henry Hulley and he started a public service using a 14 seater Ford Model T. The first route ran from Bakewell to Chesterfield via Baslow, a route still in operation today under the 170 service.

Vintage vehicle: A 1971 picture taken outside Baslow Church of one of the most well known Hulley Buses, Duple Midland bodied Bedford SB PET 100

Vintage vehicle: A 1971 picture taken outside Baslow Church of one of the most well known Hulley Buses, Duple Midland bodied Bedford SB PET 100

One year later, Hulleys took over Stanley Eades of Baslow, who was running a longer service to Chesterfield from Eyam.

This was extended even further after the takeover to serve Tideswell and the business expanded and prospered from there.

The company was taken over in 1978 and changed its name to Silver Service, but in 1988 Peter Eades and Arthur Cotterill bought the business and changed the name back to Hulleys.

Peter’s son Richard joined the company ten years ago as the transport manager.

Peter Eades said: “We kept the name from what it was when it started back in 1921. Stanley Eades was my uncle, and my family has been involved with Hulleys ever since he sold his business to Henry Hulley in 1922.”

Today, Hulleys operates a fleet of 19 buses from its base in Bakewell to which the 170 Bakewell - Baslow – Chesterfield service is still a key route.

Bus driver Dennis Vickers, who is also a member of Chesterfield bus society Transpire, has helped organise the birthday celebrations.

He said: “It is a truly momentous occasion these days for a bus company to reach its 90th birthday, and none the more so than for Hulleys who, in earlier years, fought on with elderly vehicles through difficult conditions.

“The current owners, Peter and Richard Eades, are closely related to the Hulley family and are justly proud to have achieved this milestone.”

Transpire is celebrating the day by taking a vehicle from the current Hulleys fleet for a journey on the original Route 1 from Chesterfield via Baslow to Bakewell and onwards to Middleton-by-Youlgreave, making stops on the route for photos.

The bus will then travel to the Institute at Ashford-in-the-Water where passengers will be invited to join present and past employees of Hulleys for a special buffet meal, as well as an exhibition of the full history of the company including a comprehensive picture gallery.