Old Bus Photos

Huddersfield Corporation – Karrier MS2 – CVH 743 – 543

CVH 743_fullshot
Copyright Ian Wild

Huddersfield Corporation
1947 rebodied 1961
Karrier MS2
East Lancs H40/32R

On a day trip to Huddersfield on 30th May 1967 I travelled on service 40 to Bradley, Leeds Road on 543. Trolleybuses were replaced by motor buses on this cross town route to Longwood a few weeks later on 12th July. In those relatively traffic free days the trolleys could easily turn in the wide junction on the main A62 Leeds Road at Bradley which is now a major multi lane traffic signal controlled intersection. Had I known more about the system then I would have travelled on the other half of the service to the more picturesque Longwood terminus where after from negotiating narrow streets the trolleys turned by reversing on to a concrete platform built out above the sharply falling ground.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

01/09/11 – 11:03

The sight of the trolleybuses poised on that "built out" platform at Longwood always makes me literally cringe with terror. The effects of even a minor brake or other failure, or possibly the slippery wet sole of a driver’s shoe, don’t bear thinking about. I’ve had to do a few hair raising manoeuvres in my time but nothing to compare with this. As a matter of interest, I wonder if there ever were actually any mishaps at this location ??

Chris Youhill

01/09/11 – 11:06

Huddersfield had a strong tradition for re-bodying its trolleybuses and started a scheme in 1950 when 28 pre-war Karrier E6 were done by Roe and this continued with the post-war Karrier MS2 and Sunbeam MS2 from 1955 to 1962. Both Roe and East Lancs supplied new bodies for these MS2s and 41 were done.
I have very fond memories of this fleet and fortunately did ride on most of the routes including the marvellous service to Marsden in the days when many of the original Park Royal Karrier E6s were still in service.
Lovely memories Ian and thank you for this posting of 543.

Richard Fieldhouse

01/09/11 – 11:09

The concrete platform at the Longwood terminus was actually built as a trolleybus turntable, one of only two in the UK the other one being at Christchurch on the Bournemouth system.
On 13th February 1967 Sunbeam S7A 634 of 1959 reversed too far and toppled over into the field below. It was badly damaged and never ran again. In 1965 634 became the last trolleybus in the Huddersfield fleet to receive a full repaint.
For some reason all the Huddersfield trolley’s that were re-bodied were always referred to as rebuilds.


As requested a closer view of 543.

CVH 743_closeup

01/09/11 – 17:57

With respect to the occasion at Longwood when 634 toppled off the reversing platform and ended its career, I had an interesting conversation last year with a fine chap who had been a fitter at Longroyd Bridge depot for years about just this particular incident.
He told me that he knew the chap who had been driving 634 that day, and emphasised what a good young driver he was. Apparently he’d started off on trolleys, had switched over to motor buses, and not long before the accident, had resumed work on the trolleybuses again.
He suggested that during the reversing manoeuvre, 634 had rolled back rather quicker than normal, and the lad panicked a bit, and not thinking straight, had accidentally put his foot on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, the controls on the trolleys being the reverse of the normal configuration fitted to buses.
According to this gent, the bus wasn’t damaged that badly at all in the fall, but the recovery men made such a mess of getting the vehicle back on its feet that it was summarily written off, a fact which obviously still very much bothered him some forty-three years later!
Out of interest, there’s a photograph of the unfortunate 634 lying in the shrubs and trees off to the side of the turntable in the David and Charles book "The History of the British Trolleybus" published many moons ago.

Dave Careless

02/09/11 – 07:27

Gosh Dave, what a frightening tale about an event which I’m so sorry happened, and especially to a good driver – so regrettably my fears seem to have been justified. I imagine that the driver and conductor must surely have been injured ?? The turntable at Christchurch in Bournemouth was an odd affair but at least it was on terra firma and, being hand operated by the crew, the operation was at speed slow enough to virtually preclude anything untoward.

Chris Youhill

02/09/11 – 07:29

Apparently the batch of which 543 was one of them were actually Sunbeams but all had Karrier badges for some reason.


