Hulleys of Baslow reach their centenary

North Derbyshire and peak district local bus operator Hulleys of Baslow are celebrating their centenary this year. In this blog we take a look at this operator, whose buses have been a familiar sight in the area for 100 years. VCH covers local bus operators in our red book series (but not the actual fleets in any great detail), as they played an important role in the economy of the area they served and in some cases still do.

Recreation of the old Hulley’s fleet name.

Henry Hulley, who had previously operated taxis, started to run a bus service between Bakewell and Chesterfield in April 1921.

In the following decades routes and journeys increased, with a couple of local operators being purchased before the Second World War. After, there was a fairly brief incursion into the Ashbourne area, courtesy of another business purchase, but these operations were sold in 1954.

Following Henry Hulley’s death in 1971, the remaining family members sold the business in 1978 to JH Wooliscroft & Son, of Darley Dale, who traded as ‘Silver Service’.

A perhaps timeless view of Bakewell in August 1980. The bus on the right is in a red and honey livery adopted by Silver Service after they took over the Hulley operations. It was soon superseded by a blue and honey ‘Silver Service’ livery. The bus is one of a batch of ex Merseyside Leyland Panthers which gave generally unsatisfactory operation with the company.

The familiar red and cream Hulley fleet livery and indeed the name disappeared under the Wooliscroft ownership. But the name reappeared again after the former Hulley’s Baslow garage and routes were sold to the Silver Service Transport Manager Arthur Cotterhill and Peter Eades who was a long-serving ex Hulley employee. The fleet was reinvigorated with a new blue and cream livery adopted.

In 2020 the business was purchased by Alf Crofts, who had been a Hulleys driver for 16 years.

The company held a centenary event at Chatsworth on 26 September where modern buses in recreated old and in current liveries were displayed.

Recreation of two former liveries as displayed at the centenary event held at Chatsworth in September 2021. The left-hand bus is said to recreate the first livery, whilst the right hand bus recreates the Silver Service livery.

At one time Hulleys did have reputation for using quite old vehicles and had some fleet problems. Today the company operates modern buses and once again double-deckers.

There’s lots more information on the history of the company on their website from which some of the information in this post is sourced. A two-part history of Hulleys has recently appeared in the Newsletter of Transpire, the Chesterfield Bus Society.

A 2009 built bus, at the Chatsworth event, which entered the Hulley’s fleet in 2020. This is in the current livery with the company names styled as ‘Hulleys’
It’s a far-cry from this ex-Nottingham bus, seen at Tontine Road, Chesterfield in December 1980. The company, then under Wooliscroft ownership barely seem to have had time to apply a splash of Hulley red – the green and cream being its former owner’s colours!