Old Bus Photos

Rotherham Corporation – Crossley DD42/7 – EET 891 – 191

Rotherham Corporation - Crossley DD42/7 - EET 891 - 191

Rotherham Corporation
Crossley DD42/7
Crossley H30/26R

A dull overcast day in Rotherham in summer 1962, and the crew of corporation Crossley 191 appear to be abandoning their charge outside the Angel Hotel in Bridgegate and heading for the busman’s canteen at the back of the Municipal Offices in search of some hot tea. This initial batch of twelve Crossley-bodied Crossleys, 185-196, dating from 1949, were a staple on the short service 70 to the blast furnaces and rolling mills at Templeborough, or on the longer and even busier 69 service through to Sheffield, joint with Sheffield Corporation.
Behind is Park Royal-bodied AEC Bridgemaster 139 (VET 139), just a year old when this picture was taken. In an article in ‘Buses Illustrated’ in June of the previous year on the conversion of the Mexborough and Swinton trolleybuses to diesel buses, and which were operated in conjunction with Rotherham Corporation, the writer Terry Shaw commented that he’d always considered that Mexboro’s Brush-bodied Sunbeam single-deckers were ugly until he caught sight of one of these Rotherham Bridgemasters, five of which made up Rotherham’s contribution to the trolleybus conversion scheme. It’s not hard to see what he meant, as they literally were a ‘box on wheels’ Mexboro’ chose Leyland Atlanteans, almost equally as boxy but still one up on these ‘biscuit tin’ Bridgemasters.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Dave Careless

08/07/17 – 06:06

I agree the Park Royal Bridgemasters were truly appalling in appearance. The Rotherham livery application with a black mudguard on the nearside and a cream panel on the offside accentuates the asymmetrical front end. But then any livery application would have struggled to disguise this dog’s breakfast of a design. It makes the Crossley in front look sheer class!

Philip Halstead

09/07/17 – 06:32

Was Park Royal the only bodybuilder for the Bridgemaster? I@ve never come across any other body for them. And was it an integral vehicle, or did it have a chassis?

Chris Hebbron

09/07/17 – 06:33

Glad you agree, Philip. Even from the back the Park Royal body looked ugly and overly heavy, whereas the Crossley, with that outstanding emergency window, appeared very classy and well thought out.
A friend on Merseyside used to joke that Park Royal built the Bridgemaster bodies in one continuous line, and a set of shears simply came down every 30′-0" and chopped one off! Not all that hard to envision, really!

Dave Careless

10/07/17 – 07:36

The first few pre-production Bridgemasters were built at the Erwood Crossley factory and looked a good deal better. Nothing outlandish just the tidy rounded body typical of Crossley bodies of the late 50s, although by this time much influenced by Park Royal. Park Royal were very capable box makers in the late 50s and 60s! See the Crossley Story by Eyre, Heaps & Townsin. The Bridgemaster was integral, unlike the later Renown.

Andrew Gosling

10/07/17 – 07:36

The Bridgemaster was an integral vehicle, using (I understand) some of the same construction techniques as the Routemaster. So no other body make was available, which was part of its undoing.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about Bridgemaster bodies, along the lines that Crossley did it properly, whereas Park Royal made a mess of it. In fact the change of styling when production moved to Park Royal was coincidental. Crossley had developed the original body using the Park Royal styling features which were current at the time, but Park Royal’s double deck bodywork as a whole then took a nasty turn at the behest of BET management (who in the end didn’t place the orders to justify it).
It’s also true that the rear-entrance Park Royal Bridgemasters were not nearly as ugly as the front-entrance ones, and I don’t think this was just because of the entrance position. I’m almost convinced that they were completely different bodies.

Peter Williamson

10/07/17 – 07:37

To answer Chris the Bridgemaster was of integral construction using only the Park Royal body largely because AEC and Park Royal were in the same group of companies. The later Renown had a separate chassis and was bodied by other companies who generally made a much better job than Park Royal. The East Lancs bodies on Renowns for Leigh and West Bridgford showed what could be done to make a very attractive bus.

Philip Halstead

14/07/17 – 07:28

Thx Peter/Philip. I guessed that the Bridgemaster might have been integral, since only the Park Royal body ever appeared on them. And I agree that the rear entrance ones were the less unattractive of the two types and the Leigh/West Bridgford Renowns were a great improvement.
Both types passed me by, because my travels never took me to an area where they ran.

