Skip to main content

‘Bere Regis & Risket’

 

                                                                       

Bere Regis & District Motor Services was a privately owned company that operated between 1929 and 1995. Its brown coloured coaches, known as the ‘Brown Bombers’ were a familiar sight around Blandford for many years. From its depot in East Street, the company offered its bargain basement-priced coach trips.

Mystery tours were a popular Bere Regis speciality when customers would be taken to an unknown destination by a route that was designed to confuse. The aim was to leave the passenger’s discovery of the journey’s end to as late in the trip as possible. A lady from Blandford, who worked as a glove maker, decided to take a well-earned week’s holiday in Bournemouth. As a treat, she booked herself on a Bere Regis mystery tour. After a circuitous journey along Dorset’s highways and byways she finally realised her day’s treat involved a trip back to her home town of Blandford. So, she returned to her home in Victoria Road, ate her tea, then rejoined her Bere Regis coach and returned to continue her holiday in Bournemouth.

Largely by acquisition, the company grew to be one of the largest of its type in the county. Businesses acquired included Winterbourne Stickland based Lewis Sprackling together with others in Marnhull, Milton Abbas and Hazelbury Bryan. Bere Regis & District also operated a number of scheduled services. In 1949, the company operated some 49 such scheduled routes. These included Blandford-Milton Abbas, Blandford-Stickland & Blandford-Okeford Fitzpaine. During the post war period, there was a large number of National Service conscripts at Blandford Camp. So, weekend services to the Midlands and the North were a lucrative business for the company.

Bere Regis coach trips were remarkably low priced. For example, a trip to London would dramatically undercut the cost of an equivalent rail ticket at a time when trains were far less expensive than they are today. To offer its basement prices, and to maintain a viable business model, the company had to ruthlessly control its costs. Immediately after the war in London, drivers would seek out a bomb site to park rather than have to pay parking charges. Wages paid to the drivers were low and they would hope to make up their money through generous tips. Second hand vehicles were bought by the company and run into the ground so there was always the risk of a breakdown to add to a mystery tour’s excitement. Climbing a steep hill near Abbotsbury could be stressful for both the driver and the passengers. Such mishaps led to the company being given the nickname ‘Bere Regis & Risket.’


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the

Shapwick Sea Monster

On a Tuesday in October 1706, a travelling Poole fishmonger was wheeling his cart on the outskirts of the village of Shapwick. Unknown to him, a large crab fell from his barrow. This was to cause panic and alarm among the Shapwick villagers. Living inland, and perhaps in the 18 th century not having travelled beyond Blandford, the Shapwick villagers had never before seen a crab. Trudging home and exhausted by his day’s labour, a Shapwick farm worker discovered this crawling creature by stepping on it. So strange was its appearance, he believed it was the devil himself. Running on to the village, he told everyone excitingly of his horrid find. Fearing it was the work of the devil, the villagers armed themselves with pitchforks, sticks and stones. Knowing not what to do, they decided to consult the shepherd Rowe considered by many to be the local wise man. Sadly, the aging oracle was now past his prime and for the last six years had been confined to his bed. The old man was as infirm as

Blandford Races

It might not have been Ascot, Epsom or Aintree but Blandford Races was once quite an important event in the county’s social calendar. Blandford Races date back to 1603 and were held on the downs which today would be part of Blandford Camp. Meetings continued until the middle of the 19 th  century with few breaks in between. The longest interruption was when Oliver Cromwell was Head of State and Government. As Lord Protector he was not amused by such events. Apart from horse racing, there were other entertainments. These included wrestling matches, cock fighting and dancing. Much feasting took place which was highly lucrative for the town. In 1780, cudgel playing was advertised and resulted in a Shaftebury man losing his left eye. This was then replaced by a sword and dagger contest between the gentlemen of Dorset and Somerset. One of the race patrons was Lord Palmerston who was later to be Prime Minister. In 1824, he had had a winner, Luzborough in the Dorsetshire Gold Cup. Normally he