Old Bus Photos

White Bus Service – Gilford 1680T – EV 7580

White Bus Service - Gilford 1680T - EV 7580 
Copyright Chris Youhill.

White Bus Service (Wilson and Hughes Ltd. Bridlington) 
1932
Gilford 1680T
Wycombe C32F

Here is one of my favourite pictures which I took as a teenager with my old roll film box camera. Obviously the standard is very poor, but it brings back lovely memories, for me, of happy times as a devotee of the several small operators in Bridlington in those days. The vehicle was new in 1932 to Hillman’s Saloon Coaches Limited of London, and in April 1934 passed to London Passenger Transport Board being immediately transferred to Eastern National (fleet number 3524). It came to Bridlington in May 1939, being withdrawn by White Bus in January 1950. Still in khaki livery, no doubt as a result of wartime camouflage for the sensitive coastal area of Bridlington, it is seen in the railway station yard where it languished inexplicably until it was taken away and scrapped in 1953. Of particular note is the endearing abbreviation of "Flamborough" to Flamboro. Where oh where have the last sixty years gone ??
The varied and wonderful fleets of the White Bus Service and of R. Williamson and Sons, both of whom managed to provide local bus services in the resort against the might of the equally commendable East Yorkshire Motor Services, were a joy to have experienced.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Youhill

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Oh Chris, what a wonderful evocative photo, where has the Brid of the 50′s gone as well? I well remember the station yard, when it was a station full of West Riding steam loco’s! It is good to see photos of some of the smaller operators in the area; is there any more where this came from. The black & white is wonderfully atmospheric, not to say the subject also. As you may be aware the EYMS website has photos of all of the White Bus fleet which was purchases by EYMS

Keith Easton

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What a wonderfully evocative picture which captures the sadness of a loyal servant now discarded. The Gruss Air Springs really show up on this low-profile shot.
I think I only ever saw one Gilford, a Hera (their last model?), as a fairground vehicle on Wimbledon Common in pre-Womble days, around 1950. It really did look quite smart and I took a photo (with my box Brownie), sadly long lost. But your shot has made up for it, Chris!
The one outstanding ‘true’ coach that LT inherited was from Hillman, an AEC Renown with Harrington body. Withdrawn in 1939, unusually it was retained at Tilling’s former depot at Bull’s Yard, Peckham, where many unusual vehicles were stored for the ‘duration’. The yard was bombed in the Blitz and it was a casualty, along with many other gems.

Chris Hebbron

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Being a Bradford lad, we had regular holidays in Brid, and later owned an old Bradford tram at Skipsea as a bungalow.
I vividly remember WBS and Williamsons, as well as Boddys, and can well remember WBS Bedford OWBs, and can still see the rear of an early 1930s single decker with oval window, which could well have been this Gilford. I also seem to remember a 6 wheel Guy double decker. of Williamsons ( ex Leicester?) and both Williamson and Boddys had ex YWD centre entrance TD2s, the latter on the Filey-Flamborough service. The later Halifax Regents, and London Daimlers of WBS come vividly to mind! Super days!! I was about 5 or 6 when these memories occurred, and I have similar nostalgia from Morecambe, where we also had holidays in the late war and early post war years.

John Whitaker

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Wonderful memories of Bridlington John and thanks indeed for them. Sadly though the Williamson’s Guy six wheeler is only a happy dream – don’t we all have them eh ?? – but is actually very close to reality. The Firm operated two ex Doncaster giants – one was a Leyland Titanic and the other an AEC Renown. The financial incredibility of such "over equipment" (petrol engined especially) on two flat town services of a little over a mile each remains for ever completely fascinating.

Chris Youhill

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Thanks Chris for following up on WBS, and clarifying my distorted 6 wheel memory!
Skipsea was a delight re. old buses… there were 2 more Doncaster 6 wheelers on the cliff top near us from about 1949.. I remember climbing into the cabs before they were "done up"! All sorts of other treasures too.
Do we have a fleet list for WBS by any chance? It will always remain one of my all time favourite fleets on the trip up to the "Lighthouse".
Great to share these memories.

John Whitaker

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Chris Youhill mentions the Leyland Titanic (clever twist on Titan!) and AEC Renown in one sentence, which made me think of all the Renown competitors which had to bow down to AEC’s successful six-wheeler. Double-deck makes/models like the Guy FCX, LGOC’s CC and LS models, Crossley’s sole Condor and the wonderfully-named Sunbeam Sikh! There were also the single-deck Leyland TS6 and TS7 T’s and D’s. Although their stars had faded by the late 1930′s, they set the scene for the ascendancy of six-wheeler trolleybuses until about 1950.

Chris Hebbron

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I do have a "sketchy" but relatively complete fleet summary for Williamson’s, and also one for White Bus Service, and will try to condense them some time soon when I have the chance.

