Bus museum opens doors for first time

Delaine Heritage Trust Bus Running Day. By Lee Hellwng
Delaine Heritage Trust Bus Running Day. By Lee Hellwng

A family-run bus company which has been carrying passengers for 127 years has created a museum which charts its history.

Delaine Buses in Bourne opened the doors to its new attraction, which includes buses used by the company in the 1950s, a workshop filled with tools and equipment dating back more than 100 years old, for a preview on Saturday with a special heritage day.

Located at the firm’s depot in Spalding Road, the museum, which is also bursting with photographs and memorabilia as well as housing an office recreated to look like one the firm used in the 1960s, will fully open next year.

Anthony Delaine-Smith, managing director of Delaine Buses, said: “We are fortunate we have all the ingredients to make a museum.

“It is also a social history of the town. A lot of the photographs show how social changes have happened in the town. Some people will see buildings and street signs - all things that have been swept away by progress.”

The firm believe the museum is the only one of its kind in the country set-up by an independent bus company.

Buses stored in the museum form part of the firm’s heritage fleet and include models from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s including a 1956 Leyland Titan - its oldest bus still in service.

And the fleet was in operation as part of the weekend’s open day, as the vehicles were used in a service which ran between Bourne and Stamford.

“They are kept in fully working order and used in our heritage days and used in other heritage days in the area,” Anthony, 51, said.

Although the Delaine Museum, which is run independently by the Delaine Heritage Trust, was completed in July it is not open to the public until next year to allow for more items and artefacts to be added to it.

Anthony, who is also chairman of the trust, said: “What people saw at the weekend is just a snap shot of what is to come. There will be uniforms, visual records, a lot more photographs.”

He added that all the items set for the museum are stored at the depot and will be moved in a “controlled manner”.

Anthony’s brothers, Ian, Kevin and Anthony also work at the firm

And other family members which make up the staff rota are his two daughters Jennifer and Victoria, who at aged 19 is its youngest driver,

Many of the items in the museum have been collected over the years by Anthony’s brother, Kevin.

Prior to the weekend, the firm last held a heritage day in April 2015.