From the Wychwood Magazine’s early Archives

The Wychwood Magazine has often discussed local public travel options. In the issue of April/May 1983, there was a story highlighting the bus services of nearly 100 years earlier.


I was fortunate to obtain from Mrs Holloway of Burford, a copy of an 1888 poster, advertising the bus service of those days from Burford to Shipton Station and to Witney Station. Three times a day the bus came to Shipton at a charge of one shilling per head. Occasionally, when waiting for a train, the driver of the bus would cut a station porter’s hair at threepence a time.

The bus carried the Royal Mail and also delivered to the Red Horse, Dr Cheatle of Burford’s medicines en route. The bus was never late and some amusing tales are told. The Witney bus returning to Burford once lost its driver on the way home at Asthall. He fell off the bus into a ditch(!) but unknown to the passengers inside. Yet the horses brought the bus safely home under their own steam.

On another occasion, a rival Burford bus was proceeding up Shipton hill and when it reached the Barrow, one of the horses fell down dead and the driver is alleged to have been heard to say: “E’s never done that before”. Thank you Mrs Holloway for reminding us of the reliable transport service that prevailed in your day.

February – March 2022