Old Bus Photos

Lewis Meridian – Sentinel SLC/6/30 – PXE 761

Lewis Meridian - Sentinel SLC/6/30 - PXE 61
Copyright Pete Davies

Lewis Meridian
1955
Sentinel SLC/6/30
DupleC41C

PXE7 61 is a Sentinel SLC/6/30, built in 1955. She has a Duple body (C41C when new to Lewis Meridian of Greenwich) but the bodywork has been altered in this view. We see her parked at East Boldre, near Beaulieu, on 13 April 1986, having been converted to a racing car transporter for Giron Alvis Racing. The PSVC listing for 2012 shows her to be in the care of Spiers, Henley On Thames.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


29/03/13 – 07:04

The OBP’s authority on Sentinels is Neville Mercer, the joint author of the excellent book on this marque in the Super Prestige series. I hesitate to preempt any comment he might wish to make, particularly since my information source is that comprehensive book, so I will simply say that the correct registration of this coach is PXE 761.

Roger Cox

Thanks for that Roger copy changed.


30/03/13 – 10:07

Oh how I wish that I had come across a SLC/6/30 coach. Many smaller firms fail because they deserve to – not being up to the standard of other products – but not all. Foden successfully made the transition to diesels and only "failed" when PACCAR consolidated them with Leyland and DAF. [They gave up rather earlier on PSVs.] Sentinel, another major steam manufacturer, pioneered horizontal diesels based on that steam technology but then seemed to give up. Their sale to Rolls Royce means that there is a direct link with Rolls Royce Eagle diesels and ultimately the Perkins units in modern DMUs. How I mourn the passing of AEC, Bristol and Leyland but, had things turned out differently, what would the 2013 model year Sentinel have been like?

David Oldfield


30/03/13 – 12:00

I can’t really add anything, I’m afraid, beyond what is in the book. Does anybody have a recent sighting of this vehicle "face to face"? The last I heard the owner was planning to restore the bodywork to its original condition. Going off at a slight tangent, Spiers seemed to have a taste for the unusual having once operated one of the two Rutland Clipper/Whitson coaches built in the mid-1950s. What a pity that the Clipper hasn’t survived!

Neville Mercer


31/03/13 – 07:46

Way (way) back in time, when I was an active cross country runner at Blackheath Harriers, I noted, on several occasions, the arrival of a Lewis Sentinel at the Hayes BH clubhouse with visiting teams. This coach could well have been one of these. Unfortunately, I never had a camera with me at the time. Sentinel suffered from the choice of a poor engine design, and then fitted it somewhat less than securely in the vehicle. I understand that the indirect injection Ricardo engine was actually quite an old design that had been languishing in Harry Ricardo’s filing cabinet from pre war days. Perhaps Neville can add some information on this point. The Sentinel concept of both the haulage and passenger vehicles was advanced in the early post war period, and it is sad, in retrospect, that the power unit proved to be so weak and fuel thirsty. It is surprising, also, that very few attempts were made by operators to re-engine their Sentinels with other, more reliable motors. In the late 1940s, few alternative underfloor engines would have been available, but this situation had changed by the early ’50s. The Sentinel was yet another British "might have been". Neville’s comment on the Rutland Clipper is echoed by me. As a Croydonian, I saw one of these – the second one I believe – in the Purley Way area of Croydon quite often.

Roger Cox


15/10/13 – 12:04

Sorry for the belated response, Roger, I’ve only just noticed your posting on this thread. As regards the re-engining of Sentinels, Midland Red installed one of their own BMMO engines in at least one (possibly both?) of the STC6s acquired from Boyer of Rothley, while at least two of the SLC6s exported to Portugal received Leyland engines later in their lives. The Ricardo designed engines (with the Comet injectors) were indeed quite old-fashioned in post-war terms, and drank fuel like it was going out of style. On the positive side they were probably among the quietest diesel engines ever made. Sentinel compounded the problem of high fuel consumption by fitting the engines in completely inadequate mountings, resulting in the "European" demonstrator dropping its engine while on test with a major Dutch sales target. Needless to say no order was forthcoming!

