History & Memories

A Potted History of East Yorkshire

In December 1919 Ernest John Lee started running a bus service between Elloughton and Hull. The livery he chose for his bus company was indigo and primrose. In early 1922 R. Beaulah was taken into partnership to offer financial assistance, and the company consequently changed its name to Lee & Beaulah. Shortly after this, in September 1924, Mr H. A. Harvey set up Hull & District Motor Services Ltd. On 5 October 1926 East Yorkshire Motor Services Limited was registered by the British Automobile Traction Co. Ltd. to take over the businesses of Lee & Beaulah and Hull & District Motor Services Ltd.

It started with a fleet of 34 buses and retained the indigo and primrose livery of Lee & Beaulah. The premises consisted of a depot at Elloughton (on the site still occupied by East Yorkshire today) and Anlaby Common, and a bus station at Withernsea. On 8 October 1926 the first directors' meeting was held, and at this meeting it was decided to buy a plot of land on Anlaby Road in Hull, with a view to constructing a new depot. This land was occupied by the large mansion house called Marlborough House. It took over two years to complete the project, and in May 1929 the new depot was opened, replacing the previous depot on Lister Street.

Anlaby Road depot around 1929 Windover bodied Leyland Royal Tiger Coach

Anlaby Road depot around 1929 and Windover bodied Leyland Royal Tiger Coach.

During the early years of EYMS many local bus operators were purchased, resulting in the fleet totalling 145 by 1933. The next few years saw a period of stability for the company, which would all change with the outbreak of war. During the war almost all of EYMS’s buses retained their original livery, unlike many other operators who had theirs painted grey or khaki. Thankfully, few vehicles were damaged due to the drivers taking them home at night, removing them from the worst of the bombing in the city. In 1948 the staff moved into the new offices on Anlaby Road, next to the bus depot. During 1950 EYMS experimented with its livery, painting Bus 402 in a medium blue and cream colour, and Bus 509 in a purple and primrose colour. Neither livery was liked, resulting in them both being painted back. On 31 December 1954 Ernest John Lee retired from EYMS. He was the last of the original board members.

Leyland TS2 fleet 121 working during the war Bristol VRT fleet 934 around Hull c.1970

Leyland TS2 fleet 121 working during the war and Bristol VRT fleet 934 around Hull c.1970.

The next big change came on 1 January 1969 when EYMS became part of the National Bus Company. Not long after saw the introduction of decimalisation, resulting in the purchase of 260 Mk II Setright ticket machines for the company. By 1972 EYMS was to adopt one of NBC’s standard liveries. They chose the blue and white livery, being closest to their original livery. By 1974 NBC had withdrawn its blue and white livery, forcing EYMS to choose between poppy red and white, or green and white. It chose poppy red and white. The original livery became extinct in 1976 when Bus 870 (RAT 870G) was repainted. In the final year before deregulation the fleet of EYMS totalled 176, only a small growth from 1933. Just prior to deregulation, in September 1986, the Pickering and Scarborough depots of United Automobile Service were transferred to EYMS, and on 3 February 1987 EYMS once more became a private company through a management buyout from the NBC.

In October 1989 EYMS adopted red and Portland grey as their standard livery, and by 1991 the total group fleet was 330 vehicles. The early 90s saw another period of expansion for EYMS, with many local operators being purchased, and a spell of local competition saw some unusual vehicles in use, most notably the Routemaster buses on the 56 service. From 1995 the livery of the company changed to the modern burgundy and cream. One by one six members of the 1987 buyout team left EYMS leaving the company in the sole ownership of Peter Shipp. The company went from strength to strength, becoming the largest family-owned independent bus company in the UK.

In 2018, at the age of 74, Peter Shipp handed over the company, which became part of the Go Ahead Group, a leading UK public transport operator which employs around 27,000 people across the country. The two companies share the values of excellent customer service and strong employee engagement, being well established in the local communities they serve. East Yorkshire operates as a stand-alone company within Go North East, overseen by the Go North East executive director team.


Memories from Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson was born in November 1904 and became an East Yorkshire bus driver in May 1933. In February 1955 Fred was promoted to inspector and continued in this role until his retirement in November 1969. Much of his driving career involved touring the country with coach parties, in which time he amassed an extensive collection of brochures, postcards and photographs of the places he had visited. This collection was donated to EYMS and was rediscovered whilst we were reviewing the company archive.

The photographs below show Fred with some of the vehicles used for coach tours during the 40's and 50's.

Windover bodied Leyland Royal Tiger Coach Windover bodied Leyland Royal Tiger Coach

Pictured above are 2 of 3 Windover bodied Leyland Royal Tiger Coaches which were purchased in 1953. NRH 656 was fleet number 615.

1947 Duple-bodied AEC Regal coach 1947 Duple-bodied AEC Regal coach

Above are two pictures of 33 seater 1947 Duple-bodied AEC Regal coaches, three of which where acquired from Sheffield United Tours in 1948 for a total of £8621.3.6d.

1947 Duple-bodied AEC Regal coach

1947 Duple-bodied AEC Regal coach

Connor & Graham Ltd.

