In April last year two demonstration motor buses ran for a week at Tunbridge Wells in connection with the motor show in that town. Then, in the same month, a twice a day service was introduced between Canterbury and Herne Bay with a Daimler waggonette and, later in the year, two buses were laid on to take spectators to the St Lawrence cricket ground at Canterbury.
Today motor buses can be seen regularly in East Kent. .The Dover and East Kent Omnibus Company runs a steambus service to St Margaret's-at-Cliffe, Folkestone Motors Ltd operates a service to Hythe via Cheriton using a Coventry waggonette and J.W.Cann is planning a timetable of services between Hythe and Folkestone. More will follow. In five or six years time every town in Kent may have its own motor bus. Meanwhile the horse plods on but for how long we wonder.
Despite the advent of self-propelled carriages or motor buses which are gradually being introduced on certain routes in Kent, the reliable horse bus is still providing a regular and efficient long and short distance service throughout the county.
They operate one or two journeys a day along the main routes in the county and are particularly popular on market days and between towns without a direct railway link.
The country services certainly retain a stage-coach image and the owners are taking little notice of the mechanical competition. But, as this new century dawns, there is no doubt that the era of the motor bus has arrived.
|January: John Lubbock of High Elms, Downe is among those ennobled by the Queen in her New Year's honours list ?and no award has been more popular. In 1871 Lubbock, then a Liberal MP for Maidstone, introduced an act which provided the public with four ext ra holidays; Boxing Day, Easter Monday, Whit Monday and the first Monday in August. The August Bank Holiday is now known throughout lent as St Lubbock's Day.|
|Margate councillors have accused their dashing fire brigade of "showing off The criticism follows an accident when the engine, on its way to a fire, was involved in a crash with the carriage of the local doctor. The council have had to find £50 for damages.|
|Chatham Town Hall opens to great acclaim. The typhoid outbreak in Kent has reached epidemic proportions and hospitals are having diffculty in coping with the great demand for beds.|
|February: Units from The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment sail to South Africa as the Boer War intensifies. They are followed by the 36th (West Kent) Squadron Yeoman. Each soldier is providing his own horse, uniform and arms and has paid his own fare to South Africa.|
|Tonbridge Urban Council has bought the Norman castle at Tonbridge , from the trustees of Emma Lady Stafford and movcd their staff into the new quarters. The cost was £10,000. The first meeting was held on March 7th and the 14 acres of grounds were formally opened by Lord Stanhope of Chevening, Lord Lieutenant of Kent.|
|March: Headley Brothers of Ashford has become only the third firm of printers in Europe to install a Monotype printing press.|
|Beckenham has joined the age of electricity. The power station at Arthur Road uses water from a nearby stream and domestic rubbish as part of the fuel.|
|April: The RotherValley Railway has opened between Tenterden and Robertsbridge. Work is still in progress on the Headcom extensions|
|Navy House, Chatham has opened for the sailors of the port.|
|May 15th: The Theatre Royal, Chatham is completely destroyed by fire despite the hurried arrival of military and civic fire fighters.|
|June: Welcome to Kent. The urban district of Penge has transferred from Surrey to Kent.|
|Summer 1900: The friendship of actress Lillie Langtry and Edward Prince of Wales is causing much critical gossip throughout the country.|
|St John's Recreation ground has opened and a new bandstand has been erected on the Pantiles, both at Tunbridge Wells.|
|During the summer the Prince of Wales has been a guest player at the recently?opened St George's golf club, Sandwich ,laid out by Dr Laidlaw Purves a distinguished surgeon from Guy's Hospital. A few years ago Purves, decided that the marshes between Sandwich and the sea were the perfect place for new links. Now his dream has become a reality.|
|July: The name of Halstead railway station, near Sevenoaks, has been changed to `Knockholt' to avoid confusion with Halstead, Essex. Dover Grammar School for boys is founded.|
|July 22nd: The second Olympic Games of the modern era closed in Paris today. Britain gained four gold medals all of which were won by middle distance runners. The United States topped the medal winners with 16 golds.|
|August 1900: The first weekly long-distance bus service begins; the journey between London and Leeds takes two days.|
|An isolation hospital is built in Beaver, Ashford for £400.|
|Anew drink from America, Coca Cola, is on sale in Kent for the first time.|
|In his first full season for Kent, Colin Blythe, the county's new leftarm bowler, has captured 114 wickets and helped Kent secure third place in the championship.|
|Erith Yacht Club is formed. The club hopes to attract hundreds of members.|
|October 25th: Prince Ernest Albert, Duke of Kent dies.|
|November: Oscar Wilde, once renowned for his wit and humour and later convicted of homosexual offences, has died in Paris, aged 44. In] 895 Wilde was sentenced to two years' imprisonment with hard labour and his experiences led to the anonymous publication of "The Ballad of Reading Gaol". In reporting his death the Kent newspapers have explained that he has been living in Paris since his release under the name of Sebastian Melmoth and his ballad written under the pseudonym C33, his prison number. Because of the "terrible disgrace" no theatre company in the county has performed any of his stage plays and are unlikely to do so ever again. Wilde died in poverty, dependent on the charity of his friends.|
|December: The Theatre Royal, Chatham is re-opened with seating for 3,000.|