Neville Mercer


 

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H Brown and Sons – Sentinel STC4/40 – GUJ 608 & Sentinel SLC4/35 – HNT 49

H Brown and Sons - Sentinel STC4/40 - GUJ 608 & Sentinel SLC4/35 - HNT 49

H Brown and Sons - Sentinel STC4/40 - GUJ 608 & Sentinel SLC4/35 - HNT 49
Copyright both shots Peter Williamson

H Brown and Sons                                            H Brown and Sons
1950                                                                 1951
Sentinel STC4/40                                             Sentinel SLC4/35
Sentinel B40F                                                   Beadle B??F (ex C35C)

The years leading up to 1950 spawned a revolution in the design of single-deck buses and coaches, in which, in an effort to increase passenger capacity, the engine was removed from its traditional prominent position "between the shafts", turned on its side, and tucked away ignominiously under the floor. Leyland had built a class of buses to this design for London Transport before the war, and BMMO standardised on it from 1946 for their Midland Red fleet.
Coincidentally, when Sentinel started building diesel lorries in 1946, they mounted the engine horizontally under the cab floor, just as they had done with their famous steam waggons. This experience, together with with the fact that the company was by then part of a group which also made panelling for Beadle bus bodies, placed Sentinel in an ideal position to take part in the underfloor-engined bus revolution. In fact Sentinel was the first manufacturer to offer such a bus on the open market, exhibiting two complete vehicles at the 1948 Commercial Motor Show, while Leyland – who were developing the Olympic – could only show a horizontal engine as a taster.
The first models were the STC4, a lightweight integral product with bus bodywork built by Sentinel to Beadle design, and the SLC4, which was supplied as a chassis for outside bodying as bus or coach, although most were bodied by Beadle as coaches. Six-cylinder models STC6 and SLC6 followed after a couple of years, the latter with a wider choice of bodywork. Unfortunately Sentinel’s reputation in the bus world began as non-existent, started to sink because of early problems with engines and engine mountings, and never really recovered. The company gave up building road vehicles in 1956.
With the exception of Ribble, who were involved in the design process and purchased a total of 20 Sentinels, most buyers were small independents, of which Browns of Donnington Wood in Shropshire was one of the best known. The STC4 shown here was new as a Sentinel demonstrator, and the SLC4 had been converted by the operator from a centre-entrance coach to a front-entrance omo bus by the time these photos were taken in 1968. Both vehicles are still in existence.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Peter Williamson

———

06/11/11 – 17:14

"Following GUJ 608′s photo from Peter Williamson, in Brown’s colours.

GUJ 608_2_lr

Here’s a photo I took of her yesterday (6th Nov 2011) at the Aston Manor Museum, Birmingham. The museum officially closed on 30th Oct, but they helpfully let me in. I couldn’t discover whose livery it was painted in, but maybe it was the one it wore whilst a demonstrator, bearing in mind it shows Senitinel in the number box.
Its history, prior to Brown’s ownership, was demonstrator, then Maryland Coaches, East London, for four years, then Warners of Tewkesbury, for four years. The future of the museum’s collection is now uncertain, as they must vacate the building by 31st Dec.."

Chris Hebbron

———

07/11/11 – 12:08

GUJ 608 is currently in the livery it wore as a Sentinel demonstrator at the beginning of its life, although it is believed that it kept this colour scheme while with Maryland Coaches. Warners repainted it in their two-tone green livery.

Neville Mercer

———

08/01/12 – 11:38

I noted with interest the bus painted blue with Dinnington as its destination – Hills of Whiston used to make Sentinel buses and two were supplied to a local company – Wigmore’s that ran between Dinnington and Sheffield – passing
en route Whiston. Could this be one of the two actual buses. They also produced buses for a firm called Camplejohn. Hope this is of some interest !

H Tompkin

———

The destination is Donnington, suggesting that it still has a Browns blind.
As far as I can ascertain, the only Sentinel that ran for Wigmores of Dinnington was JWW 316. Apparently a second one (unidentified) was exhibited in Wigmores livery at the 1950 Commercial Motor Show, but was never delivered.