Chris Hebbron

14/07/17 – 16:18

If it hadn’t been invented by AEC/Park Royal, you might have thought the Bridgemaster was a deliberate attempt to wean us enthusiasts away from liking half-cabs.

Stephen Ford

15/07/17 – 06:48

The BET has a lot to answer for with the Bridgemaster design. The influence was felt on conventional half-cabs. Park Royal produced a very respectable half-cab e.g. Nottingham Regents and those built under the Crossley name were equally attractive, eg Stockport Titans (although several of these were actually finished by the Corporation). The production Bridgemaster was a worthy forerunner of the worst buses ever manufactured, Southampton’s PD2s (reach for hard hat)

Andrew Gosling

16/07/17 – 07:49

In 1948 Liverpool Corporation ordered 50 DD42/7 double deckers with Crossley bodywork to a revised design, being of four bay construction with a completely flat front (in plan view). Beauty is in the eye etc, but the result was very attractive in my opinion, and Rotherham Corporation must have felt the same, because all its Crossleys, the twelve in the 1949 batch, the further six bought in 1951 and the final six of 1952/3, had the Liverpool style of body (the very last true Crossley ever built was No.213, HET 513 of the final batch). Incidentally, the final batch of Crossleys is missing from Peter Gould’s Rotherham listing.
Turning to the Bridgemaster, the construction principle certainly owed much to the Routemaster insofar as it consisted of an integral body supported on front and rear subframes carrying the engine, gearbox and axle units, but the actual subframes differed significantly between the two models. Alan Townsin has remarked that it is surprising that little effort seems to have been made to achieve a degree of commonality between the components of the Routemaster and the Bridgemaster, even allowing for the fact that the latter was low floor design with a synchromesh gearbox option. The earliest Bridgemasters had RM style coil sprung rear suspension, but from 1958 air suspension became standard. The good looking body style by Crossley on the first five Bridgemasters had framing and other components in aluminium, as did the Routemaster, but, again, no attempt seems to have been made to use RM body components. Having taken the decision to close the Crossley works, AEC transferred body construction to Park Royal, where, at the behest of the BET, steel framing replaced aluminium, making the complete vehicle heavier than its market competitors. Park Royal came up with a stark body design that somehow exaggerated the flat panel beneath the driver’s windscreen that completely obscured the offside wing. The nearside wing remained exposed in the conventional manner which gave the already ugly duckling a curiously Nelsonian appearance when viewed from the front. Considerable subframe redesign was necessary to allow a front entrance to be accommodated, and the Park Royal body then became even more gaunt than before. Aesthetics was clearly not a strong point with Park Royal at that time, because the ungainly aspects of the Bridgemaster body were reflected in the firm’s products on other chassis, and faithful customers of long standing quickly took their business elsewhere.

Roger Cox

16/07/17 – 10:28

6696 KH
No.696 (of 1960) taken on 11 May 1967

4708 AT
No 708 of 1961 also taken on 11 May 1967

No.752 of 1963 taken on 30 July 1963.

After all the comments about Bridgemasters following the Rotherham Crossley article these pictures show that not all Bridgemasters were identical as shown by East Yorkshire’s first three batches of Bridgemasters. Note the doors on the rear entrance versions and the upper deck modified outline for Beverley Bar operations.

Malcolm J Wells

16/07/17 – 16:45

Yes, Malcolm. As I state above, the original Park Royal rear entrance bodies were built on an earlier form of the front subframe, which had to be redesigned to permit a front entrance body to be fitted. The frontal profile of the ensuing front entrance Park Royal body was even more ‘frowning’ than the earlier type.

Roger Cox


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Darwen Corporation – Crossley Regent V – 434 BTE – 17

434 BTE

Darwen Corporation
Crossley Regent V D3RV
East Lancs H31/28R

Darwen Corporation was well-known for buying buses which weren’t quite what they seemed, and 434 BTE is typical. "Ah! AEC Regent V with East Lancs body!" I hear. Sorry, folks. 434 BTE is in fact badged as a Crossley.

434 BTE_2

This was something associated with the allocation of spaces at the Commercial Motor Shows. It is of the Regent V D3RV variety and the East Lancs body is of the H59RD layout. It is seen on Southampton’s Itchen Bridge in the first view, on 6 May 1979, while the close view of the radiator grille was taken in the museum at St Helens on 15 July 2012.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

16/12/16 – 06:26

A true classic municipal bus of the era. Everything just sits together so well. The shapely East Lancs bodywork matches the AEC design tin front so well and it is all topped off with a dignified livery. Darwen also had three Reliances which were similarly badged as Crossleys and also with East Lancs bodies.