02/09/11 – 11:14

There is another picture of 634 suspended in mid air during recovery operations in "Huddersfield Trolleybuses" by Stephen Lockwood published by Middleton Press in 2002


02/09/11 – 11:15

The matter of car/bus throttles being between clutch and throttle in the ‘thirties has been mentioned before, but not the reversal of the ‘throttle’ and ‘brake’ positions on trolleybuses. Whether it was universal (it was certainly common), I’m not sure, but I am sure that these aberrations were certainly dangerous! And especially in cases where bus/trolleybus drivers interchanged.

Chris Hebbron

02/09/11 – 11:35

Karrier badged MS2 trolleybuses were also supplied to South Lancashire Transport as 66 to 71 but they were taxed as Sunbeams. As Huddersfield was the "spiritual home" of Karrier up to 1935, it is understandable that they wanted their MS2 trolleybuses badged as Karriers. However this was short-lived as Rootes sold the Sunbeam and Karrier Trolleybus interests to Brockhouse Engineering in 1946, but retained the Karrier name for their use on specialist local authority vehicles such as dust carts and tower wagons.

Richard Fieldhouse

02/09/11 – 14:43

To take the Karrier story on a further step, after the sale to the Rootes Group in July 1935, the bus building part of the business was transferred from Huddersfield to the Sunbeam Moorfield Works in Upper Villiers Street, Wolverhampton, which Rootes had also acquired in October of the same year. Then, in December 1935, AEC became interested in Sunbeam, and the managing director C. W. Reeve and the chairman of AEC both joined the board. Out of this came the production of a Sunbeam bus built on an AEC chassis but powered by a Gardner engine, but very few were sold. By the end of the war AEC had decided to dispose of its interest in Sunbeam, and it was sold to the Brockhouse Group in 1946. The trolleybus side of the business was purchased by Guy from Brockhouse in January 1949, and from then on, all trolleybuses from this source carried the Sunbeam name. In 1953 Guy transferred Sunbeam production to an extension of its own Fallings Park factory. I have gleaned much of this information from the following sites:

Roger Cox

02/09/11 – 14:44

I don’t think the crew were seriously hurt, Chris, at least there was no mention of it during our conversation, but they would undoubtedly have been bruised and shaken up. I think the incident definitely belongs in the category of "serious dewirement"!
Thanks for the tip about the recovery picture, Eric, must see if I can go about obtaining a copy of that book.

Dave Careless

Try http://www.abebooks.co.uk/ will deliver over to you I think.


07/06/14 – 08:29

I have several photocopies of that accident with 634. The original newspaper article and photo’s ,I sent to The Trolleybus Museum at Doncaster.
I left Huddersfield in 1962, and England in 1967, but to this day retain my enthusiasm for my childhood (and adulthood!) hobby of Huddersfield Trolleybuses.
They were all magnificent , and well maintained vehicles, and I saw them all from 401 to 640 inclusive.Think I rode on almost all of them.

Rodney Senior, Hampton, New Brunswick, Canada.


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Margo’s of Thornton Heath – AEC Regal I – CPK 168

Margo's of Thornton Heath - AEC Regal - CPK 168

Margo’s of Thornton Heath
AEC Regal I
Harrington  C33F

This picture, taken in 1960 or 1961, shows an AEC Regal of either late pre-war or early post-war vintage – the mechanical specification was virtually identical – with a straight stepped waistrail body of unknown (to me) manufacture. I would suspect that the chassis is of the usual 7.7/crash gearbox variety, but the front wing treatment is not of standard AEC pattern of the period. The number CPK 168 is a Surrey registration, and, when photographed, the coach was being operated by the once well known (certainly to the Traffic Commissioners!) firm of Margo’s of Thornton Heath, in whose Zion Place premises it is seen. Can our Forum experts supply more information?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

29/08/11 – 08:00

Gut reaction – a pre war Harrington. Those odd flat plates in front of the wings I suspect is an operator addition.

David Oldfield

Margo closeup




29/08/11 – 08:01

An observation… do you notice how the lack of a canopy gives you nowhere to put the wing mirror- it is, I imagine, that tiny thing on the wing…





29/08/11 – 08:02

The bodywork I am certain is by Harrington. It bears a very strong resemblance to some supplied to North Western on Leyland Tigers in the 1934-1937 period. Some of these were rebodied by Windover in 1950 and now I’m wondering if any of the original bodies were sold on for further use. Pure speculation of course, I don’t even know if this vehicle has its original body or not but although the mouldings are slightly different at the rear from the North Western ones, it is a faint possibility. The front wing treatment is obviously nothing to do with AEC, but an attempt to give a more up to date look, in fact, if the vertical part wasn’t so deep, it could almost be mistaken for a Regal III!

