West Bridgford Urban District Council
East Lancs H44/31F
Not many Urban District Council’s had there own bus concern but West Bridgford which is on the outskirts of Nottingham was one of them. The council started the bus service to connect to the Nottingham tram system which did not get as far as West Bridgford in 1913. It is a shame how it all ended for West Bridgford Urban District Council but they had to save money because of a drop off in passengers and tried to introduce one man operation with three AEC Swifts. Unfortunately the union would not go along with it so they decided to cut there losses and sell to Nottingham Corporation in 1968.
There is a very interesting historic article regarding West Bridgford Urban District Council transport here on the website of Peter Gould.
Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.
Just browsing the internet and I find a great piece of nostalgia. I lived in Nottingham in the 50s/60s and I definitely would have travelled on this bus many times.
The photo is taken at the old Broad Marsh bus station, which at that time was situated on an area of flattened land following the demolition of old Victorian back-to-back terraced houses. Note the red of several old Barton buses/coaches in the background. They shared the bus station, along with South Notts and Nottingham Corporation Transport.
The bus shows route number 68 to Clifton (where I lived) via Trent Bridge, which was a joint operation with South Notts and Nottingham Corporation Transport.
This takes me back to when I was a young lad about 14 West Bridgford Urban District Council ran a free service from Clifton to the supermarket advertised on the side of the above bus "Gem" which is where Asda is now.
I used to travel a lot to Gem on this service with my mum, and I used to use the service some times as a way of getting into town for free.
Great images of a much lamented and long departed fleet. Just one small, probably nit-picking, comment – West Bridgford has no "e" in it.
Looking at the photo again, I definitely travelled on that bus many times as a kid because I’ve noticed something on it which used to intrigue me even then. Look at the entrance area; there is a metal pole in the middle running full height. I always assumed that was added at a later stage, to deal with some distorting or bodywork rigidity problem.
Or was it always designed to be there?
This looks like a very modern bus, most of the fleet were very old, we called them "Wessers" I lived in Clifton 1953 – 68 and often caught one of the wrecks into Nottingham. When you waited at one of the stops in Clifton, everyone groaned when one of these dinosaurs turned up! Because they had to use the Wilford route they were very low, to get under the railway bridge, and the upstairs was ok if you were a midget! the gangway was sunken into the floor at one side and the seats were "fourers".
I also took this bus between Clifton and Nottingham and to Gem Supermarket many times. I agree with what Stew Wisher says – I’d forgotten about little details – for example how people would groan when they saw an old bus coming going by the long route via Wilford Lane. By the way – I remember Stew Wisher from Fairham! I lived in Clifton on Bainton Grove between 1953 and 1976. I have now been living in Rabat, Morocco for many years – you should see the buses here!
Until Clifton Bridge over thee Trent opened (in 1958 I think) all Clifton services ran via Wilford Lane, as Stewart and James will remember. It was a tri-partite joint service with Nottingham City Transport, South Notts and WBUDC, so all were running lowbridge buses. When the estate was first built about 1950 NCT (who until that time had no lowbridge buses and only a very small fleet of single deckers) bought a few second hand Utilities from somewhere "up north" as a stop-gap. About 1953 they bought 10 new AEC Regent IIIs with Park Royal lowbridge bodies (SAU 199-208). Later when the new bridge was opened, the NCT share of the routes was diverted that way with full height double deckers from the brand new fleet of Leyland PD2/40s (1 ATO-45 ATO). Interestingly, for many years afterwards the route numbers remained common to all three operators (61, 61A, 66, 67 and 68) even though the NCT share took a different route to the city.
07/03/11 – 09:27
The AEC Renown photo flummoxed me because I lived on Eltham Road in West Bridgford from 1947 until after the demise of WBUDC buses in 1968, and this was near to the entrance to the depot, so I saw dozens of their buses every day on their way in and out. I cannot remember EVER seeing such a bus! I was very familiar with the fleet, including the low roof jobs used on the Wilford Lane route to Clifton. In addition my mother was a clippie during the war years, and my uncle Bill Whitten was a driver throughout the 50′s and early 60′s. I just cannot reconcile the photo with my memories. I rode probably thousands of times on the 14 and 21 routes too, and again the photo means nothing. Quite a mystery, and I wonder if it was a one-off purchase that was not retained….
