Felix Motors Limited 1921-1976

When Ernest Parish began running on a route between Doncaster and Armthorpe in 1921, it was already well served by other operators.

Operating out of a garage on East Lane Stainforth, the company was named after a well-known cartoon character of the time (Felix the Cat), and for some time a cartoon image was used as an emblem on the side of the vehicles.

In 1925 a licence was granted to operate a service to Thorne and Moorends via Edenthorpe and Hatfield, which probably prompted the removal of the firm from Stainforth (after permission to operate via that village was refused) to a newly constructed depot in Park Lane, Hatfield in 1930.

The new service was operated jointly with a number of other concerns, including Renown, which was taken over by Felix in 1941 along with three vehicles.

Early vehicles were of small seating capacity, the first known vehicle being a 1921 Daimler, originally used as a lorry, but which had received a 20-seat bus body by 1924 and this remained the standard until 1930, when a 30-seat Leyland Lion LT1 (WX3297) was purchased.

This would appear to have been the first vehicle numbered when fleet numbers were introduced in the 1930’s (although it carried No. 9, presumably to take account of earlier vehicles), and subsequent vehicles were numbered chronologically.

The livery used by Felix Motors at this time was red and black, but by 1937 the livery was reported to be red and cream, although it would seem that this was a generalisation of the maroon, crimson and cream livery used until the end.

Wartime deliveries included an ‘unfrozen’ Leyland TD7 and Daimler CWA6, both of which lasted until 1952.

Postwar deliveries continued to be of AEC and Leyland manufacture (continuing a policy that had started in the 1930’s), with Barnaby bodywork being favoured for new coaches. From 1953, however, Felix Motors’ standard vehicle was on AEC chassis with Roe bodywork.

A service to Lindholme commenced jointly with Renown, T. Severn & Sons, and Premier (H. Wilson) in 1940, mainly for the RAF personnel at the camp there, with a short-lived extension to Bawtry in 1946.

In 1941, Felix Motors became the first operator in the country to have a woman (Miss Phyllis Thompson) licensed to drive a double-deck vehicle.

With the development of the large South Commons Estate in the latter part of the 1950’s, buses between Thorne and Moorends were diverted through the estate, although some journeys continued on their normal route.

Between 1956 and 1961 a feeder service for RAF personnel to Bawtry, Finningley and Lindholme was operated (financed by British Rail) in the early hours of Monday morning.

In 1961 the Company introduced a garter emblem in preference to the plain Felix Motors Ltd. fleetname, the first vehicle to wear it was No. 34, a 1955 AEC Regent III, which was repainted in April of that year.

Tours and excursion licences allowed the company to pick up at points between Edenthorpe and Thorne Moorends, and contract and private hire work was undertaken, including express services to home matches of Doncaster Rovers FC (for which express licences were granted in 1952) and special services to the St. Leger race meetings at Doncaster Racecourse.

The original ticket system was Bell Punch, but this was later superseded by TIM machines used on crew operated services, whilst the Setright system was used on one-man operated journeys, which were relatively few and consisted mainly of duplicate and quiet journeys.

On the 1st April 1976, following the retirement of the Managing Director, Mr. Edgar Whittaker (who had assumed control when Ernest Parish died in 1957), the company was sold to the South Yorkshire PTE, bringing to an end over 55 years of Felix Motors Ltd.

In preparing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
Felix Motors of Hatfield by Tony Peart and Michael Fowler (Buses Special, 1976); PSV Circle Fleet History 2PB13 (1993).

Bus Fleet List 1921-1976 |