On 21 October 1921 Mr Campbell Connor and Mr James H. Graham bought a 14 seater model T Ford to run between Easington and Hull. This was the start of Connor & Graham. The business was successful so during the next few years more buses were bought.

1921 Model T Ford

AT 6226 - A 1921 Model T Ford negotiating the flooded road on route to Easington.

In 1954 Mr Campbell Connor was bought out and the company then became a limited company with Mr J. H. Graham, Mr T. W. Graham and their two wives becoming directors.

1943 Bedford OWB

CWF 575 - A 1943 Bedford OWB negotiating the snow on route to Hull

In 1974 the company bought Embassy Coaches from its retiring owner, Mr H. Falkingham. This increased the business by 5 coaches and a minibus, and also included the Alma Street Garage in Withernsea. Connor & Graham ran both daily services between Hull and Withernsea, and also many excursions. Connor & Graham's buses were also used in the production of Winifred Holtby's 'South Riding'.

1956 Bedford SBG

SNF 939 - A 1956 Bedford SBG

In 1981 Connor and Graham celebrated its diamond jubilee year. In 1993 Connor & Graham sold three double deck buses to East Yorkshire Motor Services, these were YNA 358M (869), PRH 246G (872) and XJA 508L (885). By 1994 East Yorkshire Motor Services had bought the Connor & Graham business.

A607 UGD (Volvo B10M), KUC 915P (Daimler CRL6) and OJI 7078 (Volkswagen LT55)

A607 UGD (Volvo B10M), KUC 915P (Daimler CRL6) and OJI 7078 (Volkswagen LT55) later to become EY fleet 87, 895 and 96

In 1983 Leyland Leopard OBT 693M was named Mrs Marjorie Graham, a name it was to keep up to 1998 when it was sold.

Farewell to EYMS Routemasters

Sunday 2 September 2001 saw the last EYMS Routemaster on regular service. East Yorkshire bought a number of Routemasters to run on various routes in Hull between 1988 and 1993. Four of these vehicles were retained, converted to open top and had been a regular feature on the Scarborough seafront since June 1996 when 812, 816 and 819 was converted. 817 was converted later and had run the 109 service since April 2000. The company decided that the conventional one-man operated vehicles were more suitable and these have been used since the 2002 summer season.

All the Routemasters have been retired and sold now.

EYMS Routemaster EYMS Routemaster EYMS Routemaster

EYMS Routemaster

Back on the Road with 808

In 2001 East Yorkshire Motor Services put a preserved London-style "Routemaster" double-deck bus back into regular service for 3 days. This was both as part of EYMS's 75th anniversary celebrations, and to celebrate 45 years since the first Routemaster carried fare-paying passengers on the streets of London on 8 February 1956.

East Yorkshire bought a number of these well-known London buses to run as crew - rather than driver-only - services on a number of routes in Hull between 1988 and 1993, and the company’s preserved example was one of those and was new to London in 1959. Here are a few photos of the first day out.

The crew on the bus pictured below are Martin Cleary (driver) and Heather Charlton (clippy).

London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster London-style Routemaster

London-style Routemaster

EYMS Bristol VR's

Saturday 28 February 2004 saw the end of an era at Hull bus company EYMS when the last of a long line of double-deckers built by the now-defunct Bristol Commercial Vehicles ran its last day in service, giving bus enthusiasts their last chance of a ride.

Bus 517 (PAG 517W)

Bus 517 (PAG 517W)

The Bristol company built its first bus - a 16-seater - in 1908, and its first double-deck in 1923. The first rear-engined version appeared in prototype form in 1966 and the ubiquitous VRT (Vertical-Rear-Transverse) started production in 1968. This had the engine mounted across the chassis at the back of the bus, and with a few design modifications along the way the VRT continued in production until 1981, by which time 4474 had been built.

EYMS's first Bristol VRT arrived in 1973 and between then and 1981 no less than 150 came into East Yorkshire, about half of them second hand, forming the backbone of the double-deck fleet for many years.

791(MWG 941X) and 520 (WKH 520X)

791(MWG 941X) and 520 (WKH 520X)

In their latter years those remaining had been relegated to spare duties and now the last of the line had disappeared from the streets of Hull.

The last EYMS Bristols were the company’s fleet numbers 517 bought new in 1981, and 995 acquired secondhand in 1992.

Even then these EYMS buses did not all go to the scrap yard, as both 517 and 995 were bought by a small operator in the north-east for further service. 517 is now preserved and was at EYMS’s 80th anniversary celebration at the Hull Streetlife Museum of Transport.

Bus 839 (VDV 139S)

Bus 839 (VDV 139S)

Want to know more?

Our fleet list shows details and photos of nearly every bus East Yorkshire has owned, so feel free to browse through and take a look at buses past and present.

If you’re interested in vintage and modern buses, come along to our Big Bus Day at Hull’s Streetlife Museum, usually held in late August/early September. Details of the event will be on this site in the run-up to the event.

We also have a heritage fleet of vintage vehicles available to hire.