Now that Arriva is moving out of Mid Cheshire, depots at Winsford and Macclesfield are closing.

Many bus services by the company are being withdrawn across the county. It is perhaps interesting to see what went before and what companies provided transportation for the local people.

Starting in 1861, when using the full name of 'omnibus' was the norm, and horses pulled them.

The day's first service was at 8.20am from the Angel Hotel at Northwich to Hartford station, and there were four services a day timed to meet important trains.

There was an omnibus service from Northwich to Macclesfield every Tuesday and Saturday, leaving Knutsford at 8.35am.

This omnibus was timed to meet the 8.20am train from Northwich to Knutsford. The bus then took over to Macclesfield and returned from there at 3.50pm, timed to meet the Northwich train from Knutsford at 5.40pm.

Northwich Guardian: The old Sandbach omnibusThe old Sandbach omnibus (Image: Paul Hurley)

That is just an example; at that time, the omnibus service was provided by individual proprietors.

We have, in the past, looked at the line that is now the Whitegate Way. After opening, it constantly stopped passenger services due to a lack of support.

On one of these occasions in 1891, John M Fox wrote to the Northwich Guardian to complain; this is his letter.

Writing that he lived in Mid Cheshire and was the medical officer of health for the district, including Winsford and all of the salt towns.

In 1878 he found it easy to travel to Winsford, Northwich and Knutsford by the line that had been closed.

Northwich Guardian: Northwich terminus pre-1924Northwich terminus pre-1924 (Image: Paul Hurley)

Now he had suffered much inconvenience as he had to travel from Winsford to Northwich in the old-fashioned omnibus, which existed 100 years ago!

Fortunately, the 20th century would see an improvement in the omnibus service that poor Mr Fox had to suffer.

In 1899 however, an accident occurred involving a horse-drawn brake. It was carrying the Winsford United football team to Winsford from Northwich.

On the Northwich road at Davenham, two brakes collided (a brake was a name for a four-wheeled horse-drawn wagon).

Northwich Guardian: The Nantwich, Crewe, Sandbach and Middlewich bus circa First World War eraThe Nantwich, Crewe, Sandbach and Middlewich bus circa First World War era (Image: Paul Hurley)

As a result, the horses bolted, and when they reached Wharton Bridge, they collided with and damaged a Winsford to Northwich omnibus.

The horses pulling the brake continued at a fast pace until they collided with another brake carrying the Witton Villa team to Northwich.

Both brakes were utterly wrecked, injuring the passengers and an elderly spectator nearby called William Jackson.

By 1912 motor buses had arrived, taking over from the omnibuses. On June 3, 1913, a man from Delamere Street, Winsford, called John Ollier was driving his motor car in Tarvin.

Another man was driving a horse and cart filled with sand. A motor bus containing 22 passengers approaching Vicars Cross was overtaking the horse and cart.

Northwich Guardian: Very early North Western busVery early North Western bus (Image: Paul Hurley)

At the same time, Ollier, in his car, attempted to overtake the bus, causing it to be pushed into the cart; the cart driver was knocked over and injured.

In the early 1900s, public buses started appearing, powered by steam and petrol/diesel.

Individuals owned them in the main, like the horse-drawn omnibuses before them.

But the company of North Western Road Car Ltd began operating in 1923 when it was formed on the amalgamation of existing bus services.

It was created in Stockport and covered five counties. In 1924 it took over the Mid Cheshire Motor Bus Company Ltd.

Northwich Guardian: A red North Western double-deckerA red North Western double-decker (Image: Paul Hurley)

Most readers of a certain age fondly remember the bus terminus in Chester Way, Northwich.

From there, well-used buses carried passengers all over Cheshire. In the early 1950s, the North Western Road Car Company supplied the transport with single and double-deckers painted in cream and red, then towards the end of the 1950s, the paint scheme changed to one of all-over red.

After that, the company became part of Crosville and continued in red for a short while but then assumed the Crosville colour scheme of green.

Eventually, the multi-national company Arriva took over the Mid Cheshire services.

This massive company was started in 1938 by a motorcycle dealer in Sunderland called T Cowie Ltd.

Northwich Guardian: A Winsford Arriva busA Winsford Arriva bus (Image: Paul Hurley)

It then went global through mergers and acquisitions; by 2018, it employed 61,845 people.

The company is now leaving Mid Cheshire in the hands of other operators.