Weston-super-Mare known as just Weston is a seaside town in North Somerset, England, on the Bristol Channel 18 miles south west of Bristol between Worlebury Hill and Bleadon Hill. It includes the suburbs of West Wick and Worle, its population at the 2011 census was 76,143. Since 1983, Weston has been twinned with Germany. Although there is evidence in the local area of occupation since the Iron Age, it was still a small village until the 19th century when it became a seaside resort, was connected with local towns and cities by a railway, two piers were built; the growth continued until the second half of the 20th century, when tourism declined and some local industries closed. A regeneration programme is being undertaken with attractions including the Helicopter Museum, Weston Museum, Grand Pier and an aquarium; the Paddle Steamer Waverley and MV Balmoral offer day sea trips from Knightstone Island to various destinations along the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. Cultural venues include the Winter Gardens and Blakehay Theatre.
Owing to the large tidal range in the Bristol Channel, the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about 1 mile from the seafront. Although the beach itself is sandy, low tide uncovers areas of thick mud, hence the colloquial name, Weston-super-Mud; these mudflats are dangerous to walk in and are crossed by the mouth of the River Axe. Just to the north of the town is Sand Point which marks the lower limit of the Severn Estuary and the start of the Bristol Channel, it is the site of the Middle Hope biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. In the centre of the town is Ellenborough Park, another SSSI due to the range of plant species found there. Weston comes from the Anglo-Saxon for the west settlement. Prior to 1348 it was known as Weston-juxta-Mare; the name was changed by Ralph of Shrewsbury, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Between the 14th and 17th centuries the "super Mare" part of the name disappeared and it was just known as Weston, although in 1610 it was recorded as Weston on the More.
Weston's oldest structure is Worlebury Camp, on Worlebury Hill, dating from the Iron Age. Castle Batch was a castle; the present site has an earthwork mound of 160 feet in diameter, believed to be the remains of a motte. The parish was part of the Winterstoke Hundred; the medieval church of St John was demolished in 1824 and rebuilt on the same site, though a stump of the medieval preaching cross survives by the exterior south wall. The former rectory is a 17th-century structure with additions. Though it remains adjacent to the church, it has not been a parsonage house since the end of the 19th century. Today it is divided into flats; the Old Thatched Cottage restaurant on the seafront carries the date 1774. William Leeves of Wrington. Early in the 19th century, Weston was a small village of about 30 houses, located behind a line of sand dunes fronting the sea, created as an early sea wall after the Bristol Channel floods of 1607; the Pigott family of Brockley, who were the local Lords of the Manor, had a summer residence at Grove House.
Weston owes its prosperity to the Victorian era boom in seaside holidays. Construction of the first hotel in the village started in 1808. Along with nearby Burnham-on-Sea, Weston benefited from proximity to Bristol and South Wales; the first attempt at an artificial harbour was made in the late 1820s at the islet of Knightstone and a slipway built from Anchor Head towards Birnbeck Island. Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his family lived in Weston, at Swiss Villa, while he was supervising the construction of the Bristol and Exeter Railway in the area. With the opening of the railway in 1841, thousands of visitors came to the town from Bristol, the Midlands and further afield, on works outings and bank holidays. Mining families came across the Bristol Channel from South Wales by paddle steamer. To cater for them, Birnbeck Pier was completed in 1867, offering in its heyday amusement arcades, tea rooms, amusement rides and a photographic studio, it is now in a derelict state and has been added to English Heritage's Buildings at Risk Register, but visitors can still admire its structure from behind barbed wire.