Chris Youhill

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Hi Chris (Y), would you please be so kind as to let me have a copy when available. Thanks a lot

Keith Easton

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With reference to WBS fleet I believe the first vehicle for passenger work by user Alf Wilson was actually the boat shell of a fishing Coble put on wheels and pulled by horses. I’ve heard that Yorkshiremen are ‘tight’ in the purse area the phrase Cobbled-together takes on a new meaning up ‘ere in’t North. Reuben Williamson came a close second to this when in 1920 he fitted an ex-double deck Horse-bus body onto a Republic 2ton chassis.
At Easter 1912 their Horsebus plied the Bridlington Promenade and took £3 0s 6d in one day, this equals 726 one penny fares, hence the term coining it in?

Ian Gibbs

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01/04/11 – 07:32

Three brief comments about the White Bus Service Gilford EV 7580 shown at the top of this site:
Firstly, Chris, the colour in which you saw it in the Station yard (which I recollect as nearer to dark grey than khaki) was definitely not a hangover from war camouflage, as my clear memory (which goes back to 1943) is of all the White Buses being in their normal livery of creamy white and red; the only buses I saw in wartime camouflage were those of United (with a few exceptions).
Secondly, WBS also had a second Gilford, WG 332 (ex-W.Alexander);
Thirdly, although both were withdrawn from service in 1950 (November and January respectively) they were then stored in the garage in the Old Town for some years, both appearing in the Station yard in about 1953, for what I recall as a short time only, they both seemed to be full of junk I remember.

Patrick Hooper

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01/04/11 – 21:00

Thanks indeed Patrick for this extra information. You are no doubt right about the strange colour of EV 7580 whilst in the station yard – I wonder what on earth was the purpose behind this odd transformation. I also remember WG 332 very well from my very junior days, and in the same period I was not even aware of the locations of any premises for WBS – which is perhaps as well or poor old Dad would have been dragged even longer distances, and he was already commendably patient and tolerant about my avid interest in the buses in the Town Centre and in the West Riding here where we lived.

Chris Youhill

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14/05/11 – 18:38

I just have to tell all you guys of my experience with the White Bus Company. In the early 50′s whilst at Huddersfield Technical College, the summer breaks was a time for earning some cash! My parents lived in Flamborough village so I had to find a local job. My stepfather, Gilbert Readhead, was senior driver for the WBSC and he got me the job of bus conductor from June to September. As a result my knowledge of the Company is quite considerable. Owned jointly by Jack Wilson and Billy Hughes they ran a one bus service during the winter between Flamborough and Brid and had a minimum of 5 buses in the Summer. I could go on for a long time so I would welcome questions from anyone interested in the activities of the White Bus Company, Queen St., Bridlington.

Tim Hepworth

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24/05/11 – 07:49

A long-time friend of mine (Charlie Bullock, now aged 96) recently told of the time he took his PSV test in Scarborough during the 1930′s. All appeared to be going well as he took his steed – a Gilford – around the streets of the town. However, when the time came to carry out the hill start, Charlie said he was a little perplexed at one point, to say the least. His examiner asked him to pull up on Chain Hill, which he dutifully did. The examiner then alighted and briefly disappeared from view. On re-appearing he asked Charlie to set off when he was ready, but then remained outside the vehicle. Charlie set off, but had only driven a few yards before the examiner asked him to stop. He then disappeared again and returned holding a matchbox. Apparently he had placed this behind one of the Gilford’s front wheels in order to check that the vehicle had not rolled back at all during the hill start. Charlie was informed that as the matchbox was still in pristine condition, he could proceed with the rest of his test! Needless to say, Charlie passed that day with the Gilford, and went on to spend what he says were many happy years driving for United Automobile Services at their Scarborough depot.

Brendan Smith

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11/01/12 – 13:31

Hi Tim H, my dad remembers your stepfather, Gilbert Redhead, but sadly not you he is ninety so maybe forgiven, White Bus Service finished in 1955, sold to East Yorkshire Motors, my grandad never talked about his life, so anything I read or hear from, means I can put together a life that until now, was a mystery. Thanks

John Hughes

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18/02/12 – 16:31

Hi Tim H I have not looked at the white bus site for a while your offer for questions is generous can I mail one or two via either email to Peter or you by letter when I have time

Ian Gibbs

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19/02/12 – 16:36

Hi Ian. I too, would be interested in anything "White Bus".
In fact, if we all got together, perhaps we could assemble an accurate fleet list for White Bus, and Williamson.
As well as the HS Lion Cub, there was a WBS post war "Regal" with a Lincolnshire mark, which is not in the PSV Circle list. Chris Y., well known in these columns, is pretty well versed in all things "Brid Independent" too, dare I say!

