1895: Company founder Charles Barker was born to a farming family from Grimoldby, Lincolnshire. After school he worked as a farm worker before joining the British Army in 1916 fighting in Belgium near to the city of Ypres.
1924: Charles left the British army after serving in the Royal Horse Artillery and being wounded in the hand at the Battle of Ypres. He borrowed £25 from his father to buy a Model T Ford lorry for general haulage. A local joiner built him a bus body which could be placed on the back of the lorry when required. (A far cry from today’s bus safety standards) Operating under the company name of C.Barker, he carried passengers on local routes and acquired the company’s first school contract between Theddlethorpe and Mablethorpe and being paid 7/6d a day.
1928: After acquiring a second vehicle, a 14 seat Chevrolet and altering the company name to Grayscroft Bus Services, taken from the name of Charles’s house in Mablethorpe, he began running the service 1 route to Louth, still running to this day. This year also marked the beginning of the company’s first colour scheme, beige and blue. The inspiration came from a jumper being knitted for the company’s current director Bill Barker at the time, aged just 1 month.
1936: Due to the continuing expansion of the company, its depot was deemed unsuitable and the current depot at 15A Victoria Road was purchased. Also in this year, service 1 was expanded to serve the RAF at Manby; this resulted in many traffic commissioners’ court battles with Wrights bus services of Louth who were unhappy with service 1 taking away their business in and around Louth.
During a disagreement with Lincolnshire Road Car, Charles Barker vowed “I was here before you came, and I will be here when you’ve gone!” Road Car departed Mablethorpe in the late 1970’s.
1939-45: Grayscroft was widely used to transport workmen and airmen to and from various air fields in the area such as Binbrook, North Cotes and Strubby. As a result of fuel rationing, excursions and private hire work became very rare.
A popular story from during the war was whilst Charles was operating the 10.10pm service from Louth, fully loaded with airmen and Women, he was stopped by Louth Police who accused him of overloading. The Policeman demanded he unloaded to conduct a headcount of his passengers. Little did the officer know but as the airmen were being counted they were then re - boarding via the rear door to be counted again and again. He was soon sent on his way!
1942: Back then the current yard was half taken up by the Victoria cinema, which was struck by a German bomb, destroying the cinema and blowing off the roof of the bus garage and damaging two coaches.
Early 1950’s: Coach hire and excursion work restarted again after World War 2 when fuel rationing regulations began to be relaxed.
1953: Grayscroft was used to transport the population of Mablethorpe to the safe haven of Louth to escape the great flood the night the sea came over. This event also resulted in four coaches being waterlogged.
1960’s & 1970’s: Excursion, service work and Coach hire began to flourish and the company grew from strength to strength, further expanding the fleet to a size similar to today.
1961: The death of company founder Charles Barker led to him being succeeded by his 3 sons, Dick, Bill and Noel.
1963: Acquired was GCC3, a Ford Thames for the fee of £2000 and is still owned by the company today.
1978: Current Director, Nigel Barker, Bill’s youngest son joined the family company undertaking the role of maintaining the fleet in the workshop alongside Dick.
1980: Due to increased demand, the company further outgrew its depot and more land was acquired adjoining to the existing site to provide space for extra vehicles.
1984: The company colour scheme was altered to what it is currently with white, two shades of blue and orange, this occurred with the purchase of Bedford YNT Plaxton Paramount 1 A506HBE.
1985: The death of director Dick Barker led the company to be continued by his brothers Bill and Noel. During the same year, Charles’s wife Dorothy also died.
1989: Stephen Barker, eldest son of Bill set up the Hertfordshire branch of the family company, Grayscroft Coaches offering private hire, holidays and excursions. The two branches still and will hopefully continue to work very closely together for many years to come.
1994: Nigel Barker assumed the role of a company director, much to his surprise after being informed during Noel Barkers speech at the company’s 70th anniversary celebrations and he continues to conduct this role today.
1994: The Company acquired its first Volvo B10M, described as ‘Magic Carpets’ based on their superior ride quality by former Director Noel Barker. The Volvo B10M’s still remain the back bone of the fleet to this day.
2004: Work started on the restoration of GGC3 to its former glory thanks to constant ‘pestering’ by engineer David Birt, (Who is still yet to be forgiven) After having its engine replaced and a few trips to Showbus at Duxford, work still continues to this day.
2007: The Company acquired its first Mercedes Benz touring coach. So impressed by its performance and the reaction from our passengers, Mercedes Benz vehicles have remained the main stay of our touring fleet ever since.
2008: This year marked the arrival of the company cat ‘Dexter’, without an owner he adopted us and was taken in, cared for and fed by everyone at the company. He has now risen through the ranks to his current role of IT Consultant and Guard Cat. He can often be found asleep in a bus and is not a stranger to the odd school run.
2012: Sudden death of Director Noel Barker led to him being succeeded by Nigel Barker. During the same year 4th generation Ashley Barker, Nigel’s son, joined the company after graduating from university and has set it as his mission to drag the company kicking and screaming into the 21st century!
Above all, Grayscroft Coaches is a traditional family company with family values and a sense of humour, much required in this current economic climate. Its continued success is down to the enthusiasm of a valued team of drivers, engineers and office staff.