It was designed by Eugenius Birch with ironwork by the Isca Foundry of Monmouthshire. It is a grade II* listed building. Large areas of land were released for development from the 1850s onwards. Large detached villas, for the middle classes, were built on the southern slopes of Worlebury Hill. Semi-detached and terraced housing was built on the low "moorland" behind the sea front in an area known as South Ward. Many of these houses have now been converted into bedsits. Most of the houses built in the Victorian era are built from stone and feature details made from Bath Stone, influenced by local architect Hans Price. In 1885, the first transatlantic telegraph cable of the Commercial Cable Company was brought ashore and the company started a long association with the town, ending in 1962. Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy transmitted radio signals across the Bristol Channel in the spring of 1897, from Penarth to Brean Down. A second railway, the Weston and Portishead Light Railway, opened on 1 December 1897, connecting Weston to Cleved
First South West
First South West is a bus company operating services in the English counties of Somerset and Cornwall. It is a subsidiary of FirstGroup. First South West includes the Buses of Somerset brands. First South West was known as'First Devon & Cornwall' until 2015; this had been formed from two previous FirstGroup companies: Western National in Cornwall and south Devon, Red Bus in north Devon. FirstGroup purchased independent Cornish operator Truronian in April 2008 and merged it into First Devon & Cornwall. First Somerset & Avon routes around Taunton and Bridgwater were transferred to First Devon & Cornwall in 2014 and rebranded as The Buses of Somerset. On 6 September 2015, the Plymouth and Tavistock garages were taken over by Stagecoach South West. Torpoint depot is being used to store the unused members of the fleet. At the same time, First Devon & Cornwall changed their name to First South West to reflect their new area of operation, only in Cornwall and south Somerset. First South West routes cover much of Cornwall.
It operates the Ride service in Truro. In March 2015, First Kernow commenced operating some of Western Greyhound following its sudden closure; as at March 2013 the fleet coaches. First South West operate one of the older FirstGroup fleets with an average of 11.6 years. New purchases are rare with most buses transferred from other group fleets; until December 2006 First South West operated the last sizeable fleet of Bristol VRT double-deck buses in the United Kingdom. Some of these Bristol VRTs were preserved; as at September 2013 the oldest buses in the fleet were seven 1987 Alexander RH bodied Volvo B10M-50s that have been converted to open top buses for services between Penzance, Lands End and St Ives. Bridgwater Camborne Newquay Penzance Taunton Truro Yeovil Eden Project Falmouth Helston Minehead Padstow List of bus operators of the United Kingdom Media related to First Devon and Cornwall at Wikimedia Commons First Kernow website Buses of Somerset website
Badgerline was a bus operator in and around Bristol from 1985 until 2003. Its headquarters were in Weston-super-Mare. A part of the Bristol Omnibus Company, it was privatised in September 1986 being sold to Badgerline Holdings in a management buyout, it went on to purchase a number of bus companies in Wales. In November 1993, Badgerline Group was listed on the stock exchange, on 16 June 1995 merged with the GRT Group to form FirstBus. In 2018, Badgerline was reintroduced as the name for First West of England's bus services in Weston-super-Mare; the Bristol Tramways Company started operating buses in 1906 to feed traffic into their tram services from beyond the boundaries of the city of Bristol. In 1910 a branch was opened in Weston-super-Mare where the company's first bus station was opened on the sea front in the 1930s. Others were built after World War II at Wells and Bristol; the company changed its name to the Bristol Omnibus Company in 1957 as it no longer operated trams, but by it was owned by the British Transport Commission and so became a subsidiary of the National Bus Company on 1 January 1969.
In the 1980s the NBC split its subsidiaries into smaller operating units. Bristol Omnibus established a separate operating unit for its services outside Bristol in September 1983 and introduced three distinct brands in April 1985, with operations in Somerset and the Avon outside the city of Bristol becoming Badgerline. Badgerline was established as a company in its own right and sold to a group of its managers and staff on 23 September 1986; this was the second bus-operating NBC subsidiary. Northern Counties Palatine bodied Leyland Olympian & Badgerline Bristol VR in May 2011]] In December 1986, six of the company's managers and 90 other staff formed Badgerline Holdings as a limited company to purchase Badgerline from NBC. Employees held 95% of Badgerline's share capital, it went on to buy two travel agencies, Roman City of Bath, NBC subsidiary National Travelworld. On 7 August 1987 Western National, which operated in Plymouth and Cornwall, was sold by NBC to Plympton Coachlines with Badgerline Holdings having an initial 39% shareholding, increased to 66% in August 1988.
