King George VI was on the throne, George Orwell’s 1984 had just been published and, in Hampshire, a company called Coliseum Coaches came to life.
Now, 70 years later, the firm is celebrating its birthday and marking the milestone with a celebration at its office in Southampton.
Coliseum Coaches was founded in its current form in October 1949. Brothers Ken, Reg and Lewis Pitter had been running a successful lorry business until the service was nationalised by the government and the company was bought under a compulsory purchase order. The brothers were left with cash in the bank and a great premises but no business to run from it.
They decided to buy a Gosport coach operator, Coliseum, and the rest, as they say is history.
Coliseum operated from Gosport and West End initially but quickly grew under the helm of the Pitter brothers. Among the other coach companies it purchased in those early days were Greyhound Coaches of Woolston, Santoy Coaches of Fair Oak and South Western Motors of Southampton.
In 1963 Ken’s son David came into the business, followed by Kerry in 1974. Over the decades that followed Coliseum was quick to adapt with the rapid change in vehicles and technology. It constantly evolved its fleet, ensuring its ever-growing customer base would only travel in the utmost of comfort and safety.
Coliseum Coaches, now a part of the Lucketts Group, remains focused on quality and innovation. Managing Director Tony Lawman says this has played a big part in the firm’s longevity. “The coach industry has evolved rapidly what’s kept Coliseum Coaches at the forefront all that time is its dedication to quality and innovation.
“Whether it’s upgrading its vehicles, or finding new and exciting day trips, the team is always looking for new ways to keep customers happy and returning year after year.”
Mark Pitter, the grandson of Coliseum founder Ken Pitter, remains involved in the business to this day as part of Lucketts Group and is currently based at sister firm Solent Coaches in Bournemouth.
Mark Hulland, commercial and operations manager said, “We’re so pleased to have hit this significant milestone for the company and look forward to continued success for many decades to come.”
To find out more about Coliseum Coaches, which now has a fleet of more than 16 vehicles, and provides coach hire, day trips and holidays, visit www.coliseumcoaches.co.uk