At the time of his father's death at the beginning of 1900 Herbert Bayliss was not happy. It wasn't only the loss of his parent that was responsible for his condition. He was working as a house painter and hated it. His eldest brother, Albert Charles (Charlie) had married in 1892 and moved to his wife's home at 6 Anatola Road and furthermore had taken a job as a Postman to secure a regular wage, leaving young Bert in the over protective care of his other brothers and sisters. As well as working as a house painter with his brothers Bert took a part-time job as a groom with a firm called Beavis in Boothby Road, Upper Holloway. Beavis was in the coach-hire business and also operated "pirate" omnibus services - horse drawn buses which competed with the bigger transport companies on Holloway Road. It was Bert's job to groom and harness the horses. He also took the opportunity to learn to ride and drive coaches.
On 9 October 1899 Great Britain went to war with the Boers of South Africa. There were really two Boer Wars. The first, 1880-81, began after Disraeli annexed the South African Boer Republics - Transvaal and the Orange Free State in 1877. After making repeated attempts to repeal annexation, the Boers - descendants of Dutch settlers - under Kruger revolted and secured limited self goverment. After gold and diamonds were discovered in Transvaal tensions between the Boers and the British "ultlanders", aggravated by guerrilla raids and the repressive policies of the British governor of The Cape, became more intense. After the Boers attacked Cape Colony and Natal in 1899 the second war, which lasted until 1902 and would cost the lives of 20,000 British soldiers, was underway. British forces at Mafeking, Ladysmith and Kimberly were surrounded and besieged until relieved by forces under General Lord Roberts.
|Seventeen year old Herbert Bayliss|
|British troops on board ship bound for Cape Town|
Bert returned to England in 1902 and went back to work for Beavis, this time as a driver working on the horse-drawn buses on Holloway Road. According to his daughter Ethel (my mother) his bus was drawn by two ex-fire service horses that used to accelerate to a gallop whenever they heard a bell.
|The old Archway Tavern showing some of the|
horse drawn buses that plied Holloway Road
|British troops at the siege of Ladysmith.|