In April 1988, Badgerline Holdings purchased Midland Red West Holdings, another ex-NBC employee buy-out that had purchased Bristol Omnibus in September 1987, continued to operate city services in Bristol. Because of this the company was referred to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission who reported in March 1989 on concerns regarding the ownership by a single company of the two principal bus operators in Avon. Ensuing discussions led to the company giving two undertakings: it would not seek to re-register any services, lost tenders for subsidised routes would be done and scrutinised by an auditor; the company created three subsidiaries in 1987 in an attempt to expand into new operating areas, none of which lasted more than a year. It sold its share in Red Admiral to Southampton Citybus but their operations in Poole and Salisbury lost £962,000. Badgerline South operated 21 Iveco and 12 Ford Transit minibuses in Salisbury. Badger Vectis operated in Bournemouth and Poole as a joint venture with Southern Vectis using 7 Iveco minibuses and 16 single deck buses Bristol REs.
Red Admiral operated in Portsmouth as a joint venture with Southampton Citybus. The company expanded into South Wales and Essex and floated on the stock exchange as the Badgerline Group in November 1993, followed by acquisition of Potteries Motor Traction and Yorkshire Rider in 1994. Badgerline Group had unsuccessfully promoted guided buses and articulated buses as solutions to Bristol's transport problems in the 1990s; the Badgerline Group merged with GRT Group to form FirstBus on 16 June 1995. Badgerline Group contributed 4,000 buses to the new company's fleet of 5,600; the operating subsidiaries transferred to FirstBus were: Badgerline Buses Bristol Omnibus Company Eastern National Frontline Enterprises Midland Red West Potteries Motor Traction South Wales Transport Thamesway Buses Wessex Coaches Western National Yorkshire RiderOn 16 June 1995, Badgerline Buses became a subsidiary of the new FirstBus. In 1996, Badgerline, as part of First Group, was merged back into Bristol Omnibus, although Badgerline was retained as a trading name.
In July 1997 the Streamline operation in Bath was purchased by FirstGroup and merged with Badgerline, although the Streamline name was retained for a while. It had expanded into minibus services. At the time of takeover it had 20 buses. Bristol Omnibus was renamed First Bristol in 1999 but Badgerline was managed independently again from 2000. First Somerset & Avon was created on 30 May 2003 to combine the operations of both Badgerline and Southern National under the First brand. In April 2017, following a reorganisation, First Somerset & Avon was combined with First Bristol to become First West of England. In August 2018 First West of England relaunched their services in Weston-super-Mare as Badgerline, together with a new logo and take on the classic Badgerline livery; this followed the closure of Weston-super-Mare based Crossville Motor Services in April 2018. All 16 buses allocated to the depot for town services were repainted. Badgerline's headquarters were in Weston-super-Mare. Bus services extended as far as Chippenham, Gloucester, Salisbury and Yeovil but it operated National Express services to destinations such as London.
Vehicles were maintained at four depots: Bath, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare. The allocations on 1 January 1986 and 30 November 1989 were: The first years of operation
FirstGroup plc is a multi-national transport group, based in Aberdeen, Scotland. The company operates transport services in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, it is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. FirstGroup originated from the deregulation of bus services in the United Kingdom in 1986, whereby private companies purchased nationalised and municipal bus operators. In September 1986 the Somerset based services of the Bristol Omnibus Company that were rebranded in 1985 as Badgerline were purchased in a management buyout; as Badgerline Group, it expanded through acquisition purchasing other nationalised bus companies in England and Wales. In January 1989 Grampian Regional Transport, the bus operator in Aberdeen owned by Grampian Regional Council, was privatised in a management buyout led by its general manager Moir Lockhead; as GRT Bus Group, it expanded through acquisition purchasing six former nationalised bus companies in England and Scotland. In April 1995 FirstBus was formed through the merger of the Badgerline and GRT Bus Groups, with fleets in England and Scotland.