08/03/11 – 06:11
Peter Gould’s site, referred to above, has a fleet list as well as a historical article. There were two Renowns, 41 and 42 purchased 4/65. They passed with the rest of the fleet to Nottingham 9/68, where they were renumbered 393 and 394.
05/06/11 – 14:30
The West Bridgford fleet was a good fleet even the oldest members being well looked after .when NCT took over the buses, the ones that were kept ran well and used all over the system I know because I worked in WBUDC workshops I started as a tyre fitter at WBUDC in 1959 then driving for NCT then back to Bridgford in 1967 as a tyre fitter till take over to NCT 1968
05/12/11 – 06:26
As a lad growing up in WB in the early to late 1940s I remember all the old WBUDC buses. They seemed to have only one, two or three of each type. I don’t know the technical details but some registration numbers come back to me such as ARR 831 and 832, FNN 101-3, and there were two even older buses usually kept at the back of the Depot on Abbey Road which were included in NCT’s stock after the takeover. One of them is illustrated in John Banks/GHF Atkins books on Nottingham City Transport which are full of nostalgia. I think that at some stage I must have travelled on every WBUDC route apart from perhaps the No.12 (Seymour Road). Does anybody know if any WBUDC buses were saved?
08/12/11 – 06:41
The only preserved ex-West Bridgford vehicle I’m aware of is no.24, CCX 777, the ex-Huddersfield Daimler CWA6. But despite having spent longer with West Bridgford than it did with Huddersfield, it has never carried West Bridgford livery in preservation.
08/12/11 – 15:35
I don’t know if it still exists, but certainly up to 1995 WBUDC 21 (ORR 140) was preserved. This was one of the lowbridge manual gearbox AEC Regent IIIs with Willowbrook body, bought by the UDC in 1954. Does anyone know of its whereabouts (or fate)?
08/12/11 – 15:37
Peter There is a second ex West Bridgford bus in preservation, 21 (ORR 140), one of the pair of lowbridge Willowbrook bodied Regent IIIs new in 1954.
It is preserved in WB livery and was active in the 70s and early 80s. I understand an extensive renovation has recently been completed, so hopefully it may be out and about again soon.
11/12/11 – 11:22
Thank you both. I regard WBUDC as having had one of the best of municipal liveries, and it would be good to see it in the metal again.
11/12/11 – 16:53
There’s a picture, now about forty years old, of WBUDC 21 next to the Huddersfield (ex-WBUDC) utility, taken I think at a Rochdale Motorcade. It is in my Pikfu gallery, having been on Fotopic until they went under. As Pikfu is still very much under development I have no control over the watermark, which is a bit obtrusive. It can be found at: http://davidbeilby.pikfu.net
11/10/12 – 15:59
I remember the AEC Renown appearing with South Wales in the early 1960s. There were two batches – the first by Park Royal, and the later ones by Willowbrook. They worked on routes formerly operated by either low height regents or Bridgemasters.
There was one unique Renown. Local operator West Wales bought one, Willowbrook bodied and resplendent in a grey livery with red trim, to operate on the joint service from Swansea to Llandeilo.
South Wales also had ten of the former six wheel single decker Renowns – they survived until about 1955.
Mark Lee Inman
13/10/12 – 06:31
Mark, according to BBF18 the first batch of South Wales Renowns were the first in service anywhere.
Vehicle reminder shot for this posting
14/10/12 – 14:40
There is mention above of the preserved AEC Regent III/Willowbrook ORR140. This photo was taken at the AEC Rally in May of this year, showing its current condition.
31/10/12 – 17:35
It would seem the biggest user of the Bridgemaster was Western Welsh taking 31 in all. They also had three Renowns delivered in 1965 part of a batch of 28. Thankfully WW did not have any of the frightful front entrance Bridgemasters that S Wales received from Park Royal. They were frightful! The WW Renowns had very smart Northern Counties bodywork.
Mark Lee Inman