Old Bus Photos

Ideal Service – Gilford 168 OT – YG 7518

YG 7518

Ideal Service (R Taylor & Sons)
Gilford 168 OT
??? 32

This superb vehicle was supplied new to R Taylo & Sonsr, t/a Ideal Service, Cudworth, in May 1934. PSVC lists show this to be a Gilford 168 OT, chassis number 12181. It is shown as being a thirtytwo-seater of unknown make. I suspect that the destination aperture and domed peak will be sufficient to lead the OBP sleuths to a simple identification of the coach-builder responsible. This was with showman J Heyes of Norwich by 1950 and moved again in 1958 to WH Smith (non PSV), Salford.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

05/12/17 – 14:14

Love seeing pictures of old Gilfords. Have connection with them through my grandfather who test drove the chassis when they were built in Bellfield Works, High Wycombe around 1930.

Andrew Stevens

07/12/17 – 08:45

Yes, I recall seeing a few of them when I used to tour the showmen’s vehicles at funfairs. Does someone know how the Gruss springs worked?

Chris Hebbron

08/12/17 – 07:12

About halfway down on the following web page is a description and picture of a Gilford, possibly a 168OT, of Ideal Service, Cudworth, and it is suggested that it might be YG 7518. Clicking on the thumbnail picture gets a slightly bigger view, which shows several differences from the fairground machine, notably the angular front destination indicator and the much lower build of the side panelling. If it is, indeed, the same vehicle, then these modifications might have been undertaken later in the life of the machine to modernise its appearance. //www.svvs.org/help49.shtml

Roger Cox

09/12/17 – 07:35

Roger, in his book ‘Independents in Western Yorkshire’ Neville Mercer writes that both Taylor and Wray had one Gilford each, the Wray one being registered HE 5684. I think the one in your link is more likely to be that of H Wray and it looks shorter than the one above but apparently their seating capacities were the same at 32.

Chris Barker

10/12/17 – 06:22

I am sure that you are right, Chris. The vehicle on the svvs site is clearly different from YG 7518, and must be the Wray example.

Roger Cox

11/12/17 – 06:57

The one registered HE 5684 is shown in PSVC lists as chassis 11668, also a 168OT with 32-seat body of unknown make and delivered new in April 1932 to H.Wray (Ideal)

Les Dickinson

12/12/17 – 08:39

To answer Chris H’s last question, I have no personal knowledge of Gruss air springs, but have found https://www.google.com/patents/US1692035 which is the patent description registered in the USA in 1924. I haven’t had the patience to read through all the print with its OCR errors, but the images give the general idea!

Geoff Pullin

15/12/17 – 07:25

Gruss air springs were auxiliary front suspension units working in concert with standard leaf springs. The travel of the air springs must have occurred at the base of the units, similar to the Hydragas units on my Rover 100 (aka Metro) cars. Looking at this picture of a 1920 Haynes touring car, it shows that the front ends of the leaf springs were attached not directly to the chassis but to the bases of the Gruss units, which were themselves rigidly fixed to the chassis. Whilst acting as a complementary springing medium, the air springs would have also offered a degree of damping action and roll resistance in the days of otherwise unsophisticated suspension systems. www.shorpy.com/node/

Roger Cox


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Barlow & Fisher – Gilford SD – CN 3795

Barlow & Fisher - Gilford OT - CN 3795
Copyright Unknown

Barlow & Fisher
Gilford SD
???? B26F

This Gilford SD, chassis number 10561 was new to Mason, Gateshead in January 1929 but passed only six months later to Barlow & Fisher of Gleadless, Sheffield. At that time, Gleadless was at the outer edge of Sheffield on the Yorkshire/Derbyshire border.
This photo must be immediately after Sheffield Corporation took over the business of Barlow & Fisher in 1933 as it is outside the Corporation’s Bramall Lane garage but still showing Barlow & Fisher as legal owner. Sheffield sold it in August of the same year. I wonder where it went and why its stays at Mason and again at Sheffield were so short? Incidentally, the PSV Circle’s Gilford book suggests that it might have been a demonstrator before going to Mason. One further question – can anyone identify the body-maker? Perhaps Wycombe, as many Gilfords were?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

30/07/15 – 10:57

This is a Gilford SD, not an OT, and there would be a number in front of the designation. In Gilford terminology, OT meant "over-type", i.e. forward control. This one is normal control, or "standard drive" in Gilford’s description. The figures denoted the wheelbase, and the popular ones were 15 (15 feet), 166 (16 ft 6 ins) or 168 (16 ft 8 ins). The length of this one could possibly be a fifteen footer, making it a 15SD type, but I stand to be corrected by those who can track down the individual buses on this site.

Michael Hampton

30/07/15 – 10:59

Thanks Michael I have edited the title and copy, will wait for the number.


31/07/15 – 06:40

Thanks for the info Michael. I am no expert so I took the detail from the PSV Circle MM5 book. Clearly this will need amendment if and when reprinted. Any advice on the bodybuilder?