Chris Barker

29/08/11 – 11:07

Having had relations in nearby Streatham I have many vivid memories of seeing the Margo’s fleet in early postwar years – I have to say that the little quip about them being well known "to the Traffic Commissioners" comes as no surprise if casual observations are anything to go by !!
By the way Joe, I know it takes some believing but nearside mirrors were not legally necessary until a date which just escapes me, but well after WW2. I just can’t imagine how anyone managed to avoid a "crushing" nearside accident for even an hour let alone day after day, and I certainly wouldn’t have liked it.

Chris Youhill

29/08/11 – 16:07

Certainly in later years, Surrey Motors of Sutton were a consistent AEC/Harrington operator. Could it have originated with them?

Mike Grant

29/08/11 – 16:09

Chris- when you consider that there were then probably more bikes on the road, you had little way of telling who was coming up the inside- and on this photo but not pre mid fifties, no trafficator either. Your jacket may have had a white patch on the right arm for you to stick your arm out of the little window whilst getting 7 tons+ on to unassisted full lock…. but telling people on your nearside that you were turning left…? Perhaps that’s what conductors were for…?!


I do concur with the view that this is a Harrington body – the cab design in particular does have the look of that coachbuilder. I went to school in neighbouring Selhurst, and I often saw the Margo fleet, including this Regal, round and about in the area. Later, I used to pop round to the Margo yard to see what they had acquired, and it was on such a trip that I luckily managed to get this photo. Often the gates would be shut and barred, probably to keep the Traffic Commissioner’s inspectors out as much as the general public. The transport press back in the 1960s and 70s regularly gave hilarious accounts of the skirmishes between Margo and the authorities. The excuses for the absence of drivers’ hours and fleet maintenance records always fell into the "dog ate my homework" category. Later, Margo rebranded as International Coach Lines, and bought a number of the early Bristol VRL double deck coaches.
Chris’s point about nearside wing mirrors is correct. Even when they became obligatory some buses, including, surprisingly, those of London Transport, had miniscule postage stamp sized efforts on the nearside.

Roger Cox

30/08/11 – 08:07

That was a good idea about Surrey Motors: yes, it was their no 15, new in August 1937 and sold in May 1955 and it was indeed a Harrington body.

Michael Wadman

30/08/11 – 19:21

Many thanks for that information, Michael. I often saw the smart AEC Regals of Surrey Motors in their primrose/brown livery during my schooldays in the Croydon area, and I did wonder if CPK 168 originated with them, but couldn’t find out much about the fleet history. I am surprised that this coach dated from as long ago as 1937, and it is a tribute to the quality of AECs and Harringtons of that period that it was still around in the early 1960s. In fact, given the standard of mechanical care meted out by Margo, its survival was little short of miraculous.
Sadly, the Surrey Motors concern was taken over by Epsom Coaches (H. R. Richmond) in 1980. Tempora mutantur.

Roger Cox

01/09/11 – 07:42

Strictly speaking, Epsom Coaches only acquired the licences of Surrey Motors, not the business itself. Surrey Motors Limited also owned property and this became the primary concern after 1980. The original company (incorporated Feb 17th 1919) still exists as a subsidiary of the Stock Exchange quoted property company Panther Securities PLC but the only (and very tenuous) connection nowadays with the PSV world is that one of the shareholders in Panther also has shares in a number of bus companies.

Nigel Turner

Re Surrey Motors. I see two of their preserved vehicles every year at the Goodwood (Motor) Circuit Revival Meeting. Pictures are here at this link. I’m certain that you know these coaches well but they will remind readers of the livery. Both are in splendid condition.

Richard Leaman

06/09/11 – 07:28

Michael has dated the coach CPK 168 to 1937, but my records for it show it in fact to have been 2 years older, so new in 1935.
It was one of four such coaches delivered to Surrey Motors that year, with fleet numbers 13-16, and registered CPH 624/5 and CPK 168/9. Dates I have are 5/35 for the CPH pair, 7/35 for the CPK ones, and these are shown as such in the list of pre-war AEC Regal chassis published in 2010 by the PSV Circle (publication C1131). The earlier dates also match with Surrey registration issues – during 1937 they had gone on to issue all the F multiples (FPA to FPL) and moved on as far as GPC.
The Margo story is quite a complex one and starts with the activities of Nathan and Rose Margo who by 1920 had founded the business that was later to become Bexleyheath Transport. Several other members of the family ran other businesses later – I have some notes on the subject which I will look out and provide a summary during the next few days.

