A Mayne & Sons Ltd became involved with transport well before the First World War when Arthur Mayne senior delivered furniture by horse and cart from his shop in the Bradford area of Manchester. The Maynes also had a general store.
In time, Arthur junior became apprenticed to his upholsterer father, but, when war broke out in 1914 he joined the Medical Corp. After a bout of pneumonia, he was invalided at home.
He abandoned the furniture business as the toxins it used would have further damaged his lungs. Instead the family bought a model T van in 1920 in which Arthur junior made deliveries. Arthur's war service had introduced him to the Associated Equipment Company. After the war the sturdy lorries it had produced were adapted for civilian use. In 1923 Arthur bought one. He used the lorry base with a Charabanc body to run weekend excursions to the coast and to Buxton.
For a while his motor coaching work was seasonal whilst haulage work for local industries kept him busy all the year. When the coaching work began to include trips to football matches and race meetings, business improved to the point where the haulage work was given up. In 1925 the first purpose built coach was purchased.
For some time, Arthur continually came into confrontation with the Manchester Corporation over licensing. nevertheless he persevered, buying his first brand new bus in 1929. In 1930 an arrangement was reached in which he was allowed to pick up any passengers who were travelling beyond the city boundary. As the other private bus companies began to disappear Mayne's Pioneer service expanded. The first Regents were bought and the coaching side of the business expanded.
With a growing fleet of double-deckers, a change of premises was needed. Whilst a search was being made, a section of the roof of the old building had its roof raised to accommodate them. Eventually a move was made to Ashton New Road in Clayton in 1939. Trams ceased to travel along that road. In the next few years the Corporation Transport Department made strenuous efforts to take over Maynes' business.
The outbreak of war in 1939 brought Maynes' summer season to an abrupt halt and the holiday services were terminated. Three coaches were commandeered for the war effort. Too old for military service, Arthur Mayne became a Special Constable. Fuel was short and there were few qualified men still available for vehicle maintenance. With the blackout imposed, buses had to be painted with white stripes but night driving was still dangerous.
After the war years the company did it's best to put everything right and business flourished in a quiet way. The increasing costs of labour, vehicles, spares and fuel were absorbed in the post-war boom until the end of the forties. This tailed off however and passenger numbers fell off in the fifties owing to the increase in personal transport.
The company's first underfloor-engined coaches arrived in 1954, fitted with pre-selective gearboxes and air pressure brakes.
In 1953 Mayne's had taken over the Droylsden Excursion and Tours license from Shipley's of Ashton-under-Lyne. They began looking to extend the catchment area of its tours programme. Four years later the business of F H dean of Newton Heath was acquired, followed by further take-overs. Mayne's coach fleet now comprised seventeen vehicles.
A new general manager took over Manchester Corporation's Transport Department in 1965. His first proposal was to replace all the trolley buses. As the only other licensed operator of a stopping bus service on Ashton New Road, Mayne's objected.
A compromise was reached and things ticked over until the Labour Party, very committed to an integrated transport system, appointed the Rt. Hon Mrs Barbara Castle as Minister for Transport. Another, and then further attempts were made to acquire A Mayne & Son Ltd. The family held together and politely declined each offer. Following the death of his mother in 1957, Arthur's wife Olive had taken on the role of company secretary and the couple's son Stephen joined the board in 1971.
Stephen Mayne was determined to keep the family from selling to SELNEC and though his manoeuvring, even when Manchester City Transport was acquired by SELNEC PTE, Maynes continued to be protected by the agreement they had made with Manchester Corporation.
When, under government reorganisation, GMT was born in 1974, Maynes still quietly went about its business, now nearly fifty years old and on their third generation of AEC Regent buses.
The late seventies and eighties brought rear-engines buses. The Roe-bodied Fleetline that Maynes acquired cost £25,000 each. Unlike GMT, the company used multi-coloured destination blinds throughout the eighties, changing to yellow letters on a black background for the 213 and white on blue for the 209 route. As operating costs continued to escalate the company reluctantly gave up its strong belief in the crew operated bus and experimented with a one-man-operated low fares scheme.
The Transport Act of 1980 began the process of deregulation with the abolition of the need for licenses on long-distance coach services. Deregulation finally dawned in October 1986. Maynes had 'tested the water' during the semi-deregulated period and fared better for it.
In 1982, Barry Cooper Coaches of Warrington was acquired by the Mayne family, forming a new limited liability company - Barry Cooper Coaches Ltd. The sale had included a fleet of 20 coaches along with the licences, contracts, associated goodwill and the operating centre at Grappenhall Road, The shareholders of the new company were members of the Mayne family, but Barry Cooper Coaches was not a subsidiary of A. Mayne & Son Ltd.
There were gains to be made, however, through using Mayne's established reputation as a prestigious coach operator, and to take advantage of this, the trading name The Mayne Group was introduced alongside the company's local identity.
Further gains were made through the adoption of Mayne's red and cream livery which not only replaced that of Coopers uninspiring white and black colour scheme, but enabled greater flexibility in fleet management and the ability to interchange vehicles between the two fleets if required.
The Barry Cooper fleet consisted of seventeen Leyland Leopards (two of which were early L2 Models) and three Volvo B-58's. After a full evaluation it was decided that five of the Leopards and all three Volvos would be retired over the course of the next two seasons and Maynes' order for new Leyland Tigers was increased to accommodate the needs of the new associate company.
The last new vehicle delivered to Coopers had been a Plaxton Supreme-bodied Leyland Leopard delivered in March 1981. This had been registered ODJ 417W and, in line with Maynes' then policy of registering new coaches with invisible fleet numbers, the five Tigers and one Bedford delivered in 1983/4 would contain the numbers 418-23 in their registrations.
In 1998, Barry Cooper Coaches Ltd was renamed Mayne Coaches Limited to further broaden the Mayne image. It also moved to it's current location in Marsh House Lane, Warrington in 2006.
Most passengers who travel the Mayne way will have given little thought to what goes on behind the scenes to ensure their bus turns up when they expect it. To the casual obersever, Mayne's garage is just a big shed in which the company keeps it's buses. However, a properly run garage, staffed with expertly trained personnel is essential to the company's efficient and reliable operation.
A staff of around 120 is currently employed by the company, including 93 drivers, nine engineers, five cleaners and 12 administrative and operational staff. There are currently 94 vehicles in the fleet, 56 at Manchester and 38 at Warrington.
Since 1989 the coach division in Manchester has had it's own garage in Fairclough Street, Clayton. The coaches are parked in a large yard adjacent to Manchester's Velodrome Cycling Stadium and the Commonwealth Games site. Modern offices house the coach operations and also deal with the payroll for A Mayne and son and their associate company Mayne Coaches Ltd in Warrington.
One of Mayne's more high profile charters was when Prince Charles and a party of local dignitaries used a Mayne Bova Futura to tour the region. The driving on this occasion was entrusted to the Royal Protection Squad. This was purely for reasons of security and not in any way a reflection on Mayne's drivers capabilities!
One cannot help wondering what Arthur Mayne would have made of it all now.