Les Dickinson

31/07/15 – 06:41

I see no sign of Gruss Springs on this vehicle, but there is a leaf spring end, plus shackle just poking out in front of the offside front wheel. Were these a slightly later development, or were they only put on some models?

Chris Hebbron

31/07/15 – 06:41

Mason was a Gilford dealer, so it would have been a demonstrator for Mason, rather than before passing to Mason. As such, the aim would be to sell it before it got too old. Sheffield would have got rid of it because it was non-standard (and it looks a bit worn-out)

David Hick

07/08/15 – 17:04

Bramall lane Garage opened in 1926.
I always thought (in the 1950s) their depot was Coal Aston, (on the Sheffield/Derbyshire border), or Station Road, Halfway more likely, (also on the border). In the 1930s, Gleadless was not on the border, Woodseats & then Meadowhead was, (border past the STD sports ground, (Four Lane Ends), just before Low Edges Road was built.

Andy Fisher

19/08/15 – 07:15

Not sure exactly where the Barlow and Fisher depot was, but in the 1930s Gleadless certainly was on the Sheffield/Derbyshire border – the next village was Ridgeway, which was in Derbyshire.
I think there is some confusion with Booth and Fisher, who’s depot was originally Killamarsh and then Halfway, and who ran through Coal Aston.
Barlow and Fisher ran the Sheffield to Chesterfield route via Gleadless, Ridgeway and Ford, so Gleadless would have been an appropriate base. When they were taken over jointly by Sheffield and East Midland, the route became the 99.

John May

29/06/16 – 16:07

Maybe it’s just about to be taken away for scrapping. It looks as if it has just been pushed out of the garage & left where it stopped with front wheel against the kerb. Also the front panel seems to be completely detached. I am currently helping with the restoration of 168SD WX 3567 and have gathered quite a lot of knowledge on Gilfords through that.


30/06/16 – 06:35

I notice that there appears to be no nearside headlamp, either.
Is WX 3567 the Gilford I saw at Carlton Colville a few years ago, Brian?

Chris Hebbron

30/06/16 – 06:36

Registration looks like CN 3795 – an impressive looking machine indeed, even if a little "faded" or jaded.

Chris Youhill

30/06/16 – 10:11

The Motor Transport Yearbook for 1929 gives Barlow and Fisher as a company registered 24th July 1929 at Ford, Ridgeway, Derbyshire, but with registered office at Brierley House, Gleadless, Sheffield. The directors were A D Fisher, W H Barker and J F Skelton.
Booth and Fisher is not listed at that time (nor is Joseph Booth) – Booth’s partnership with Donald Fisher appears to date from the mid 1930s, although the limited company of that name was only formed much later.

Peter Delaney

01/07/16 – 06:06

Gilford used the Gruss air springs on the 168SD and the 168OT from late 1929, the Front Wheel Drive prototypes also had them but the Zeus and Hera did not, as this is either a 15SD or a 166SD it was built without them.
As far as I can see the other OEMs users of the Gruss equipment in the UK were Albion with the AM463 RAF ambulance and Crossley with the IGL8 Indian Army lorry.

Stephen Allcroft

31/12/16 – 16:27

Chris, apologies for the delay in replying to your question, don’t look at the site very often. Yes you are quite correct, WX 3567 is currently being restored at East Anglia Transport Museum, Carlton Colville.



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Western S M T – Gilford Zeus – WG 1619 – 723

Western S.M.T - Gilford Zeus

Western Scottish Motor Traction Co. Limited
Gilford Zeus
Strachans H24/24R

The above photograph (from the Dave Jones Collection) is of a Gilford Zeus outside the Bellfield Works in High Wycombe. This was Gilford’s third attempt to get into double decker vehicle market after the 168DOT and the failed front wheel drive double decker which was later converted into a trolleybus. Two were built, the first appearing at the Glasgow Show of 1932 before being registered in 1933 for use as a  Gilford demonstrator before passing to Western S.M.T (Fleet number 723), and the second being sold direct to Western S.M.T (Fleet number 722). The two vehicles were originally fitted with different engines, the demonstrator a Vulcan Juno and the later one a Tangye VM6, but both are believed to have had Leyland oil engines fitted before entering service.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Andrew Stevens

22/04/12 – 16:42

A very smart modern-looking bus for its time, apart from the rather scrunched-up windscreen. The radiator suits the body style very well. I always had a soft spot for Gilford and was sorry it failed, partly due to the takeover of independents by newly-formed London Transport. Western SMT were staunch supporters of the marque at this time, taking quite a few coaches for their long-distance services. I wonder how long they lasted and their histories until scrapping. I was never good company at funfairs: a stomach not suited to revolving at high speed, restricted me to dodgems, big dippers, but certainly not waltzers! Thus, I tended to walk around the showmens’ vehicles and enjoy the fare on display there. I always remember seeing a Gilford Hera on one occasion, the only Gilford I ever saw.

Chris Hebbron

23/04/12 – 05:35

Don’t know when, but 723 transferred to Sandersons of Glasgow and I don’t know any history after that. 722 was withdrawn from service in 1944 and also transferred to Sandersons with no subsequent history.