Derek Jones

28/10/11 – 14:40

Margos acquired the vehicle from Simpson of Penge in November 1960 who purchased it from Surrey Motors in May 1955. I believe it was finally withdrawn and scrapped in December 1961

Graham Wright

29/10/11 – 12:26

Was it not Margos who ordered a large batch of Bristol LH/Plaxton coaches and then cancelled them when they were built? I drove DWT 641H at Stanley Gath Coaches of Dewsbury and I recall that Moxons at Oldcoates had DWT 643H.

Philip Carlton

30/10/11 – 14:51

It may also be of interest that in February 1948 Surrey Motors sent CPK 168 to Watson & sons, Lowestoft for a complete body overhaul also adding one seat to become C33F.
Further refurbishment was carried out by Harringtons in 1951.
The vehicle was converted to diesel (probably 7.7 litre) by AEC in 1953. Articles about Surrey Motors of Sutton can be found in Buses Extra Nos 2 & 22 if that helps.

Graham Wright

02/11/11 – 16:10

The Margo story is worthy of a book on it’s own. I worked for Atlas Coaches of Edgware run by Michael Margo and his cousin Tony Plaskow. Michael was Cyril’s son who I believe was really called Isadore. Isadore and Gerald were the executors to Nathan’s will when he died in 1959. Louis (Lou) Margo owned Margos of Streatham, later renamed International Coachlines. He was assisted by his sons Nigel and Dudley. Bernard and Gerald Margo ran Bexleyheath Transport and I understand that Sally Margo operated as Paynes of Croydon. I am still in contact with Ronnie Dalton who still operates from the Nursery Road premises as International Coaches and worked for the Margo family for many years. There was also Malcolm Margo, these days known as Malcolm Morris with transport interests in the Channel Islands and another brother who I cannot recall who briefly worked as Transport Manager for Kirby’s of Bushey Heath in the 1970′s.

Chris Sullivan

10/01/12 – 07:27

It was Alan Margo who worked for Kirbys. Bernard is his brother and their father was Charlie Margo who owned Margos of Penge. Alan and Bernard ran that company with their dad and later became known as Europa Coaches of Penge

Ronnie Dalton

04/07/12 – 05:21

Margos of Thorton Heath? that brings back old memories like when I was driving out of Merton for London Transport during a 60,s overtime ban a few of us went to Margo,s at Thorton Heath with the intention of recouping some of our lost earnings (from OT). My mates made a B line for the AEC Regents (preselect versions) I was too slow and got left with an ex Eastern Counties high bridge Bristol K to operate a school shuttle to swimming baths in Chelsea. I made my way there via Streatham and I shall never forget the cheering and clapping from the crews and inspectors outside A K garage as I made a pigs ear of the gear changes, thank God I mastered it by the time I got to Chelsea.


15/07/12 – 17:17

Apart from Margo’s I remember (rather have dragged up memories from my schooldays over 60 years ago, 1948) Timpsons, Bourne & Balmer (Taken over by Timpsons) and much more ephemeral, Omnia coaches of Holmesdale Road Bromley. (grey matter now in gear), in particular not in own dark green were 2 ex LT (LTL) single deckers (Scooters) still in red with no signwriting petrol (still) used on schools work GO xxxx series from 1929-31. Can find little info on the latter company and even less photos (nil). I think (only think) they were taken over by Metrobus of Orpington.

Steve Oxbrow

06/10/12 – 07:36

This vehicle was used in the mid 1930s to show a device that if fitted to the front wheels would stop a person been crushed.
A few still images from a short film of the time can be seen at this link

Philip Howard

07/10/12 – 08:29

Thanks, Philip, and thanks also to Chris H who has put a link on Flikr to this site. Interestingly, the picture shows the Regal with its original Harrington front wing arrangement.

