Dearneways Ltd. 1949-1981

Dearneways was established in Goldthorpe as late as 1949 when Percy and Maurice Phillipson (father and son) purchased a 1938 Albion Victor to pursue private hire work.

In the early part of the next decade the Company secured contract work (including services for the National Coal Board, which was a prominent employer in the area), which resulted in the fleet expanding.

In 1956 a tours and excursions licence was granted and several more vehicles were purchased. Dearneways used an attractive blue and cream livery from the start and fleet numbers were introduced around 1954, although not always in sequence.

The local firm of Harold Oscroft, who traded as Irene Motors, was taken over in 1960. Two vehicles were included in the deal, neither of which operated for Dearneways.

Double-deck vehicles were introduced to the fleet in 1958 when two Guy Arab vehicles were purchased. The need for double-deck vehicles was to last only a short while and, although several were added to the fleet in the next few years, they had all gone by 1964.

A major disaster befell the small company in 1962, when severe gales caused the garage roof to collapse, damaging six vehicles. A further nine were driven to safety without damage. Subsequently a new depot was built on the site.

Dearneways first stage carriage service was inaugurated on 5th October 1964, following a lengthy battle in the traffic courts with Yorkshire Traction, Mexborough and Swinton, Rotherham Corporation and Sheffield Corporation who opposed the application.

The limited stop service was between Thurnscoe (Big Lamp) and Sheffield (Castlegate) via Highgate, Goldthorpe, Bolton-on-Dearne, Wath-on-Dearne, Swinton, Warren Vale, Rawmarsh and Rotherham.

The first journey was operated by MWO146 an-ex Hills of Tredegar Leyland Tiger Cub. Although picking up and setting down points were initially very restricted, as time passed, more were introduced and the service began to prosper.

In 1974 the Sheffield terminus was moved from Castlegate to the Bus Station.

Another licence for a limited stop service was obtained in 1967, when a service from Kiveton Park to Glenrothes in Fife was introduced.

Later in the year it was re-routed via Doncaster and proved extremely popular with local miners of Scottish extraction, although with the closure of the coalfields in the 1970’s its popularity waned. The service was discontinued in 1980.

In 1974 the old-established firm of Fretwell Ltd., of Bentley near Doncaster, was taken over, together with the tours and excursions licences and four vehicles. The company became Dearneways Ltd., in July 1979.

Leyland vehicles were always a major part of the fleet, although Crossley, Foden, AEC, Albion, Guy and Bristol vehicles have been used.

All the early vehicles were purchased second-hand and it was not until 1971 that the first new vehicle was purchased, a Leyland Leopard (No.69;GWT235J), with Plaxton C45F bodywork.

In October 1981 it was announced that the South Yorkshire PTE had offered to purchase the business, which at that time employed 18 staff and 15 coaches.

The final day of operation was Sunday 6th December 1981 and after just over 30 years of service to the local community, the blue and cream livery of Dearneways disappeared from the South Yorkshire roads.

In producing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
‘The Demise of Dearneways’ by Michael Fowler (Buses No. 324, March 1982); PSV Circle Fleet History PB24 (1993).

Bus Fleet List 1949-1981 |