For many years J.W. Campbell & Sons Ltd, operating
as Campbell's Motor Services ran a number
of bus routes in pre-new town Basildon. These included services to the Shell Oil Refinery works at
Coryton, Wickford, Hadleigh and local schools services. The family concern were eventually bought
out by the Eastern National Omnibus Co. in February 1956.
They operated from an address at
Station Parade, Pitsea and had their works depot in Station Lane, virtually opposite Railway Approach.
Their small fleet of vehicles was mainly made up of single dekkers but did include two double dekker
buses. These were all transferred to Eastern National at the time of acquisition though few lasted long in service after the transfer before being
withdrawn and eventually scrapped.
The business was founded in 1890 by Herbert or Charles Campbell who opened a coal yard at Pitsea
Station wharf. By 1895 John William Campbell had taken over and the business soon expanded to include
removals and haulage with the company later using the back of their own bus tickets to advertise
The family were originally from Ireland but settled in Pitsea and John, who
in 1898 was living on the station estate at Chestnut Road, was also operating as a carman and would
later drive the company's earliest passenger vehicles. It would be his sons Richard, Jack and Albert that
would keep the family name going when he died in 1932.
For more detailed information on Campbell's Motor Services
there is an Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group publication entitled
'J.W. Campbell & Sons, Ltd. of Pitsea, Essex'. Published in 2002 and compiled
by Alan Osborne, this 28 page book features 9 black and white photographs, history of the company, fleet list and many more interesting facts.
Details on how to obtain a copy of this publication and other Essex bus operators literature
can be found at the Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group website.
denominations for services came in a variety of different colours and started at 1d, with
1½d, 2d, 2½d, 3d, 3½d, 4d, 4½d, 5d, 5½d, 6d, 7d, 8d, 9d, 10d and 1/-
examples all known to exist.
Examples of all of these can be seen in the gallery.
To the right is an example of a 'Bell Punch' Exchange
bus ticket as used by Campbell's Motor Services.
Campbell's also offered a coach and excursion service and this continued
after 1956, finally coming to an end in 1971.
Although the bus operator has long gone, the detached family home called Primrose Villa in Station Lane
(now Pitsea Hall Lane), built in the early 20th century, still survives along with the covered depot in Terminus Drive.
The depot building was later taken
over in the 1960s by A.W. Pryor (Petroleum) Co. Ltd. as a storage facility for the distribution of texaco petroleum products.
Both properties have recently undergone renovation work and are one of the few remaining pre-new town
buildings left in the area.