Roger Cox

11/12/12 – 10:01

Re comment 2/11/11 Paynes Coaches was owned and operated by Jack Payne from 1 Kemble Road Croydon packing up in the early 70s, and next door to him at number 3 was Taffy Thomas who ran just the one coach, the last being a Ford Plaxton 52 seater which he sold in November 1975.

Michael W

29/01/13 – 18:01

Margos provided a school coach from Mackenzie Road in Beckenham (just down the hill from their base) to Bromley Technical High School near Keston. I used it from 1960 to 1965 at 12/6d per term. My Mum would make me eat porridge in the mornings and what with being bounced around on the journey and the smell of the pig farm alongside the school, made for some interesting mornings!
The driver was a Mr Farminer who would make sure we all sat in our allotted seats. On occasions a smaller coach would arrive and there would be a bun fight for the fewer seats. Inevitably there would be 3 of us on a double seat and 6 across the back. The best bit was sucking Jubbly’s on the way home in the summer!!

Terry Hammond

24/02/13 – 08:21

My Father and Mother started the business known as Margo’s Coaches Streatham soon after their marriage in 1945, shortly after they purchased some land in Thornton Heath to garage the coaches. The main stay of the business was Workmen contracts School runs and Private hire. I joined the business straight after leaving school at the age of 14 when we expanded the business providing coaches for the incoming tourist trade, working with companies like Thomas Cook, Globus Gateway and Miki Travel.
During the period that I was managing director we had a number of related subsidiaries:
South London Bus Company
Trans World Coaches ltd
Margo’s Luxury Coaches Streatham Ltd
International Coach Lines Ltd
Trans World Coaches Ltd was sold to Trafalgar Tours International in 1981 at which time I severed all my connection with the business.

No name given

CPK 168_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

30/09/13 – 08:00

I met Malcolm Margo in 1990 where he replied to one of my advertisements. Here began a long friendship. From memory his brother Michael was the only member of the family operating coaches out of South London. Malcolm and his cousins by then had pulled out of operating coaches. By contrast Malcolm took more interest in buying, selling, swapping coaches, cars, trucks sometimes under hilarious circumstances. In later years he enjoyed Guernsey where he carried on trading. Unforgettable character.



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York – West Yorkshire – Bristol K5G – OWT 201 – YDG 88

York - West Yorkshire - Bristol K5G - OWT 201 - YDG 88
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

York – West Yorkshire Road Car Company
Bristol K5G
ECW H30/26 re-bodied H28/28R in 1955

This bus is not what it seems as it started life as a 1939 Bristol K5G with ECW H30/26 body, numbered Y 702 (YDG 72) and registered DWU 995. A previous posting shows one of these buses of this batch (Y 706) in original condition in York. Re-numbered as YDG 88, this bus is seen in “new” condition in York in 1955.
West Yorkshire decided on a major rebuild of the K5G chassis which included new side frames and re-registering for this last tranche of eleven buses that were re-bodied by the ECW. These buses were 26ft long so the ECW body which was of the style to fit the 27 ft Bristol KS chassis was shortened. This is evident by the reduced width of the front side cab window and also the upper saloon side front windows. I believe similar ECW bodies were supplied to Brighton, Hove and District for their re-bodied ex London Transport Bristol K6As in 1954/55.
The re-registering the chassis was not the usual practice by West Yorkshire as many of their single decker Bristol J chassis received new side frames in the period 1946/47 when their bodies were rebuilt but kept the same registrations as did all the earlier 1937/38 prewar re-bodied Bristol K5Gs. Maybe someone can explain the policy of when to re-register a chassis. I wonder whether the York residents thought YDG 88 was a new bus as I think the Gardner 5LW engine was still rigidly mounted so a loud noise and vibration would be evident for the passengers.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Richard Fieldhouse

A full list of Bristol codes can be seen here.

A full list of West Yorkshire codes can be seen here.


21/08/11 – 16:24

A most fascinating resume of this particular batch of rebuilds – I wonder if the method used to "get rid of" the extra 12 inches of the more modern bodywork caused any degree of cramping in the cab – I imagine it must have done. The destination blind brings back far more recent memories for me of my days helping out willingly at Selby Depot for Caldaire/British Bus/Cowie/Arriva. Our normal York services were to Leeds, Doncaster, Goole or Pontefract, but unexpectedly an evening service (409) was commenced from Piccadilly to Fulford Broadway – un-necessary, and competition gone mad !!