Philip Halstead

17/12/16 – 06:31

It looks rather narrow, was this bus 7ft.6ins wide?

Chris Barker

19/12/16 – 09:27

Yes Chris this bus is 7ft 6in wide. Darwen also had some similarly bodied Leyland PD2/31’s which were also 7ft 6in wide. The Regent V and PD2’s had an unusual sliding platform door to the rear platform which was an arrangement used also by Southdown. There was a hinged lower section which turned in to avoid the rear wheel as the door slid forward to open.

Philip Halstead

01/05/17 – 07:09

If you wanted a "genuine" Crossley Regent V then Liverpool Corporations A101-167 (SKB 101-167) of 1955 fitted the bill, as these had Crossley bodies. All went for scrap sadly.
It was a bit odd for Crossley to show off this vehicle when they closed down a year after this bus was built.

Paul Mason


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Lewis – Crossley SD42/7 – JP 7538

JP 7538

Lewis (Rhydlewis)
Crossley SD42/7
Duple C35F (1955)

JP 7538 appears to be another wonderful combination of Bedford SB chassis and Duple coach body, except that it isn’t! The Crossley SD42/7 chassis dates from 1949, when it was new to Liptrot of Bamfurlong, near Wigan. A new Duple C35F body, as seen here, was fitted in 1955. We see it at Duxford on 28 September 2008.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

11/12/16 – 14:06

One of Gerald and Simon Emerton’s fine collection at Nantwich, Cheshire.

Ian Thompson

11/12/16 – 17:07

Registration number should read JP 7538.
One of two (the other being JP 7537) new to Liptrot with Bellhouse Hartwell C33F bodies. Both rebodied by Duple as seen here whilst still with Liptrot. This one passed from Liptrot to Towler, Emneth 10/63, then to Lewis 7/65. Withdrawn 8/72 but still owned (unused) by Lewis in 4/81, subsequently to Emerton for preservation.
(Information from PSVC)

David Williamson

12/12/16 – 06:44

The frontal aspect of this Duple body differs from the Bedford version in the slightly shallower windscreens with greater downward curvature to match the level of the side window line, and winged motif set above the smaller, lower front grille, rather than incorporated as part of the top frame. This coach would have been delivered with the HOE7/4 version of the dubious 8.6 litre engine, the last wholly Crossley effort in remedying the shortcomings of this motor before AEC, exhausted of patience with the Errwood Park concern, came up with the HOE7/5 downdraught replacement. What engine does it now have, I wonder? According to Eyre, Heaps and Townsin, despite the poor reputation of the Crossley engine, Birmingham Corporation, who had substantial fleets of both types, rated the DD42 rather more highly than the Daimler CVD6 on performance and reliability grounds.

Roger Cox

12/12/16 – 12:58

The grille on the Crossley is actually the standard ‘early butterfly’ type with winged motif above a smaller grille with fine mesh, as used on the 1955 season Super Vega (body series 1055).
The previous 1954 season model (series 1050) was the same body but with the oval ‘fishmouth’ grille, then the 1956/7/8 season models (series 1060/1074/1090) were the classic 30ft. version with continuous (unstepped) waistline, three piece rear windows and the larger, flashier grille incorporating the motif and with a more open mesh.
Here is an example of the 1955 season Super Vega for comparison. www.sct61.org.uk/zz475ctw

John Stringer

13/12/16 – 07:18

Thanks for that correction, John. In the arrogance of youth, I tended to resent the overwhelming invasion during the 1950s of the Bedford SB into respectable fleets, where it invariably ousted ‘proper’ heavyweight coaches of far greater character to my senses as a juvenile transport enthusiast. Despite the fact that they were all around, I obviously didn’t take a proper look at Duple bodied SBs, beyond noting that the fish mouth grille was replaced by the (to my mind still) hideous butterfly style. (As Sherlock Holmes commented – "You see, Watson, but you do not observe.")

