The top photograph first appeared on the ‘Do You Know’ page of this website and the following information was forthcoming.
The shot was taken in a scrap yard when this particular vehicle was presumably at the end of its days. It states that it was owned by Bodill Builders Contractors who were probably the last owners and used it as a staff vehicle. Originally it was owned by Beehive Services who were based at Adwick-le-Street (near Doncaster) and founded by Ernest Arthur Hart after he retired from being a centre-half footballer for Leeds-United and England in the 1930s. Beehive Services was eventually taken over or amalgamated with Wilfreda from Bawtry to form Wilfreda Beehive of Adwick-le-Street. Wilfreda Beehive still operate as a bus and coach operator in the South Yorkshire area and one thing I spotted on their website is that they have Routemaster for private hire.
If anyone is interested in engine shots let me know it may be possible with a bit of tweaking to bring out more detail which I would then post here.
Fascinating how there is a blur between unconnected coachbuilders. I know Whitson and Duple were north London neighbours, but that’s a Duple rear end!
Three or four years before Duple’s takeover, Burlingham put a Duple rear end on the Seagull (from 1957/8) and of course there was the famous and ubiquitous Alexander R type clone by East Lancs on various rear engined decker chassis.
These were companies independent of each other and it doesn’t take account of the fifties period when the same style could bear Crossley, Park Royal or Roe plates depending on which factory built them.
Come to think of it, though, Southdown had about 10 Beadle/PD2s built on Park Royal frames. They were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing – but no formal link between the companies. They were also Beadles last deckers, and possibly their last bodies, before concentrating on the car sales side of their business.
I have little to go on apart from hunch & haze, but were Harts really Beehive’s competitor Kildare Coaches (note Irish link) and Beehive the Co-op (A Beehive is a symbol the Co-op used)? Or is that wrong?
It isn’t just the rear view that reminds you of Duple, from that front three quarter view don’t you think the sides of the vehicle look a bit like a Duple Roadmaster?.
On the subject of lookalike bodies can I throw into the conversation the similarities between the Northern Counties bodies fitted to Yorkshire Traction Atlantean and Fleetlines, Roe bodies of that era (West Riding / Rotherham Corporation for example) and some Alexander (AL?) bodywork.
Andrew. There is quite a history of putting Alexander screens and front ends on unrelated companies bodies. In addition to those you have mentioned, there were Atlanteans for Newcastle Corporation and Fleetlines for Bradford with MCW bodies.
You are absolutely right. Apart from the immediate windscreen area, it does look just like a Roadmaster. Wonder whether they were Duple frames (in the same manner as the Southdown PD2s mentioned above with Park Royal frames)?
I can confirm that Whitson, the coachbuilder, had no direct connections with Duple and were actually West London based, firstly at Sipson, then at Yiewsley. Their managing director, Alf Whittit, was a fiercely independent and somewhat flamboyant salesman with a liking for the stylish designs for which Whitson became well known. Initially their draughtsman was Charles Pilbin, whose style tended to be functional rather than beautiful. This changed with the arrival, from Duple, of Cyril Austin. It may be that Cyril Austin was aware of, perhaps even responsible for, some of the Duple styling that people can see in the Whitson body. I can also confirm that E A Hart Limited (fleet name Beehive Services) were the company that bought the Fodens – there were actually four of them KWU 24 to 27. Control had passed to Doncaster Co-op in July 1947 and E A Hart left to set up another company – Kildare Coaches of Knottingley. KWU 24 itself survived the yard in which it was photographed. I have a photograph showing it in the service of Carlien’o Brothers Circus, but still carrying Bodill names on the front.
Thanks Peter, my mystery above is solved- Kildare, Beehive and Hart’s, although Beehive was a "logo" of the Co-op. I thought that Kildare, though (also) had a garage in neighbouring Carcroft, and then in Adwick itself, where they seemed to compete with Beehive.
17/10/11 – 07:52
Unity Coaches at Clay Cliffe Road Baraugh Green Barnsley also ran rear engined Fodens. They were owned by the Barnsley British co-operative Ltd. and were in a rather strange brown and tan livery if I’m not mistaken. They were bought out by Cawthorne’s in the late ’50’s.
18/10/11 – 05:31
Unity/Beehive- good Co-op words. Sounds like a Co-op-Foden connection: like the Co-op branch buildings, they were meant to last!
