The Horse omnibus.



The omnibus service from All Saints to St Mary's Church in Far Cotton was started in 1894 and continued until October 1914 when the tramway came to Far Cotton

Northampton Mercury - Friday 07 August 1914: Far Cotton is to be deprived of its 'bus service. The necessities of the war have led to some of the bus horses being commandeered, and on Thursday there was only an half-hour service, while the running will be further curtailed. The Tramways Committee are endeavouring to negotiate for a motor char-a-banc.

The below picture will recall painful memories to many residents of Far Cotton of the tedious journey this ancient-looking one-horse vehicle used to make over the cobbles of Bridge Street. The old bus used to rock like a ship in distress, and it was almost impossible for the passengers to keep their seats. Certainly nobody was ever caught sleeping on the journey, although several travellers have been heard to declare that the old horse used to have forty winks at the terminus. All this has been changed, for the neglected suburb has now been linked up with the electric tramways, which we hope will serve Far Cotton better than they do the rest of the town. (Newspaper cutting from December 12th 1914)





On March 5th, 1894, the Town Council authorised the use of a stance in front of All Saints Church for a horse bus service to serve the southerly suburb of Far Cotton, and operation commenced on 5th April. Three small single-deck, one-horse vehicles were purchased. These were "one-man-operated", in that the flat fare of 1d was deposited in a box visible to the driver. He had control of the rear door by a lever at his side and could thus regulate entry and exit. The buses were numbered 17-19 in series with the trams.

In 1907 the land on which the depot stood was sold for £2,500 and on this prime location in the centre of the town was built the Carnegie Library. The Tramways Department retained part of.the stables at the rear of the plot, entered from the Riding.

In 1907, with the sale of the Tram depot for the building of the Central Library, seven horses were retained for the Far Cotton bus. To improve the service two new double-deck horse buses were purchased for £148 each. Using these, a better service started on October 5th. The vehicles had four-windows, with garden seats on the upper deck, painted Vermilion and cream like the new electric cars, and were stated to be a great improvement on the old "rattle-boxes". Seating was provided for 12 inside and 14 outside. Two of the old buses were sold for £10 and the third one (number 17) repaired for further use. It was eventually withdrawn in 1909. The Far Cotton bus consistently lost money and eventually a decision was made to replace it by electric trams. These took over from the horse bus on October 23rd, 1914.(Extract from tramway review 1975 by A. W. Brotchie)