Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Crosville Bus Stop

Lowry refers to the Crosville Motor Company Limited in his novel Ultramarine when Dana recalls his time with Janet; "His whole being was drowning in memories, the smells of Birkenhead and of Liverpool were again heavily about him, there was a coarse glitter in the cinema fronts, children stared at him strangely from the porches of public-houses. Janet would be waiting for him a the Crosville bus stop, with her red mackintosh and her umbrella, while silver straws of rain gently pattered on the green roof..."Where shall we go? The Hippodrome or the Argyle? ..... I've heard there's a good show on at the Scala -" (Pg. 27).

The Crosville Motor Company Limited was formed on 27 October 1906 in Chester, by George Crosland Taylor and his French business associate Georges de Ville, with the intention of building motor cars. The company name was an amalgam of 'Crosland' and 'de Ville'.

By 1909 Crosville had commenced its first bus service, between Chester and Ellesmere Port, and was to grow to incorporate bus services in Cheshire, Lancashire and north-east Wales, becoming one of the major names in the British bus industry.

Crosville expanded rapidly after WW1 including onto the Wirral. In October 1919 a service from New Ferry to Meols commenced, running via West Kirby and Hoylake. With Crosville now expanding outwards from Chester and into the Wirral, it was inevitable that conflict with some of the municipal operators would ensue. Licences to run from West Kirby to Wallasey village were granted in May 1920, but plans to extend the services to Seacombe ferry and New Brighton were opposed by Wallasey Corporation. Similar problems were encountered with Birkenhead Corporation, who steadfastly refused to allow the Company's vehicles into the town.

The above is important to note as to which bus stop Hilliot (Lowry) would have met Janet (Tess). If Janet (Tess) was coming from her home in 26 Thirlemere Street in Liscard then she could have taken a Wallasey Corporation bus from Liscard across Birkenhead Docks to Park Station, which was the terminus of Crosville buses in 1927 in Birkenhead. This would have been logical if Hilliot (Lowry) travelled to meet her either using the steam train from West Kirby Station, which terminated at Park Station in the 20's before electrification in the 30's; or he travelled by Crosville bus 108 from West Kirby. This would enabled them to  walk into Birkenhead town centre to visit the theatres. Another possibility is that Hilliot (Lowry) traveled to Liscard to meet Janet (Tess) as Crosville operated a service from West Kirby to the Queens Arms Hotel in Liscard.

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