​Four generations at wheel for 100 years

Four generations of one family have been keeping the wheels turning at a Mablethorpe business for 100 years.
Noel Barker, Dick Barker and Bill BarkerNoel Barker, Dick Barker and Bill Barker
Noel Barker, Dick Barker and Bill Barker

Grayscroft Coaches, based in Victoria Road, marks its centenary next month and at the heart of the business throughout that time has been the Barker family.

The company was founded by Charles Barker from Grimoldby in 1924, who used his Army disability pension and £25 borrowed from his father to buy a Model T Ford lorry for general haulage.

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A local joiner built him a bus body which could be placed on the back of the lorry when required and he carried passengers on local routes, acquiring the company’s first school contract between Theddlethorpe and Mablethorpe and being paid 7/6d a day.

Grayscroft coaches have received a centenary makeoverGrayscroft coaches have received a centenary makeover
Grayscroft coaches have received a centenary makeover

Four years later, after acquiring a second vehicle, a 14-seat Chevrolet, the company’s name was changed from C Barker to Grayscroft Bus Services, taken from the name of Charles’s house in Mablethorpe. The company continued to grow and, as they say, the rest is history.

Ashley Barker is the fourth generation to be involved with the company, and serves as a director alongside his father, Nigel. He said: “In 100 years I think it’s safe to say, there’s not much we haven’t seen!

"We’ve been bombed and we’ve been flooded. We’ve survived recessions and we’ve worked through global pandemics! But steadfast throughout all that has been our dedication to serving the people of Mablethorpe and Lincolnshire.

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"Founded by my great grandfather bolting a simple ‘bus body’ to the back of a lorry body on weekends, I’m sure he would be amazed at how far modern coaches have come. Even yet understand the complexities of making air conditioning and heaters work simultaneously!

The very first Grayscroft coach (Model T Ford) in 1924The very first Grayscroft coach (Model T Ford) in 1924
The very first Grayscroft coach (Model T Ford) in 1924

"We now operate a fleet of 24 modern vehicles and employ over 30 members of staff providing transportation services in both the UK and on the continent. But my father Nigel and I are but mere custodians of a family legacy passed down through four generations and we simply wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and dedication of those that have come before, and our colleagues today.

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Lincolnshire for their custom and support through the good and the bad times. Here’s to the next 100 years!”

Grayscroft employees will be joined by current bus operators in the area for a formal celebration this weekend.