Aberdeen was selected as the headquarters. At the time of the merger, FirstBus had 5,600 buses. Badgerline's Trevor Smallwood became chairman of FirstBus, while GRT head Moir Lockhead became deputy chairman and chief executive. FirstBus continued the policy of growth by acquisition acquiring former council owned operations and companies owned by English and Scottish nationalised operators. FirstBus went on to acquire larger urban metropolitan operators by taking advantage of the privatisation of the PTE bus operations and the privatisation of London bus services. FirstBus acquired GM Buses North in Manchester and Strathclyde Buses in Glasgow in 1996, Mainline in South Yorkshire and CentreWest in London in 1997, Capital Citybus in London in 1998; the company was renamed FirstGroup in December 1997 after the company moved into railways in February 1996 with the privatisation of British Rail, through a 24.5% shareholding in Great Western Holdings that won the Great Western and North Western franchises, a 100% shareholding in First Great Eastern that ran the Great Eastern franchise from January 1997.
In March 1998 FirstGroup purchased the 75.5% shares in Great Western Holdings it did not own and rebranded the franchises First Great Western and First North Western. In September 1998 FirstGroup made its first overseas foray when New World First Bus commenced operating bus services in Hong Kong operated by China Motor Bus. FirstGroup had a 26% shareholding in the joint venture. In May 2000 FirstGroup sold its shares to joint venture partner New World Development. In September 1999 FirstGroup purchased Ryder Public Transport Services, a provider of school bus and contracted public bus transportation in the United States. In May 2000 FirstGroup began operating the London Tramlink concession under contract to Transport for London. In August 2003 FirstGroup purchased GB Railways which owned Anglia Railways and GB Railfreight and held 80% of the shares in Hull Trains. Having not been shortlisted for the Greater Anglia franchise, this gave FirstGroup another chance to bid; however it was unsuccessful and the franchise was awarded to National Express from April 2004 including the services operated by First Great Eastern.
In November 2003 FirstGroup purchased a 90% shareholding in Irish coach operator Aircoach. In February 2004 FirstGroup's joint venture with Keolis commenced operating the First TransPennine Express rail franchise, FirstGroup having a 55% shareholding. In April 2004 FirstGroup commenced operating the First Great Western Link franchise and in October 2004 the First ScotRail franchise. In December 2004 the remainder of First North Western passed to Northern Rail, some services having been transferred to Arriva Trains Wales and FirstTranspennine Express. In April 2006 FirstGroup commenced operating the First Capital Connect franchise and a renewed First Great Western franchise, expanded to include the Thames Trains and Wessex Trains franchises. In February 2007 FirstGroup agreed to buy the US-based firm Laidlaw, an operator of inter-city coaches and yellow school buses across North America, for £1.9 billion. This gave it a controlling stake in Greyhound Lines, the largest bus operator in North America.
The Greyhound name and the names of Canadian subsidiaries of Greyhound Canada were retained, all other Laidlaw-owned services in the United States and Canada were rebranded under the First or Greyhound names, except for Voyageur Colonial and Grey Goose in Canada. In January 2009 DSBFirst, FirstGroup's joint venture with Danish State Railways commenced operating the Oresundtrain rail franchise from Helsingør and Nivå in Denmark along the Kystbanen line and over the Øresund Bridge to Malmö, Växjö, Kalmar and Gothenburg in Sweden. FirstGroup had a 25 % shareholding in 20 % in the Swedish business. By March 2011 this was 30%. In June 2009 FirstGroup made a takeover offer for fellow transport operator National Express, struggling with debt at the time and was struggling to hold onto its National Express East Coast rail franchise; this was rejected, National Express saying it did not "consider it appropriate" at the time to discuss a takeover. FirstGroup believed that there was "significant industrial and commercial logic" for a merger, but National Express wished to focus on its own initiatives.
