John Robert Stubbs was a farmer and carrier based at the Arkengarthdale village of Langthwaite. The Stubbs family also kept a grocery store in the middle of the village, and you
may well have seen the shop front even if youve never visited the Dales, because this part of Langthwaite was used in the filming of the James Herriot All Creatures Great
and Small stories, as well as in various other productions.
Up to the beginning of the 1920s, John Robert Stubbslike many other local carrierswas still using a horse and cart, but in May 1921 he took delivery of a Ford Ton
Truck, which was the commercial derivative of the world-famous Model T motor car. This vehicle (supplied by Richmondshire Garages)
carried the registration AJ 6607, and was fitted with what was known in the trade at that time as a convertible body. There was seating for 14 passengers, but
the seats were designed to be readily folded away or removed so as to convert the bus into a van (and vice versa).
John Robert Stubbs and his children Willie (L.), Jake (R.), and Margaret, on the back of the convertible Ford, outside their shop in Langthwaite. Note
the goods on the roof. Photograph: Ella Stubbs collection.
Not every carrier made the transition from horse-drawn to motorized transport, and it appears that for most of the 1920s there must have been motor-buses and carriers carts
passing one another on the Richmond road.
Market Day in Richmond is Saturday, and John Robert Stubbs ran a regular Saturday service from Langthwaite to Richmond as well as taking Arkengarthdale children to school in the
week. Doubtless he undertook various other journeys on a private hire basis, indeed he also kept a Bullnose Morris car for hire.
Vehicle licensing records indicate that the Ford (AJ 6607) was taken off the road in June 1931. It may have been coincidental, but this was around the time when any regular
passenger-carrying service would have had to be approved by the Area Traffic Commissioners under in pursuance of the Road Traffic Act 1930. Since the
Scratcherds of Reeth were now operating a daily service up Arkengarthdale, and given that the process of registering a bus service with the newly-constituted
Traffic Commissioners was just about as tortuous as a modern-day planning application, it could well have seemed to John Robert Stubbs that it would not be worth his while to get tangled
up in all the new bureaucracy. The Ford would have been ten years old by this time, and past its best.
John Roberts son Jake Stubbs started running a hire car of his own after the Second World War, retiring from the road in the mid-1990s, and the Stubbs familys shop in Langthwaite
remained open until April 2000. Jakes wife Ella, who ran the shop for over forty years, in fact came from Gunnerside and had been a conductress on
Percivals buses before she and Jake married.
Return to Home Page