worthing history


James Town's horse buses

  JAMES TOWN was one of the stagecoach pioneers serving Worthing during the 19th century.
     At the peak of his business providing motive power for stagecoaches, he owned and stabled at least 200 horses, but with the arrival of the railways in the 1840s, long-distance stagecoaches suffered a rapid decline in popularity.
     To keep his stables in business, James Town began a local horse-drawn omnibus service and was soon running 10 buses a day from Heene to Broadwater, via the centre of the town. He used two London-type horse-drawn double-decker open-topped vehicles and employed this young lad as one of his bus conductors.
     This photograph, taken at the turn of the century, is one of the iconic images of that relatively brief era in Worthing’s history.
     Within a few years, all the routes had been taken over by motor omnibuses.
Nobody is quite sure what happened to the keen young conductor in later life but he is believed to have emigrated to Canada.