In June 2010 FirstGroup sold its railfreight business First GBRf to the Eurotunnel Group for £31 million, ending the group's involvement in rail freight transport. In September 2010 former London Underground managing director Tim O'Toole a board member since May 2009 and chief op
Southern National was a bus company operating in South West England from 1929 until 1969, again from 1983 until 1999. Southern National Omnibus Company started in 1929 as a joint venture between the Southern Railway and the National Omnibus & Transport Company; the National company had originated in 1909 as the National Steam Car Company, started to run steam bus services in London. The London services ceased in 1919, when the company was renamed National Omnibus & Transport Company; the company expanded outside London, into Essex, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Devon & Cornwall. Southern National was formed to improve co-ordination of road and rail passenger services in the operating area of the Southern Railway; the railway had little involvement in bus services, but the National Omnibus transferred its operations in the operating area to the new company. The result was an operating territory split into two areas: Dorset and north Devon and north Cornwall; the two areas were separated by the operating territories of Western National.
In 1931 a controlling interest in the National Omnibus was acquired by the Tilling Group. From on Southern National was run as a Tilling company, although the railway retained its shares until 1948. Western National and Southern National shared a common management, based in Exeter. At the end of 1934, Western National and Southern National bought Royal Blue Coach Services. On 1 January 1948, the Southern Railway was nationalised, shortly after, the Tilling Group sold its bus interests to the government. Southern National therefore became a state-owned company, under the control of the British Transport Commission. On 1 January 1963, Southern National was included in the transfer of the British Transport Commission's transport assets to the state-owned Transport Holding Company, which in turn passed to the state-owned National Bus Company on 1 January 1969. Shortly after its formation, the NBC transferred the operations of Southern National to Western National, Southern National ceased to operate as a separate entity.
In preparation for privatisation Western National was divided into four companies in January 1983. One of these was Southern National The territory of the new Southern National was the old Southern National Dorset area together with the south and west Somerset area, which had not been Southern National territory. On 29 March 1988, Southern National was sold in a management buyout. On 4 April 1999, it was sold to FirstGroup. First split Southern National into two, the Dorset operations became part of First Hampshire & Dorset, the Somerset operations part of First Somerset & Avon. In 2014, First's operations in Taunton and Bridgwater was rebranded under the new name of The Buses of Somerset. Whilst the name and brand were new, the livery is reminiscent of Southern National utilising two tones of green and cream, it is livery for the bus group. The Southern National brand was revived in 2015 by Somerset transport firm, JJP Holdings SW Limited who operated buses under the revived Crosville Motor Services brand.
It was granted an operator’s licence in 2015. In celebration of the news, one of the original Southern National buses has been restored by JJP Holdings, bringing it back to its former glory; the original legal entity, Southern National Omnibus Company Limited, incorporated in 1929, was recycled by the National Bus Company in 1986, renamed Northumbria Motor Services Limited and used as one of the companies into which United Automobile Services was divided in preparation for privatisation. It is now Arriva Northumbria Limited. Morris, C Southern National Omnibus Company Ian Allan ISBN 978-0-7110-3173-9 Media related to Southern National Omnibus Company at Wikimedia Commons Southern National Buses, Somerset
Bridgwater is a large historic market town and civil parish in Somerset, England. Its population stands at around 35,886 as of 2011. Bridgwater is in level and well-wooded country; the town lies along both sides of the River Parrett, has been a major in-land port and trading centre since the industrial revolution. Most of its industrial bases still stand today, its larger neighbour Taunton, is linked to Bridgwater via a canal, the M5 motorway and the GWR railway line. The town had a politically radical tendency; the Battle of Sedgemoor, where the Monmouth Rebellion was crushed in 1685, was fought nearby. Notable buildings include the Church of St Mary and the house in Blake Street restored, the birthplace of Admiral Blake in 1598, is now the Blake Museum; the town plays host to the annual Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival. It is thought that the town was called Brigg, meaning quay, it has been argued that the name may instead come from the Old English brycg or Old Norse bryggja, though this idea has been opposed on etymological grounds.