Roger Cox

14/12/16 – 16:33

We have 1956 and 1957 Duple Annuals in the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust archive and it does not seem to have a model name like Vega or Corinthian. It is just described as "the rebodying product from Duple"

Stephen Allcroft

15/12/16 – 06:49

The Vega model name and its derivatives (Super Vega, Bella Vega, Vega Major, and all others beginning with ‘V’ – Vista, Super Vista, Bella Vista, and Bella Venture) were used exclusively for Bedford chassis by agreement with Vauxhall Motors (which maybe not coincidentally began with ‘V’).
Super Vega-based designs for mounting on other makes of chassis – new Ford Thames and Commer Avengers, and rebodies on AEC Regal, Tiger PS, Daimler CVD6 and Maudslay Marathons though extremely similar were unnamed until the model names Yeoman (for Fords) and Corinthian (for Commers) were belatedly introduced for the three-piece screen version for the 1961/62 seasons.
Similarly during the early 1960’s bodies for Fords had to be given different names to the equivalent Bedfords. Bella Vegas became Troopers; Vega Majors became Marauders, then Mariners; Bella Ventures became Empresses. It was only with the introduction of the Viceroy at the 1966 Commercial Motor Show that the same name became applied to both Bedfords and Fords, then later to heavyweights as well.

John Stringer

19/12/16 – 07:09

I’ve personally heard Birmingham’s preference for Crossleys over CVD6s confirmed by someone who used to work there. However, I don’t think that either engine was anywhere near as "dubious" when powering a single-deck vehicle. A former contributor to this forum has described both double-deckers as "distress purchases" in times of vehicle shortage, but both CVD6 and SD42 had a positive following when it came to coach work.

Peter Williamson

19/12/16 – 13:53

According to "Happy Family", the story of Yellow Bus Services from Guildford, they had 2 Dennis Falcon P5s (VPA 261-2) with Duple Vega bodies.

John Lomas

19/12/16 – 15:19

An operator in Guildford, buying Dennis chassis? I wonder why that doesn’t surprise me!

Pete Davies

20/12/16 – 06:47

I brought up the Falcolns because of John S’s posting about V type bodies being Bedfords, I wondered if John’s comment meant that technically the book might be wroong to use the Vega name.
Re your comment: YBS over their 36yr life 1921 to 1957 appear to have had 66 vehicles: 33 Dennises, 24 Bedfords, 4 Fords, 2 Chevrolets, 2 Morrises and a Leyland. So they were quite loyal to Dennis but obviously favoured Bedfords as well.
17 of their Dennises and all the other makes predated their first Bedford in 1937 and the last of those earlier ones was gone in 1939.

John Lomas

20/12/16 – 06:49

The two Yellow Bus Dennis Falcons were of the forward control 30 ft. long L9 type, and both may be seen in these pictures:
Mercifully (to my mind) neither of these coaches has the butterfly front grille. These pictures were taken in Guildford’s Onslow Street bus station, and the building in the background is the former Dennis works built in 1901. The site was retained as a repair shop when Dennis production finally moved to the new factory at Woodbridge Hill, which opened in 1905 and expanded thereafter. The Onslow Street premises were sold to the Rodboro Boot and Shoe Company in 1917, and they still stand.

Roger Cox

20/12/16 – 11:22

When you look at the photos Roger has given links to, it’s in the mindset that they have Bedford chassis, such is the relationship between these bodies and Bedfords! It’s a surprise to me that we now know of at least Dennis and Crossley chassis being secreted underneath!

Chris Hebbron

21/12/16 – 06:17

TMV 986

And here’s another example of something hiding under a Duple body! It’s from a bought slide, of unknown copyright, but BLOTW has TMV 986 as a Leyland Tiger PS1/1 new in 1948 to another Lewis – the one in London SE10. In this view, the vehicle is with Express, Rhostryfan

Pete Davies

21/12/16 – 06:19

The Vega-style bodies went on the following lightweights besides the SB, Albion Victor FT39, Commer Avenger, Dennis Falcon, Ford Thames Trader PSV, Leyland Comet ECPO1/2T and Tilling Stevens L4MA8.
The rebodying product to my knowledge on AEC Regal III, Crossley SD42, Daimler CVD6, Maudslay Marathon III and Leyland Tiger PS1.

Stephen Allcroft

13/08/17 – 07:46

Isn’t TMV 986 with Silver Star rather than Express?


13/08/17 – 08:54

As I bought the copy slide, it was in the vendor’s listing as with Express. You may be correct and the vendor may have been wrong. I have no idea!

Pete Davies


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