Carriers

Carriers were vital to village life as they provided the only transport from the villages to the market town of Newport. When she was 87 years old in 1958, Alice Morris remembered the excitement of going to Newport to shop in the carrier’s cart when she was young: Starting at nine in the morning and getting home any old time. Just depending how many times the driver stopped at the local.

Often they were very gay before they reached home. Carriers often ran their own small farm and as transport was needed to take their animals to market, they could earn a little more money by collecting and delivering goods for others as well as taking people into town. If you needed the carrier to call on you, you would ‘put out the flag’, which meant getting their attention by putting a flag on the end of a stick and putting it in the hedge or out of a bedroom window.

We know that the Millmore family of Leigh Cottage at Sudmore, east of Brook Green, were operating a carrier business in the early 1800s. The Millmores were the longest running carriers in the locality. When James Millmore died, his widow Mary carried on the business until the early 1900s. She is documented on the 1911 census as a general carrier with her sons Ruben and Martin Millmore as her assistants. In 1841 three carriers operated from Brook, they were James Raynor, Richard Tickner and Richard Hayter.

In 1852 Richard Hayter appears to be the only carrier, but by 1855 he is joined by Mrs Hannah Tomkins who operated from Brook to The Castle Inn, Newport on a Saturday and Henry Woodford who operated for many years from Brook to The Bee Hive in Newport on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

By 1861 and 1871 William Hayter was the carrier and Roland Hayter (who was also coxswain of Brooke Lifeboat) continued running the business until the early 1900s when horse and cart were replaced by motor transport. Edward Whitewood recalls when he was young in the 1940s: Tuesday was a big day - it was market day in Newport so if anything was needed it was the day the carrier came. To get the carrier to call required a flag to be flown. This was a red and yellow diagonal cross and was poked out of the bedroom window. I felt very important to be allowed to go up and hang out the flag.

Until 1956 when Southern Vectis took over, Shotters ran the bus service. Audrey Rann remembers:  There were no bus stops in those days (1940s). If you wanted the bus, you stood in the road and put out your hand.