Lasting legacy to Yelloway coach firm to be unveiled in Rochdale

The fomer Yelloway coach station

To generations of Rochdalians Yelloway Motor Services is synonymous with day trips, seaside excursions and summer holidays in comfortable and reliable coaches. 

For decades the iconic travel company ran a thriving coach business from its town centre base in Weir Street, where Rochdale Borough Council’s Number One Riverside Building and central library now stand. 

The council is ensuring the famous name lives on in the town by unveiling a specially-designed plaque in the location where the bustling operation ran its popular services. A number of former Yelloway employees will be in attendance at the unveiling.

The historic company grew from humble beginnings in 1915 to become one of the biggest independent coach operators in the British Isles. At its peak, it was running dozens of packed holiday excursions and daily services from Rochdale to seaside resorts including Torquay, Clacton on Sea and Blackpool and tourist attractions throughout the UK. 

In its 1960s heyday the company bought a number of local transport operators including Holts & Sons of Whitworth, Johnston Bros (Middleton) and Kershaws Luxury Tours, Merriway tours, Makinsons and North Manchester Coaches. 

As times changed and bigger coach companies arrived on the scene, Yelloway began to lose custom and sadly on 24 November 1988 the name disappeared from the local map. 

There was to be a happy ending as in 2008 Oldham company Courtesy Coaches Caders snapped up the famous name and brand to be used on 15 of its coaches. 

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member with responsibility for culture, said: “The Yelloway name is an iconic part of local history and, to this day, people recall the company with fondness. Yelloway had a national reputation for providing high quality travel. Without their excellent services many people would have struggled to go on holiday. The plaque unveiling commemorates a key part of our local heritage, bringing back fond memories for thousands of local people.” 

Local resident and Yelloway enthusiast Paul Blackburn said: “I have many happy memories of travelling from the Weir Street depot in Rochdale to destinations such as Blackpool, Southport and Fleetwood for family holidays with my parents. After the name disappeared it was great to see it revitalised and the plaque is a wonderful response by Rochdale Borough Council to our suggestion at last year’s centenary celebrations.” 

Further information 

The plaque will be unveiled at Number One Riverside on Saturday 26 November 1pm by the Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Ray Dutton and Joy Parker (nee Allen), the daughter of Yelloway’s last Managing Director, Hubert Allen,. The ceremony will be at the building’s main entrance. Everyone welcome. 

22 Nov 2016