In the Domesday Book the town is listed as Brugie, while Brugia was used. After the Norman invasion the land was given to Walter of Douai, hence becoming known variously as Burgh-Walter, Brugg-Walter and Brigg-Walter corrupted to Bridgwater. An alternative version is that it derives from "Bridge of Walter". Bridgwater is mentioned both in the Domesday Book and in the earlier Anglo-Saxon Chronicle dating from around 800, owing its origin as a trade centre to its position at the mouth of the chief river in Somerset, it was part of the Hundred of North Petherton. In a legend of Alfred the Great, he burnt some cakes while hiding in the marshes of Athelney near Bridgwater, after the Danish invasion in 875, while in 878 the major engagement of the Battle of Cynwit may have been at nearby Cannington. William Briwere was granted the lordship of the Manor of Bridgwater by John of England in 1201, founded Bridgwater Friary. Through Briwere's influence, King John granted three charters in 1200. Bridgwater Castle was a substantial structure built in Old Red Sandstone, covering a site of 8 or 9 acres.
A tidal moat, up to 65 feet wide in places, flowed about along the line of the modern thoroughfares of Fore Street and Castle Moat, between Northgate and Chandos Street. The main entrance opposite the Cornhill was built with a pair of adjacent drawbridges. In addition to a keep, located at the south-east corner of what is now King Square, documents show that the complex included a dungeon, stables and a bell tower. Built on the only raised ground in the town, the castle controlled the crossing of the town bridge. A 12 feet thick portion of the castle wall and water gate can still be seen on West Quay, the remains of a wall of a building, built within the castle can be viewed in Queen Street; the foundations of the tower forming the north-east corner of the castle are buried beneath Homecastle House. William Briwere founded St John's hospital which, by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII, was worth the substantial sum of 121 pounds, as well as starting the construction of the town's first stone bridge.
William Briwere went on to found the Franciscan Bridgwater Friary in the town. During the 11th century Second Barons' War against Henry III, Bridgwater was held by the barons against the King. Other charters were granted by Henry III in 1227, which gave Bridgwater a guild merchant, important for the regulation of trade, allowing guild members to trade in the town, to impose payments and restrictions upon others. Bridgwater's peasants under Nicholas Frampton took part in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, sacking Sydenham House, murdering the local tax collectors and destroying the records. Bridgwater was incorporated by charter of Edward IV, confirmed in 1554, 1586, 1629 and 1684. Parliamentary representation as a borough constituency began in 1295 and continued until the Reform Act of 1870, when the original borough constituency was disenfranchised for corruption. From 4 July 1870 the town was incorporated within the county constituency of West Somerset; when Parliamentary seats were redistributed for the 1885 general election, a new county division of Bridgwater was created.
A variety of markets were granted to the town during the Middle Ages including a Midsummer fair, one at the beginning of Lent was added in 1468, one at Michaelmas. The importance of these markets and fairs for the sale of wool and wine, of cloth, declined after medieval times; the shipping trade of the port revived after the construction of the new dock in 1841, corn and timber have been imported for centuries. Gunpowder Plotter Guy Fawkes is remembered during the carnival season, including a grand illuminated procession through Bridgwater town centre, which culminates in the Squibbing. Bridgwater, being staunchly Protestant at the time of the plot celebrated the thwarting of the conspiracy with particular enthusiasm. In the English Civil War the town and the castle were held by the Royalists under Colonel Edmund Wyndham, a personal acquaintance of the King. British history might have been different had his wife, Lady Wyndham, been a little more accurate with a musket shot that missed Cromwell but killed his aide de camp.
With many buildings destroyed in the town, the castle and its valuable contents were surrendered to the Parliamentarians on 21 July 1645. The castle itself was delib