Lavington & Devizes Motor Services (L&DMS) was not a typical West Country rural independent bus operator. Across Britain, many village-based concerns made the gradual transition from carrier to running buses and coaches, with many of those originally using horses progressing to motorised propulsion either just before, during or after the end of the First World War. In general, they ran one or a few modest services to the nearest town(s), often only on popular days such as that when the market was held. By contrast, L&DMS quickly established from 1920 a daily network of bus services across a large part of central and west Wiltshire.
L&DMS was a fascinating early operator, a pioneer in some respects, only touched on to date in published transport histories and this book sets out to remedy that omission, as we turn the clock back 100 years and more, to the dawn of motorised passenger transport in the Wiltshire town of Devizes and the village of Market Lavington. The story is as much about changes in the way of life as it is about the developing bus industry in rural Wiltshire.
Over the last 35 years Laurie James has extensively researched the history, services, people involved and vehicles of many of the smaller independent bus operators of south east England and the West Country. He has produced several books, focusing on areas such as Horsham, Guildford, Cranleigh, Woking and the Surrey Hills. Having also written the history of Somerset bus firms Hutchings & Cornelius and Safeway Services, he now turns his attention to an early bus operator in the Devizes area of Wiltshire. He currently lives in Hersham, Surrey.