Chris Youhill


22/08/11 – 07:45

Chris, the KS had a longer bonnet with the front bulkhead set back a bit to accommodate the Gardner 6LW engine, hence the greater length of the cab. I imagine that the rebuilt body on the K5G and K6A would have retained the original cab dimensions of those models. A similar situation existed with the Guy Arab III, which had the extra length for a 6LW in the "snout", whereas the Arab IV had the bulkhead repositioned slightly further back to avoid feature of the projecting radiator.

Roger Cox


23/08/11 – 10:02

It’s been something of a puzzle to many why this particular batch of West Yorkshire K-type ‘rehabs’ was re-registered Richard. When their prewar chassis were overhauled at WY Central Works, they were rebuilt with new chassis side members, and all other major units and components were overhauled, and refitted to the chassis. New PV2 radiators were also fitted, to give a more modern appearance. As you say, earlier batches of WY K-types similarly treated were not re-registered. Whether the ‘Yorkies’ also had new cross-members and outriggers fitted to the chassis on overhaul I do not know, but it may be a possibility and thus the chassis could have been deemed to be ‘new’ and re-registered?
In John F Gill’s informative ‘History of York-West Yorkshire’ the author states that the JOC decided that YDG66-76 "should be rebuilt with new chassis utilising the original running units and fitted with new bodies at the approximate cost of £2500 per vehicle, and that if possible the vehicles should be re-registered". Later in the text John mentions that the old bodies had been removed and scrapped at Harrogate, new chassis parts fitted at WY’s Central Works costing £272, and the new ECW bodies cost £1077 each. Presumably labour and other costs would have then taken the figure nearer to the aforementioned £2500. All fascinating stuff, but which also begs the question – why was the batch also renumbered following rebuild to become YDG82-92? What handsome machines though, and very ‘York’. The lack of adverts on YDG88 also shows up the shine of the hand-painted coachwork a treat. Very nice!

Brendan Smith


23/08/11 – 14:13

Reregistration of rebuilds seems to be a complex subject. Yorkshire Traction, Yorkshire Woollen and County Motors all rebodied Leyland PS2s as double deckers, as they had a surplus of single deckers. While the YWD ones kept the registrations of the original chassis those in the YTC fleet were given marks contemporary with the new bodies. Presumably Dewsbury CBC was not willing to reregister these rebuilt vehicles but Barnsley was.
County tried to give theirs new registrations but Huddersfield CBC would not allow it so they were transferred to YTC and reregistered by Barnsley.
Bristol Tramways rebuilt some early 1930s B types with L type chassis in 1949 and the wartime bodies were lengthened. Later they were given 1949 bodies yet they always retained the 1930s registrations. This was to get round limits on the number of new chassis Bristol could build after nationalisation by classifying these as rebuilds, including retaining the B chassis number with an L suffix.

Geoff Kerr


24/08/11 – 08:19

One aspect which has gone unnoticed/unmentioned is the the whole range of the DG index was a Gloucestershire registration mark!

Chris Hebbron


24/08/11 – 10:30

Chris H I spotted that but after reading the first posting again, I think that was a fleet number rather than the registration as it quote a different one..
Quote "This bus is not what it seems as it started life as a 1939 Bristol K5G with ECW H30/26 body, numbered Y 702 (YDG 72) and registered DWU 995. A previous posting shows one of these buses of this batch (Y 706) in original condition in York. Re-numbered as YDG 88, this bus is seen in “new” condition in York in 1955."
I was puzzled by the Gloucestershire link as well!

Richard Leaman


24/08/11 – 20:48

You’re right, Richard. For example, I was thinking the reference Y702 was the fleet number, followed by the reg’n mark, whereas it was the body, then fleet number. Silly me!

Chris Hebbron


24/08/11 – 20:50

YDG is the fleet number! Was I dreaming again? What this has to do with Gloucestershire registration marks I do not follow! YDG stands for York..double deck..Gardner.
This is a wonderfully evocative post, and a super photograph. What I would give to hear the wonderful sounds they made just once more!
I have been attempting to research which other Tilling fleets had this short style of KS body apart from York. Brighton H and D rebodied their ex London Bs to this style, and Hants and Dorset also rebodied some Ks to this style, some open top.
Something tells me there were others. Please can anyone advise?

