The Bus Up the Dale

Dick Guy

—to be featured in Chapter II of The Bus Up the Dale.

[This item is still incomplete as at February 2010, but meanwhile, here is a “quickie” to be going on with... ]

The Guys of Muker were well known as Swaledale hauliers until they decided to close down their family firm in 1981. It is thought that this haulage operation was begun by Tommy Guy of Hill Top, above Satron, and continued by his son Dick.

Left to Right:
George William Harker of Ravens Park, Tommy Guy of Hill Top, Lodge Percival of Gunnerside
—1910 photograph courtesy of Joan Percival.

Family tradition has it that Dick Guy ran a motor charabanc at some point, with removable seats (or at any rate with seats which were removed) so that it could also be used for the carriage of goods. We are indebted to transport historian Geoff Lumb for details of a 1916 Seabrook with 20 passenger seats and a gross weight of 2ton 4cwt, operated by a Mr Guy of Muker in 1921. Dick Guy specialized in the transportation of livestock, but he also dealt in flour and meal, and the Seabrook was probably used for the cartage of these commodities when not in passenger-carrying service.

It will be noted that Lodge Percival and Sons of Gunnerside began using a (somewhat smaller) Ford for similar purposes in the Summer of 1921.

By the mid-1920s, the Scratcherds of Reeth and the Percivals of Gunnerside would have left little room on the road for any other Swaledale motor-bus operator. We may suppose that Dick Guy’s Seabrook, when it had its seats in, was used for casual private hire work and perhaps a Market Day run to Richmond; but there must have come a point when he decided to leave the seats out permanently and concentrate on the carriage of goods.

Gordon Anyan collection.

For many years there were two Dick Guys at Muker, “Dick at t’Front” and “Dick at t’Back”, the one being a cousin of the other. We can confirm that the Dick Guy referred to here was Dick at t’Front.

Dick Guy’s nephew Norman Guy, latterly a partner in the family firm, was himself subsequently a local bus driver for nearly 25 years, bringing schoolchildren from Upper Swaledale down to Richmond in a minibus owned and run by the County Council.

Meanwhile the Guys of Muker are deservedly best known for their long association with Muker Silver Band, indeed Tommy Guy of Hill Top was on the committee which decided to form the band in 1897 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

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