Essex

High Easter coach firm used in The Crown celebrates 100 years

Nicholas Lyndhurst on the set of Rock and Chips standing in front of a bus Image copyright Lodge Coaches
Image caption Nicholas Lyndhurst on the set of Only Fools and Horses prequel Rock and Chips

A coach company has marked its hundredth year with an appearance in royal television drama The Crown.

Lodge Coaches was founded in High Easter, Essex, in 1920 by Joseph Walter Lodge after he bought a Model T Truck Ford for "seven and six-pence" and began running trips to Chelmsford.

The business is now run by the third generation of the family and makes trips across Europe.

Its vintage collection has featured in films and television programmes.

Robert Lodge, who runs the business alongside his brother Andrew Lodge and cousin Christopher Lodge, said while the film work was not particularly lucrative it did provide a boost for the business.

He said: "We have had quite a few vehicles featured in television and film. We have been involved in things like the Only Fools and Horses prequel Rock and Chips, we provided a 1950s vehicle for that.

"We have a coach in the latest episode of The Crown and are in a feature film about to come out starring Keira Knightley called Misbehaviour."

Image copyright Lodge Coaches
Image caption The Model T Ford in the collection is in the style of the original Lodge's vehicles

In the latest series of Netflix show The Crown, which stars Olivia Coleman as the Queen, a vintage coach can be seen delivering an Olympic team to Buckingham Palace.

The company was started after Mr Lodge's grandfather returned from serving in various regiments of the army, including the Royal Horse Artillery where he learnt about early motor vehicles.

Image copyright Lodge Coaches
Image caption The company is celebrating 100 years in business

"He bought an old Model T and for seven and six pence which he borrowed from his mother, he started a bus service from High Easter to Chelmsford which we still run today," said Mr Lodge.

By comparison the latest vehicle in the Lodge fleet cost the best part of £250,000, Mr Lodge said.

Image copyright Lodge Coaches
Image caption Lodge Coaches is in the third generation of the family

To mark Lodge Coaches' anniversary the firm was visited by the Duke of Kent, among other dignitaries, on Tuesday.

Image copyright Lodge Coaches
Image caption Robert Lodge said the vintage vehicles were mostly used for weddings, proms and other social occassions

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