John Whitaker


25/08/11 – 07:07

That is a very interesting question John W, something which has intrigued me, not so much who had them but how the final outcome was determined. It shows, in a way, that the Bristol K could have had a four bay body all along but of course they didn’t really come into vogue until the late 1940′s and ECW hadn’t designed such a thing until the advent of the KS. When other chassis makes arrived for rebodying, however, the five bay style was usually retained, I’m thinking of Guy Arabs and an AEC Regent for Midland General in 1955 and Guy Arabs, Leyland PD1′s and Albions for Scottish companies. Were former Tilling companies able to state any requirements or was it entirely down to the drawing office at Lowestoft, or were other factors involved?

Chris Barker


26/08/11 – 06:55

Very intriguing Chris, I agree. Perhaps the nationalised ownership had something to do with it in that Bristols, the "official" make, could be rebuilt with a "modern" look, whereas non Bristols did not matter in the same way, even if under BTC control as was Mansfield.
In the case of York-West Yorkshire, I strongly suspect that these vehicles were presented to the public as new, which, in a way, they were, but just re-using reconditioned running units. Bristol may have had a stock of obsolescent K chassis frames, with no sales potential due to the KS(W), and LD being the vogue. It would perhaps have been difficult also to fit KS frames, as other mitigating circumstances would apply, such as prop shaft lengths etc. I am pretty sure that the Brighton and Hants and Dorset rebodies retained original chassis frames, as they were not re registered , but I am open to correction as always!

John Whitaker


26/08/11 – 06:56

Chris, ECW did build a batch of twelve experimental 4-bay bodies on K-type chassis in 1948/49, and one actually went to York-West Yorkshire (YDB73). Brighton Hove & District and Bristol also received one each, with Eastern Counties taking the remaining nine. An ex-ECOC example was stored at West Yorkshire’s Grove Park depot in Harrogate for a while in the 1980′s. It looked in need of a lot of love and attention, and I don’t know who owned it or what happened to it, but hope such a rare vehicle survived into preservation. The body did look a bit ‘odd’ though, as it was of full four-bay construction rather than four-and-a-quarter. The overall outline was of a standard highbridge ECW body of the period, but with the main side windows ‘stretched’ lengthways. Front and rear upper deck side windows remained short in length however, as on a standard K-type body. This, and the lack of a quarter window or panel ahead of the rear platform looked decidedly strange, and the later 4-bay design used on the KS/KSW chassis looked to me, a more balanced and happier design.

Brendan Smith


26/08/11 – 14:35

I have always loved the ECW high-bridge special four and a quarter bay body built on the Bristol K chassis 1954 /55. I bought the photo of YDG 88 posted above on a West Yorkshire Information Service Tour in 1956 and now sharing it with others has brought a great deal of information about these lovely Bristol K5G buses. I believe there were only 27 of these special bodies built. Brighton had 6, Hants & Dorset had 10 and York West Yorkshire had 11 and all were re bodies. If anybody has further information of more than the 27 I have listed, please submit a comment.

Richard Fieldhouse


27/08/11 – 07:27

Quoting John above..
" Bristol may have had a stock of obsolescent K chassis frames, with no sales potential due to the KS(W), and LD being the vogue."
I used to live very near to the Bristol Commercial Vehicle works (Motor Constructional Works if preferred!) and when riding my three wheeler bike past the open yard, even then I saw that piles of brake drums, axle assemblies, chassis rails, steering components etc. etc, were left just lying outside on a patch of ground right next to the main Bath Road and completely unprotected except for the silver paint! No railings, no fence, no security and left there for years! Selecting parts for one off designs would have not been any problem!
Try doing that now and keeping them there overnight would be a challenge. Different days!

Richard Leaman


30/08/11 – 08:01

That indeed would explain it Richard! Piles of chassis frames etc at the Bristol works when you passed on your bike. We used to make similar excursions on our bikes around various depots and scrap yards in the Bradford area. Times have changed as you say!
Perhaps new chassis sides were fitted to the H & D and B H & D rebodies, even if not re-registered.
There were no lowbridge equivalents as far as I can see, and it was about this time when H and D had some K chassis rebodied with lowbridge ECW bodies built to the original 5 bay style, some, I believe, as "8 footers"
All detailed in ECW Part 2, a book I have unfortunately mislaid!

John Whitaker


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 2nd August 2014