Blue Buses

Welcome to the Repton Village History Group.

Here you will find a description of the RVHG, including a brief outline of the activities of the group and details of many of the interesting historical facts associated with this ancient community.

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The Blue Buses

The Blue Bus service was started in 1922 and over the next 51 years became a familiar sight in the villages between Derby and Burton.  Today it is still fondly remembered for the quality of the service it provided and the friendliness of its staff.

The buses were kept in Repton, but when a second route via Etwall was opened, the company moved its garage to Willington, where it remained. The operation expanded from model T Fords to a fleet of about 11 including Daimlers by the 1930’s. Daimlers were to remain a feature of the company over the rest of its life.

A splendid line-up of coaches and buses outside Repton School

During the 1950s double decker Dennis buses carrying up to 70 people were being operated.  Around this time a new bigger garage was built opposite the old premises on Repton Road, Willington.  At its peak the company had 23 buses and coaches.  

A treasured line-up of the service fleet as it was in 1968

The company ceased to be privately owned in December of 1973 when it was sold to the Derby Corporation.  Under their ownership the Willington garage was where the private hire fleet was based, with the regular service buses operating from the depot on Ascot Drive, Derby.  The story of the blue Bus Company ended in 1976 when a fire destroyed the Willington garage and 19 vehicles.  However the rotes pioneered by the service are still with us, run by Trent Buses.

If you are interested in finding out more about The Blue Buses there is information on the Willington Village Website.  In addition an excellent pamphlet has been recently published and is for sale in local post offices along the former route, or contact the Repton Village History Group directly.  In 1985 David Stanier wrote a book, ‘Blue Bus Services’ which gives further detail and provided pictures for this short article.


Rosalind Hudson recently left Repton in 2005 to move South at the age of 90 years. She has now written these reminiscences of the early days of the Blue Bus Services. 

I was born in 1915 and remember when I was quite small, before we had a car, Father and Mother used to take me to Burton shopping on a Saturday afternoon. If the seats with the driver were not taken, Father and I used to sit in the front. The two long seats were up each side of the bus and the passengers faced each other. 

There was always a conductress on the bus who collected our fares and then stood on the steps to open the doors at the next stop. I think ours was called Jean. 

As a great treat Father would buy me a large bag of sweets or chocolates. I was not allowed to eat one until we were on the bus and until I had offered one to the conductress. 

I also remember later, Mrs Tailby and all the hard work she did for the Blue Buses. She used to get on the Derby bus at the Willington depot and travel as far as Findern where she would change buses and travel to Burton. At Burton she would travel on the Burton to Derby bus via Etwall to Derby and then would return to the depot and deal with the shifts and the rest of the office work. I don’t really know why she travelled like this. We always thought it was to see her employees were smartly dressed and polite.”