About Grayscroft

Company History

 

1895: In the Beginning…

Company founder Charles Barker was born to a farming family from Grimoldby, Lincolnshire. After school he became a farm worker before joining the British Army in 1916 fighting in Belgium near to the city of Ypres.

 

1924: Humble Beginnings…

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.

Humble Beginnings

  

1928: Grayscroft Name…

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 Chairman Bill Barker at the time, aged just 1 month.

Grayscroft Name

 

1936: Expansion…

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

Expansion

  

1939-45: Serving the Bomber County…

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: Lucky Escape…

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: Post War…

Coach hire and excursion work restarted again after World War 2 when fuel rationing regulations began to be relaxed.

  

1953: The Great Flood…

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.

The Great Flood

  

1960’s & 1970’s: Further Expansion…

Excursion, service work and Coach hire began to flourish and the company grew from strength to strength expanding the fleet further.

 

1961: Succession…

The death of company founder Charles Barker led to him being succeeded by his 3 sons, Dick, Bill and Noel.

Success

 

1963: The 1960s… 

Acquired was GCC3, a Ford Thames Trader for the fee of £2000 which is still owned by the company today.

  

1978: 3rd Generation…

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: Further Expansion…

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: Company Colours…

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.

Company Colours

  

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: Grayscroft Travel, Hertfordshire…

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: Magic Carpets…

The Company acquired its first Volvo B10M, described as ‘Magic Carpets’ based on their superior ride quality by former Director Noel Barker. The Volvo marque still remains the back bone of the fleet to this day.

  

2004: Restoration Work Began…

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GCC3

2007: Mercedes Fleet Acquisions…

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 popular in our touring fleet ever since.

Merc

  

2008: Dexter…

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.

Dexter

 

2012: 4th Generation…

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!

 

2013: Restructuring…

Steve Mackay joined the business firstly as a driver, then as Transport Manager in 2015. Later this year Ashley & Head Mechanic David Birt trained for and passed their international CPC, (Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competance) which is an industry-recognised qualification providing transferable skills and relevant information to run an efficient transport operation which is recognised throughout the EU.

  

2014: The great fleet overhaul!...

The first Volvo B12B Coach was bought, a 15 metre Plaxton Panther, a former Stagecoach ‘Megabus’. The toilet was removed and 6 more seats added taking its passenger carrying capacity to 71 and thus rebranding it as ‘Megacoach’. This was followed by 53 & 57 seat Volvo B12B Executive tour coaches later in the year. Such is their power, superior comfort, reliability and high passenger capacities, they have been at the forefront of the fleet ever since. An additional 3 Volvo B12Bs have since been added to the fleet with further acquisitions planned.

coach

 

2015: Nigel’s son Ashley assumed his role as General Manager, Alongside Transport Manager Steve & Head Mechanic David Birt. Together, the 4 work closely together overseeing the day to day operations of the business.

Team

 

2016: A Leap into the unknown…

Four Scania 80 Seat Wheelchair Accessible Double Decker Buses were acquired over a 7 month period. Adding Scania’s to the fleet was a leap into the unknown however we have been impressed with their performance so far.

 

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.

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