Wade Emmerson c.1890-1969

WADE EMMERSON c.1890-1969


By 1914, the Emmersons were a well-established family in Evenwood.  Wade was a common forename for the first sons and the above Wade was the third generation to be named as such to live in the village.  In Evenwood cemetery there is a family plot commemorated by an obelisk where numerous family members are buried.  To the north of St. Paul’s Church and to the west of the main road passing through Evenwood is located a detached stone built dwelling called “Brookside Cottage”.  It was probably built by Wade Emmerson [1814-1884] around 1868 [WE 1868 is engraved into a lintol]. His son, Wade and grandson Wade [c.1890-1969] lived here and prior to the Great War operated a fledgling bus service.  A small garage was built to the rear of the house.  The Gaunless Valley Motor Service was operated by Emmerson & Rycroft from this garage, probably between 1912 and 1914.

Military Service

Grandson Wade enlisted 6 March 1916 and was posted into the Army Service Corps [ASC] 973 Motor Transport Company [MTCoy.] and then 977 MTCoy.  He was demobilized about April 1919.

Business Development

Wade married Jane Stones in 1924 and their son Wade was born that year.  After the war Emmerson and Howe commenced a bus service and in 1929 the OK Motor Services was established.  Jane died in 1928.  In 1934, Wade married Ellen Lowson the daughter of colliery owner and entrepreneur John Lowson of Hazeldene, Morley who probably assisted with the business.  In 1938, the enterprise was relocated to Bishop Auckland and the North Bondgate premises were developed.  At that time, the OK ran 27 vehicles, employed 90 people, had 1.5M passengers and travelled 750,000 route miles. The business enjoyed significant growth under Wade senior and his son Wade junior [1924-1994].  Wade senior died in 1969.

Wade junior continued to develop the business until his death in 1994.  His son Wade [the 5th known to carry this name] sold the company 22 March 1995 to “GO AHEAD” for £5.35M.  There were 212 vehicles in the fleet and depots at Bishop Auckland, Gateshead, Peterlee, Evenwood & Copley.


“A History of OK Motor Services” D. Holding 2007


Wade Emmerson photo

Wade Emmerson

Evenwood Cemetery The Emmerson Family Plot

Evenwood Cemetery
The Emmerson Family Plot

An OK Motor Services bus at Swan Street, Evenwood

An OK Motor Services bus at Swan Street, Evenwood