Andrew Stevens

23/04/12 – 05:36

I have never come across a Gilford myself but every mention of them is always in a positive light – always said to be superb vehicles. As Chris says, circumstances – the customer base disappearing – overtook the firm with disastrous effects.
I lived in High Wycombe for fifteen years and know Bellfield well – never realised that Gilford were based there. I don’t think they left a trace when they moved back to London.

David Oldfield

23/04/12 – 05:51

The very interesting subject of Gilfords reminds me that a group are restoring a single decker that started in life with Fred Oade of Heckmondwike. The company is still in business although nowadays they are undertakers the coaching side of the business was sold to Yorkshire Woollen in 1960. The vehicle is WX 3567 and was new in 1930. Oades sold it in 1934 and according to The PSV Circle it passed through several different owners and allegedly was sold for scrap in 1938 although obviously this never happened as I believe it was found in a barn.

Philip Carlton

24/04/12 – 06:53

I actually saw ‘WX’ last week and it’s coming along. The survivor list may take some by surprise, with two vehicles, a DF6 and an AS6 I believe road-worthy, along with an AS6, a 166SD, two 168SD’s (one converted to OT) and a 168OT currently under restoration. There is also a Hera chassis at the SVBM. Would be nice to get them all roadworthy and together in the future – here’s hoping. Unfortunately Bellfield works has now been demolished so there certainly is no trace left of the company, and few people in Wycombe seem to know of their existence, something I hope to put right somehow.

Andrew Stevens

07/03/14 – 16:14

My father was a bus driver with Western SMT from 1945 till his retirement in 1976. His normal route was Irvine Harbour via Montgreenan to Kilwining Railway Station, wait 10 minutes and drive back. Only one single decker bus operated on this route. Due to the demand for the service on a Sunday a double decker was used. One Sunday my father forgot about the low bridge at Irvine harbour and took the complete top of the decker. For this he was suspended for a week without pay. Having no Driver the following Sunday, the Chief Inspector drove the route and put the decker under the same bridge. Father wages were duly restored.
After WW2 there was a shortage of reliable buses. Western decided to buy bare chassis from Leyland and have them bodied at Alexanders Falkirk. All that Leyland supplied was a bare chassis and a temporary seat. drivers had to wrap up well and on some occasion had to be lifted from the seat as their clothes were frozen solid.
After the war Western started their Glasgow to London night Service, on one Glasgow Fair 110 coaches left Glasgow in convoy for London, the journey time was 15 hours with refreshment stops there were no toilets on these buses.
During the 1960’s a Day service was introduced. all the coaches were two driver operated as was the night service. Only the senior drivers were allowed on the day service and they got all the new and best coaches. The engines on these coaches had no engine governor and have been clocked at over 90 mph. The time was now down to ten hours, there were no Motorways at this time. The drivers would swap driving positions without stopping or reducing speed. The goal was to get into London Waterloo early, and give themselves more free time.
In June 1967 my Father took delivery of the first Volvo coach with one piece wrap round windscreen. The coach was delivered factory fitted straight to the bus stance at Glasgow, it had not been checked over by Western mechanics. I was on this coach on its return journey from London To Glasgow. We were traveling on a dual carriageway when we were overtaken by a lorry with a flapping tarpaulin the Tarpaulin caught the driver mirror swung it through the windscreen. due to the increase in internal pressure the back window popped out. Midland Red had an agreement with Western in the event of an accident or breakdown they would supply a replacement coach in this case the replacement would mean a six hour delay. The drivers on consulting the passengers decided to press on, the weather was dry and sunny temperature approx, 24 degree’s.
Two miles after turning at Scots corner a rear tyre punctured caused by going over windscreen glass. The coach had a spare wheel and nut runner but no jack. The lorry following us was driven by an ex-colleague of my fathers who just happened to have a heavy duty jack, 15 min’s. later we were back on the road. the coach arrived in Glasgow 5 min’s behind schedule. The tips for each of the two drivers were more than a weeks wages each. We stayed in Fenwick at that time. during WW2 there was a bus service. Ayr via Kilmarnock and Fenwick to Glasgow with a bus frequency of one every 90 seconds and the buses were packed. The regulations during the war were 28 standing downstairs and 12 standing up stairs.
One memorable bus registration number TJ 9090 this was a second hand six wheeled Leyland with seating for 109, standing room bottom deck 35, top deck 20. On a Saturday afternoons fully loaded you could pass her on your bicycle going up Beansburn Brae

Gilbert Wilson

12/09/14 – 06:13

There is the chassis of an ex-Alexander Gilford Hera on show at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum. It has a Leyland petrol engine taken out of a Titan converted to diesel.

Stephen Allcroft

15/09/15 – 06:46

Having just noticed the comment about this bus being sold to Sandersons of Glasgow in 1944, the Sanderson family traded at the time as Millburn Motors and were dealers and breakers. At later dates they owned controlling stakes in Lowland Motorways and Northern Roadways, the dealership later became S & N Motors.

Stephen Allcroft


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