West Lulworth

a Registered One-Place Study and part of the Dorset OPC network

Bus & Coach Services (Historic)

The following information is taken mainly from the Countrybus website, courtesy of Peter Roberts

The Cove Hotel ran a hotel bus for their guests. From 1917 to 1928 they had a Ford FX3884 which they bought new, and from 1928 to 1936 another Ford TK958, also bought new. Mrs Ennis of the Cove Hotel started a school run around 1922 for the Roman Catholic children to East Lulworth.

In pre-war years Walter Chaffey of Vicarage Cottage operated a service from West Lulworth to Dorchester via Winfrith but his service had been discontinued in the mid-1930's. In the 1930’s there was also another operator, G Burgin, who had a small Chevrolet coach.

By the thirties, Southern National were well established in the area with daily services from Lulworth via Wool to Weymouth and via Wareham to Swanage. From 1929 to 1939, during the summer months, two of their buses were garaged at the Cove Hotel, West Lulworth.

In 1933. twenty-three year old Percy Webb moved home from Buckland Newton in the north of the county and purchased the bus business of George Goult of Chaldon. Previously Thomas Coleman and James Ironside had also served the Chaldon and Winfrith routes. Percy worked from a base in the same small village of East Chaldon (also sometimes known as Chaldon Herring) and operated market day services from Chaldon and Winfrith Newburgh through Broadmayne to Dorchester on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Skirting across the vastness of Egdon Heath to the markets of Casterbridge.. There was also a weekly service to Weymouth on Thursdays.

Percy Webb adopted the trading name of Dorset Queen in 1952 and the Dorchester route was extended back from Chaldon and Winfrith to start from the seaside beauty spot of Lulworth Cove and the nearby village of West Lulworth, running thence via Durdle Door.

When Southern National withdrew operations from the Lulworth area In 1971, the Dorset Queen routes were extended further from Lulworth Cove to East Lulworth and Coombe Keynes . The newly served villages had buses once on Thursdays to Weymouth and twice on Fridays to Dorchester. Percy Webb passed away in October 1976 aged 66, followed by his wife Mary in November 1981, at the age of 69. Control of the business then passed to one of their daughters, Mrs Rosemary Hodder.

The bus service side of things has declined further over the years. With the introduction of the Dorset Transit 102/103 routes hourly from Dorchester to Lulworth, Wool and Bovington in 1999, the Dorset Queen service was reduced to just one Wednesday morning journey to Dorchester for the market. By the summer of 2001 this once a week run was being operated by Barrys Coaches of Weymouth. So Dorset Queen continue as a coach operator but no longer run any bus services.

For more information on Dorset Queen and other bus and coach operators in the area, please visit the Countrybus website.

Bus and Coach Professional

23 January 2004

Dorset Queen sold to Hookways Group

DORSET Queen has been acquired by Hookways Group following the retirement of owner Rosemary Hodder. The coach operation based at East Chaldon near Lulworth Cove will continue to operate under the Dorset Queen name although the Hookways livery will be introduced progressively.

Hookways commercial manager John Burch told Bus and Coach Professional that five of Dorset Queen's eight vehicles have been taken on and two MAN/Noge coaches will be transferred into the Dorset Queen fleet from other Hookways depots.

Dorset Queen was founded in 1933 by Rosemary Hodder's father Percy Webb. Hodder will leave the business after a handover period of around eight weeks but Terry Newberry will remain as workshop manager at East Chaldon. The Dorset Queen operation will be managed from the Hookways base in Exeter. The Hookways Group also has operational bases in Meeth near Okehampton, Sidmouth and Bude, north Cornwall.

The 1952 timetable after the extension of Percy Webb’s service to Lulworth Cove

Image reproduced courtesy of Peter Roberts at Countrybus