18/10/11 – 05:31
I seem to recall that Kildare Coaches were taken over by Shearings so they could get a depot in the Doncaster area,
16/11/11 – 07:32
Kildare were bought out by Smiths-Happiways in 1983 mainly for the premises which became a Depot and Tour Interchange
24/01/12 – 11:10
KWU 24 spent the rest of it’s PSV life with R.E. Everson Everson’s Coaches of Wix Nr. Manningtree in Essex, where it was joined by JOT 106 A Foden PRFG with Associated Coachbuilders C41C Body. KWU was C39C.
It was painted in red and cream and gave magnificent trouble free service for three years – a wonderful vehicle. I would love to see a closer view of the engine compartment.
10/11/12 – 09:15
For the attention of Wally Francis whose details I collected here. In 1955 a Commer TS3 with a Beadle body was supplied by my old boss, Ernie Harris of Fishponds Motor Co. Ltd. Bristol and I had been a young lad who had kept it, and the Garage showroom up together while I was employed. I would love to hear how long this vehicle lasted and exactly what had happened to it. The business had been done to Eversons Coaches of Wix, and I have 2 pictures – one somewhere close to town and the other parked in a stream of traffic outside of the Company premises. I do hope that this meets up with some conversation and I would love to hear further.
19/01/13 – 16:53
UHT 573 Beadle-Commer C35C. Fascinated to hear about the dear Commer. It joined the fleet in 1955 and replaced/traded in for 79 BPU a unique Page bodied Morris commercial [which itself has an interesting story behind it.]
UHT was a wonderful coach and made it in the fleet into the new livery of Red/white and grey – lasting ten years in the fleet – traded in to Moseleys and sold by them as a non- psv and turned into a mobile home spent time in the Clacton area funnily enough. Would love to see your photographs!!!
12/07/13 – 07:58
Where were Page bodies built and what was the full name of the firm? Any photos of their products including 79 BPU mentioned.? Would like to know more as I have not heard of this bodybuilder before.
14/07/13 – 07:47
I think that the builder of the "Page" body referred to by Mike Holloway was Page or Page & Scott of Colchester who were principally car dealers. I ought to remember more as my late great uncle worked for them and I think at one point lived over the premises. Ultimately Page & Scott were acquired by George Ewer & Co who were not exactly unknown in the coach industry.
25/01/14 – 16:56
It was great to hear about the two Fodens and Commer TS3 belonging to Everson’s coaches. I went to school on all these. On one occasion the fan on KWU came off, and being a rear engined coach, it crashed through the rear doors and fell onto the road behind. Lots of other memories of those journeys and of working for Everson’s as a Saturday job.
If Wally Francis, who I worked with for three years, wishes to make contact I’d be delighted!
28/10/14 – 06:55
I well remember this coach belonging to Beehive and taking our local Brass Band to Cardiff and later to Plymouth during the mid fifties. It was in dark green and cream.
I was an apprentice to YTC in the sixties and remember looking round ‘Askins’ scrap yard during the dinner hour at a very tired Foden coach being scrapped, it had of course a Foden 2 stroke engine and an angle drive transmission. It begs the question why did Leylands struggle for so long perfecting the PDR 1 when the technology was already there? It took an overheard apprentice’s comment to get them to find an oil which would do both jobs of lubricating the diff and the angle drive and the gearbox after so many failed seals and g/b brake bands.
After a long and frustrating struggle to change the throttle pins on the Atlants. an apprentice was again heard to shout out in frustration, ‘Why don’t Leylands fit a hydraulic throttle to these camels? The next batch duly came fitted with Hydraulic throttles.
06/11/14 – 14:44
I now live in Australia, formerly of Fern Bank, Adwick le Street. My Uncle, Les Pickles, drove for Beehive coaches in the late 40’s early 50’s, I seem to recall that the depot was at the rear of the Adwick Post office. To my memory the early coaches had a Beehive and Bees on the side. Can any one forward any info and or photographs of these coaches please.
07/11/14 – 08:12
Thanks Vic- this is getting nearer to my hazy memories. I’m not certain that we have the story right yet!
The Co-op used a Beehive (with bees) as a logo in various places just like the one on the coaches. Do you know if they originally owned Beehive? Do you remember Kildare Coaches? I think they had a depot in Carcroft which became an NCB transport depot, and then moved to a site between Adwick & Carcroft. Were they Hart’s? The Beehive depot was in old Adwick village as you say… did Beehive and Kildare then amalgamate? to be continued…