Lavington & Devizes Motor Services was established by Frederick Sayer in 1915, initially providing a bus service on certain days of the week from his home town of Market Lavington in Wiltshire to Devizes, Melksham and Bath, as well as a number of excursions. However he expanded rapidly and by 1924, Lavington and Devizes Motor Services had been registered as a limited company and was operating regular services to Bath, Melksham, Trowbridge, Devizes, Chippenham and Salisbury.
The Company had also started to acquire neighbouring bus operators, including Hall & Son of Orcheston who traded as Shrewton Motor services. Whilst Hall’s main service was from Shrewton to Salisbury, they also operated a bus route to Salisbury from Hindon (some considerable distance from Shrewton). Lavington & Devizes then expanded on this by basing a vehicle in the nearby village of Codford and re-instating Market day services from that village to Salisbury, Warminster, Frome and Devizes that had recently been abandoned by Wilts & Dorset Motor Services.
Sadly however, this expansion took its toll on the company’s finances and the minutes of the company’s board meetings show that no profit was made from 1926, preventing the purchase of suitable replacements for its rapidly ageing fleet. After unsuccessful attempts to sell the company it was finally purchased by Bath Tramways in 1932, which initially chose to retain the Lavington & Devizes identity until 1937 when the L&D road service licences were officially transferred to Bath Tramways.
Although Bath Tramways continued to develop the services in the Devizes area, the Hindon operations were sold to Wilts & Dorset in 1937, whilst those in the Codford area were gradually withdrawn following the outbreak of the second world war.
A photocopy of the timetable book published by Lavington & Devizes Motor services in 1930 has been made available to us by the Omnibus Society, to whom we are extremely grateful. This can be downloaded here.
A book setting out the full history of Lavington & Devizes Motor Services has been produced by transport historian Laurie James and is available, price £12.99 from Amberley Publishing and other leading book sellers.
An excerpt of it can also be found on google books by clicking here.