Peter Williamson

———

10/01/12 – 12:00

Ah! Dear old Wiggy’s. As a slip of a boy (13 or so) I wrote to Wiggy’s and got a very nice invitation to their Dinnington depot. At the time it was in the West Riding – hence the registrations – but post 1974 became part of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. [South Yorkshire is geographically correct - if not historically - and better than Humberside. What was wrong with the Ridings anyway? Did the London centric Civil Servants not understand them?]

David Oldfield

———

31/12/12 – 07:10

The original livery was cream/green and it was Donnington, this bus was part a fleet of Sentinels that belonged to H. Brown and Sons, H. Brown being Harry Brown who was my late great grandfather, look at Made in Shrewsbury for history of the Sentinels.

Does anyone know where this bus is now?

Phil Brown

———

31/12/12 – 12:35

The past year has been a torrid time for Aston Manor Museum staff, first moving to what they thought was a secure site, then having to move again. Transferring, by road, some frail items, like part-trams and other barely roadworthy vehicles, proved difficult. They are still near their original site, however and, I assume, GUJ 608 is still with them. They hope to re-open around Easter.

Chris Hebbron

———

01/01/13 – 11:41

There is an earlier reference to Camplejohn Bros. This company operated in the Barnsley area before being acquired Yorkshire Traction.
They operated a number of Sentinels most of which can be seen here: www.jsh1949.co.uk/

Andrew Beever

———

01/01/13 – 17:32

Re the above link to pics of Camplejohn vehicles, the TTC 882 depicted was, as can be seen but not expressly stated, an Atkinson Alpha. All the other vehicles shown were Sentinels – apart from the obvious Dennis Lancet, of course.

David Call

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15/01/13 – 06:14

Stumbled across the picture of the blue Sentinel. I remember the first of these being operated by A C Wigmore (1949) on their Dinnington to Sheffield service. They seemed so modern and advanced when compared to the cab single deck Leylands, operated by East Midlands. As a small boy, I would always watch for this new bus and I remember keeping a blue chalk drawn sketch of it on the inside of my school desk, all through the year. How I wished to drive one!

David Ives

———

15/01/13 – 14:46

I’ve recently had a visit to the new AMRTM site and my report is at www.focustransport.org.uk/  Due to the building’s smaller size many of their vehicles are being stored off site, and I am assuming this is also the case of the Sentinel which is not at the new site. AMRTM now have a facebook page to keep people up to date about their collection.

Ken Jones

———

15/01/13 – 16:36

The AMRTM Sentinel belongs to Richard Gray who is a Director. It is I believe at their off site storage and not on display.
A sister vehicle belonging to Dave Wheatley of Kenilworth is currently undergoing restoration and I understand could be roadworthy in late 2013

Roger Burdett


12/08/13 – 10:06

It is good to see the old sentinels again that I used to drive on the service route Donnington to Oakengates and also help maintain them.
They were great years and I believe Browns were the first to introduce one man operated vehicles and later were one of or maybe the first who introduced exact fair payment on entrance.
I used to drive both of the above with HNT 49 being the faster of the two able to do some 45 mph.
Brilliant years.

John Millington


12/08/13 – 14:23

When I was in the RAF at Patrington, East Yorkshire in 1955/6 we often travelled on the buses and coaches of Connor and Graham of Easington, Spurn Point. The small firm had a most interesting and varied fleet, one of which was a Sentinel JWF 176, acquired new. My memories of it are of a comfortable and, for the time, spritely vehicle. On occasions it would operate the 2300 hours on Sunday evenings from Leeds Bridge Street back to our Camp. I’ll never forget the time when JWF 176 arrived, driven by a disgruntled chap called "Jock" who didn’t know the meaning of the phrase "vehicle sympathy." In the early hours of Monday morning as we sped downhill past the race course into sleepy Beverley the exhaust silencer blew open – without even reducing velocity one iota Jock sped on towards the even sleepier Holderness – I wouldn’t be surprised if all the good residents of the many villages en route scrambled for their WW2 gas masks and tin shelters, under the impression that the War was not over after all. The RAF Police sergeant in the guardroom, and his Alsatian, were overcome with shock………… and the epic journey passed into history !!

Chris Youhill


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 23rd July 2014