Thomas Severn was a native of Creswell in Derbyshire, but moved to Bentley near Doncaster in the early part of the 20th century.
After a further move to Stainforth, he started operating a haulage business carrying coal during the week, converting his lorries to buses for use at weekends.
By April 1922 he was operating jointly with a number of other operators (Blue Line, Reliance, Doncaster Corporation and Roe) on a route between Stainforth and Doncaster, using the fleetname ‘Cressy Motor Services’, a reminder of his Derbyshire roots.
Certain journeys were diverted or extended by the various operators, in particular, Blue Line and Reliance ran from Stainforth to Goole via Thorne, Roe ran to Sykehouse and later on to Fishlake, and Doncaster Corporation ran to Hatfield via Dunscroft. By the late 1920’s all the operators were running to Dunscroft.
Thomas Severn also commenced additional services to Selby and Grimsby in the 1920’s but these were soon withdrawn because of lack of patronage. In 1924 a second route to Doncaster from Thorne (later Moorends via Edenthorpe) was introduced, jointly with Premier, Renown and Felix Motors.
The first vehicle in the Cressy fleet was a Ford, about which little is known, but a 26-seat Vulcan 2T was the next vehicle to be purchased in March 1923.
For the following few years Leyland vehicles were the choice but after 1926 a variety of other makes were purchased, including Saurer, Thornycroft, Chevrolet, AEC and Dennis.
Fleet numbers were introduced in the early 1930’s, but the practice had been discontinued by the beginning of the Second World War in 1939.
The limited company was formed in 1933.
In 1938 the established business of W. Roe of Hay Green was taken over, together with a service from Stainforth to Sykehouse, which had been operating since 1920.
The Doncaster to Thorne service was diverted in the 1940’s to serve the camp at RAF Lindholme. At this time there was a substantial amount of traffic to the camp from Doncaster, but over the years this dwindled until the camp was finally closed in 1982, although a few journeys continued to be run.
The Cressy fleetname was dropped during the war years and vehicles operated without a fleetname, although some sported a letter ‘S’. During 1943 and 1944, Severn & Sons began negotiations with Doncaster Corporation and Yorkshire Traction for the sale of the Company.
Although both were interested in taking over the little Company, it seems that their financial valuation was disappointing and by April 1944 negotiations had been discontinued.
In 1946 a service from Thorne to Bawtry via Lindholme commenced, but in the event proved unviable and was abandoned after only 7 months.
Feeder services to the RAF camps at Finningley and Bawtry, as well as Lindholme were operated jointly with Premier and Felix Motors during the 1950’s, along with football specials to the Doncaster Rovers ground from Moorends and Dunscroft.
In 1954 a new depot was opened at Bootham Lane, Dunscroft.
Severn & Sons also operated works journeys, which included services to the Rockware Glass factory at Kirk Sandall and to Hatfield Pit, both from Dunscroft, as well as tours and excursions from Stainforth and Leeds to Bridlington, Scarborough and Skegness.
During 1965 the Doncaster to Thorne service was diverted to serve the newly completed South Common estate in Thorne, at which time the following joint daily stage carriage services were being operated:
|Doncaster (Christ Church) to Dunscroft (Ingram Road) via Kirk Sandall, Barnby Dun and Stainforth (with some journeys via Crooksbroom Lane).|
(Joint with Doncaster Corporation, Blue Line and Reliance).
Doncaster (Christ Church) to Moorends (Winning Post) via Edenthorpe, Hatfield, Hatfield Woodhouse and Thorne (or via Brickyards).
(Joint with Premier and Felix Motors).
The service from Doncaster (Christ Church) to Sykehouse, via Kirk Sandall, Barnby Dun, Stainforth, Fishlake and Wormley Hill or Canal Lock was operated on Saturdays only, with a Tuesday only service between Stainforth and Sykehouse (although school journeys were operated during term times).
This was the service that was taken over with the business of Roe in 1938. In 1976 the South Yorkshire PTE subsidised the running of this service every weekday, with journeys serving South Bramwith village between Barnby Dun and Stainforth.
On the 30th March 1979 the Company was purchased by the South Yorkshire PTE, although all vehicles remained licensed to Severn & Sons until the Company formally ceased to trade on the 24th August 1980, when the green and cream vehicles, which had graced the roads around Doncaster for over 57 years finally disappeared.
In producing this history reference has been made to the following sources;
‘Cressy – a history of T. Severn & Sons’ by Michael Fowler (Buses No. 336, March 1983); PSV Circle Fleet Histories PB29 (1993), PB4 (1967).