Transport history researcher and local author Paul Lacey is well known for his books tracing the history of bus services in Bucks and Berks.

His earliest books date from the mid-1980s, and one of his latest is entitled Early Independents of the Henley & Marlow Area. Over half of the copiously illustrated 93 pages deal with the Marlow area.

Paul’s book is not just a catalogue of dates and times when independent bus services were operating in Marlow, but includes evocative details of family, local and social history.

It is a story of local enterprise beginning over one hundred years ago which affected most people, including our ancestors, in some way.

We learn that the first bus service to serve Marlow was from and to Henley operated by Edwin George Venn-Brown, beginning on Saturday April 11, 1914. The fare for a one-way journey was 1s.10d, and 3s. for a return ticket. The service ran from Tuesdays to Saturdays, but soon proved so popular that the number of journeys was increased.

Paul then takes us through the development of Marlow & District Bus Services Ltd, through its growth by acquisition of other independent operators, until finally being wound up by the Thames Valley Co. Ltd on November 1, 1932. (The history of the Thames Valley company was the subject of three of Paul’s early books.)

We learn that the family of Rupert Edward Batting, who provided outings in the summer of 1922 with a charabanc called “The Kingfisher” , were in business in Marlow as house-furnishers from the late 1800s. Their premises were at No. 2 Market Sq, at the junction of the High St and West St.

The Kingfisher was an ex--War Department vehicle, which could seat 28 people and was painted red. Being open-topped it was also used in the house-furnishing business for making local deliveries.

From September 1922 The Kingfisher was also used to provide a regular weekly shopper’s return journey to High Wycombe on the market day of Friday. This required a hackney carriage licence from Wycombe Town Council.

As the council were trying at that time to reduce congestion around Frogmoor Gardens (as Frogmoor was known then) the licence stipulated that the charabanc must be parked on the east side of Queen Victoria Road.

In the interwar period another independent charabanc operator in Marlow was Wycombe-born George Henry Tillion. He was the licensee of The Horns pub in Chapel Street and also operated a haulage business from its yard. For the summer season in 1924 Tillion added bench seats to his lorries to provide local outings.

These probably included The Derby at Epsom and Ascot Race Week in June.

Because of the breadth of its coverage “Early Independents of the Henley & Marlow Area” is a book which will not just appeal to bus enthusiasts but to anyone who is interested in the social history of the area. The book is available directly from Paul Lacey for £15 post-free, 17 Sparrow Close, Woosehill, Wokingham, Berks, RG41 3HT, email him