Edwards' Coaches of Bishop's Itchington: After the War

The life and times of James Edwards

Edwards' Coaches Maudslay WD5529 outside village shop, Bishop's Itchington c 1936.
Image courtesy of Harbury Heritage

(Continued from part three)

Life came back to normal in the village after the war. But men who had seen Gay Paree found it hard to settle down. Bishop’s never had a war memorial on the village green, but the Memorial Hall was built by Greaves, Bull and Lakin to honour the war dead. The Roll of Honour is in the hall and also in the church.

An old German field gun

At Long Itchington the war memorial was an old German field gun. When some of the young men back from France had had a few drinks, they pushed it into the village pond where it could be seen popping out every summer when the water was low! In the second world war it was pulled out and sent for scrap to fight the ‘Jerries’ again!

Jimmy was a great one for dressing up at the local fetes and fancy dress contests, with his mate ‘Cherry’ Hunt. They won several first prizes, dada as a flapper and Cherry as a minstral. At one show Jimmy went as a Sandwich Board Man and didn’t get judged as they thought he was real! Another of their mates (Kelly Garratt) went as a mad ape in a cage and frightened the children; he looked so real. That just shows the ingenuity of the people in those days because they didn’t have much money. Still, crepe paper was only 2d per sheet!

His life started to change

About 1922 Jimmy’s life started to change. He got married to Mabel Naden from Birmingham, had a new piece built on the old house, and got his first motor vehicle. This was a Model T Ford motor van, one of Henry Ford’s famous (any colour as long as it’s black) motor cars. Jimmy ran the motor to Banbury via Gaydon, and to Leamington via Radford Semele.

He was called a village carrier. He took passengers, parcels, and did shopping to Banbury market. He moved furniture for people, mostly farm workers around Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. He would move the workers and then the farmers would pay him for it. From Bishop’s Itchington to Leamington Spa cost 2/6d (old money) then, later on with a bigger bus, Jimmy got it down to 9d! When he got his first ‘big’ bus, he had to pay for the chassis and engine, and then pay for the body when he had earned some money!

A growing family

In 1923, 23rd November, Jimmy’s daughter Elizabeth Alice (Betty) arrived. Another little girl, Eleanor came later – she died of pneumonia at 20 months. Then Thomas James (Tom) on February 22nd 1929.

Jimmy’s business got on well, at one time he had five buses – four 26 seater Bedfords, and one 38 or 42 seat Dennis Ace. He took trips to the seaside, theatres, and pantos etc.

Originally written 02.05.1983. Digitised by Haidee Powell – October 2009

Harbury Heritage reference HM1304

(Continued in part five)