Somerset County Herald 15 Jan 1944 Pioneer of Road Coaches Death of Edwin SMITH of 92 St Augustine Street Taunton inc HEWLETT NORTHCOTT CROKER EDDY BLAKE GADFIELD

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Somerset County Herald and Taunton Courier. Saturday 15 Jan 1944

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A man who rendered great service to Taunton and district as a pioneer of public service vehicles and chars-a-banc passed away on Thursday, January 6th, in the person of Mr. Edwin SMITH, of 92, St. Augustine-street, Taunton. He was 79 years of age, and had enjoyed good health up to within the last few months.

A native of Henlade, Mr. SMITH was the third son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry SMITH. A coachbuilder and wheelwright by trade, in his younger days he was employed by Messrs. Stanfield & White, coachbuilders, of Exeter, before coming to Taunton to start business on his own account. He first started as a coachbuilder and wheelwright at Shoreditch, and later took over the coachbuilding business from Messrs. WHATLEY, in Haydon-road, Taunton, in 1905.


Mr. SMITH built all kinds of horse-drawn vehicles, and in 1913 constructed the first motor vehicle, which he ran for public service. At the close of the last war he again catered for the public. He designed and built several chars-a-banc, which will be remembered throughout the West of England. Later they were named the “Rambler” coaches, and became remarkably popular. For a long time they were engaged in the running of regular trips to all the seaside resorts in the West. For many years during the summer months the “Rambler” coaches ran a daily service to Weymouth.

In 1934 Mr. SMITH sold his public service vehicles and licenses to the Western National Omnibus Company and retired from business.

He was well known and a very popular figure in Taunton and throughout Somerset. He was a keen sportsman, and particularly fond of a day's shooting until about 20 years ago he lost the sight of his right eye, and narrowly escaped with his life, as the result of a gun accident. He was a keen whist player and a regular supporter of local whist drives.

He leaves a wife, a son, Mr. Leonard E. SMITH, the well-known funeral furnisher, of Haydon-road, Taunton, and four daughters.


The funeral on Monday afternoon at Ruishton was conducted by the Rector (the Rev. J. G. HETHERINGTON). Miss W. SWEETING was at the organ, and played Mendelssohn's “O rest in the Lord” as the mourners were assembling, and Chopin's “Funeral March” at the close of the service. The hymns sung were “Out Blest Redeemer” and “Abide with me.”


The principal mourners were Mrs. E. SMITH (wife), Mrs. H. J. HEWLETT, Wiveliscombe, Mrs. R. NORTHCOTT, and Mrs. R. C. CROKER (daughters), Mr. D. EDDY (grandson), Mrs. A. BLAKE, Exeter (sister), Mrs. L. E. SMITH (daughter-in-law), Messrs. W. J. EDDY, H. J. HEWLETT, and R. C. CROKER (sons-in-law), Lieut. A. F. GADFIELD, R.A., and Mrs. GADFIELD (step-daughter), Mrs. R. BISHOP, Creech St. Michael, Mr. and Mrs. H. GREADY, Henlade, Mr. and Mrs. R. GREADY, Henlade, and Mr. R. HOUSE, Exeter (nephews and nieces), Mrs. S. ELLIS, North Tawton, Devon (cousin). Mrs. D. MORRIS, Burry Port, South Wales, Mrs. S. JAMES, Lougher, South Wales (sisters-in-law), and Mr. and Mrs. L. VOYSEY (friends).

Mr. Leonard E. SMITH (son), Mrs. W. J. EDDY (daughter), Mrs. R. WITHERS, Mrs.W. HOUSE (sisters), and Mr. and Mrs. S. DOBLE (nephew and niece) were unable to attend owing to illness. The Misses K. M. and J. A. SMITH (grand-daughters) were absent through hospital duty at Bristol, while Lieut. H. E. SMITH, R.A. (grandson), is on active service in North Africa.

Friends at the church included Mr. George APLIN, Mrs. R. BENNETT, Mrs. Charles FUDGE, Mr. W. COZENS (Haydon Farm), Miss COZENS, Mr. E. R. NEWTON (who also represented Mrs. NEWTON) and Mr. Francis NORTHCOTT.


Floral tributes were sent by the following:- In loving memory of my dear husband, “Peace, perfect peace”; With love to dear Dad and Grand-dad, from all his Children and Grand-children; With all our love to “Pops,” Gaddy, Muriel, and the Children; Pat and family; Sister CARR and family; Harry and Kate; Rose and family, Creech; Alice, Curry Rivel; Bertha; Lily's three Sisters; The two Gleny's and their Husbands; Mr. and Mrs. CROKER; Percy and Ivy GARLAND; Mr. and Mrs. COATES; All at No. 29, East Reach; Neighbours and Friends (vase and flowers).

Mrs. E. SMITH and family wish to thank their friends for the many kind messages of sympathy, and also for the beautiful flowers received in their recent bereavement.

The firm of Leonard E. SMITH, Haydon-road, Taunton, had charge of the funeral arrangements.

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<NOTES: Edwin SMITH son of Henry SMITH and Caroline HILL, married Adelia Mary FROST and Lily Elizabeth VOYSEY>