A family-run coach company in Essex is celebrating its 100th birthday.

Lodge Coaches was founded by Joseph Lodge in 1920 when he returned home to High Easter, a village near Chelmsford, following the First World War.

Joseph had served in the Essex Yeomanry and the Royal Horse Artillery, and it was whilst working in the cavalry he learned how to maintain and drive vehicles.

Borrowing seven and sixpence from his mother, he went to an auction and returned with a former army ambulance, a 1920 Ford TT.

A Ford TT, like this one, was the Lodge Coaches' first coach. Credit: ITV News Anglia

This was to be Lodge Coaches' first coach, which would go on to transform transport in High Easter and the surrounding villages.

For the first time, villagers could travel to Chelmsford on something other than horse and cart.

Joseph’s shed became a meeting point for people mesmerised by the new motor technology.

"The High Easter my grandad grew up in was very rural village. It was village shops, three pubs, a beer house - everything you wanted within the village. You didn't really need to go out of the parish, and people didn't until motorised transport came along," Roger Lodge, Director of Lodge Coaches told ITV News Anglia.

"So it was opening up doors to people to go to places. I can remember stories of people in the village that had never seen the sea. Albeit it was a trip to Southend-on-Sea, which is the Thames Estuary, but to them it was the first glimpse of sea."

The company is still going strong to this day. Credit: ITV News Anglia

From this point came the first six-seater coach which carried everyone and everything - including chickens.

In the 1960s Joseph died and the company was taken over by his wife Ede and their twin sons Terry and Tony Lodge.

In the late 80s they then handed the business over to their children, and Robert and his brother and cousin still run the 40-strong fleet today.

Most of its employees live in and around High Easter and the village is integral to the company’s identity.

The high spec coaches now travel all over Europe, but Lodge Coaches still operates that same local route through the North Essex countryside to Chelmsford that Joseph Lodge first drove 100 years ago.

Lodge Coaches have featured in The Crown. Credit: Netflix/The Crown

From High Easter to Hollywood, the company is also making a name for itself in the film and TV industry.

It has accumulated and restored a coach from each century the business has been operating.

Naming each after a family member, its vintage coaches have appeared in the Netflix series ‘The Crown’, as well as TV adverts, and they're even set for a cameo in the new Keira Knightly film ‘Misbehavior’ which will be released later this year.

Many local people have memories of day trips on Lodge Coaches but as well as celebrating the nostalgia of the past, the company is looking to the future.

Although the technology has changed, from wooden seats to air conditioning, the passion of the family to keep going has stayed the same.

With a fourth generation keen to take on Lodge Coaches, there may be many more big anniversaries to come.