John Whitaker

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20/02/12 – 10:39

ABE 957_lr

I can answer John’s query about the Lincolnshire registered AEC Regal. It was ABE 957 and was ex Enterprise and Silver Dawn of Scunthorpe, and before joining WBS was with an operator from far away called, I believe, "Reliance." The picture was taken by the late Robert F. Mack.

Chris Youhill

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21/02/12 – 07:11

Hi John W; off the top of my head the above WBS Regal is listed in PB17 in the list of vehcles acquired and taken over by EYMS. (But not used by them.) Count me in for any "BridBus" information, and I look forward to Ian’s book on the subject!

Keith Easton

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21/02/12 – 16:40

Great stuff Keith!
I also look forward to Ian`s book.
Wonder why Enterprise and Silver Dawn sold this Regal so soon. Is ABE a pre-war mark..? I had assumed this was a Mk2 (post war) Regal, but the more I find out, the less I know!

John Whitaker

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22/02/12 – 07:11

According to the Old Classic Car website, ABE was first used for Lincolnshire (Lindsey) from August 1937 to April 1939. (BBE registrations started in May 1939).

Stephen Ford

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22/02/12 – 07:14

John W…ABE 957 was issued in Lindsay, Lincolnshire during late February/early March 1938. Does that help or hinder?!!

Richard Leaman

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22/02/12 – 07:16

ABE was indeed a pre-war mark, issued in 1938. There was an article about Enterprise and Silver Dawn in Buses, Aug. 1965 which lists the fleet at takeover by Lincolnshire Road Car in 1950. Listed are ABE 951-956 and ABE 958/60/61. Missing are ABE 957 and ABE 959 with gaps in the fleet numbers. So, as John W asks, why would they have sold these two when they still had Regals dating from 1931/32 in the fleet in 1950! I wonder if Chris Y knows which "Reliance" company was involved in the story of ABE 957? The very nice looking bodywork was by Plaxton.

Chris Barker

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22/02/12 – 07:18

Whilst still in "Bridlington Independent" mode, is there a kind gentleman out there who can fill in the previous owner and dates new/acquired detail for the following White Bus vehicles extant at the 1955 EYMS takeover?
HS 8306, CEL 223, ASD 149, EWW 149, and when ABE 957 was new and acquired.
I don`t suppose anyone has a photo of a London Daimler in WBS service ?

John Whitaker

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22/02/12 – 15:22

I am happy to be able to provide all the answers which John W seeks today.
HS 8306 New 1935 – to WBS October 1951 from Graham of Paisley
CEL 223 New 1937 – to WBS June 1953 from Pulleyn, Dunninglen (spelling questionable)
ASD 149 New 1943 – to WBS May 1947 from Lennox, Whiting Bay
EWW 149 New 1944 – to WBS May 1952 from Robinson, Kippax
ABE 957 New 1938 – to WBS May 1949 from Enterprise (Mark 1 Regal of course)

HGC 294_lr

HGC 279_lr

Pictures also attached (purchased long ago and sources unknown) of both of the Ex LT Daimlers in service – one in Queen Street, and the coloured one at Flamborough.

In answer to Chris B’s query about ABE 957, after disposal by EYMS it went to Reliance of Brightwalton, Berkshire.

Chris Youhill

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22/02/12 – 17:55

Just to say how great it was to get answers so quickly for the wonderful White Bus Service, and also Williamsons, questions I have pondered for some time now. It all comes back as though I was 10 years old again, in vivid clarity, so thanks to all, and especially Chris. It is a great pleasure to discover that so many other enthusiasts share a love both for these fleets, and the era in general, and I trust we can revel in the enjoyment of this site for many years to come!

John Whitaker

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25/02/12 – 07:35

WBS Brid UL5805 Gd

Hello all, Chris nice photos, in return I have found this WBS Gilford 1660T from D Okill when he was studying Gilfords I sent Dick extracts from tax records for his project in return he sent this photo I take the chance of sending it to OBP and hope no one will object, details New 2/29 Highways London No 8 London Lorries C30 to Clarke Bros Ripon 5/32 to WBS 7/33- any other owner?
Clarke Bros were Stage Carriage & Excursions they had a cracking fleet of mainly S/H coaches read like abc of makes, started 1914 with a Ryknield? Chara ferrying troops around locally I think then set up business has psv circle done a fleet? I calculated 37 but odd ones may be lorries from the Spud carrying work DWT 725 Leyland had Barnaby Coach Body

Ian Gibbs

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25/02/12 – 14:26

Coaches of this era, to me, always had a sleek look even thought it wasn’t actually sleek, if you know what I mean! It must be the go-faster curtains! I love the stylish curved rear. Nice post,

Chris Hebbron

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26/02/12 – 07:22

Re WBS Gilford picture posted above the Reg No was UL 5805 sorry I missed it out.

Ian Gibbs

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07/04/12 – 07:14

According to PSVC book UL 5805 was with WBS until March 1938 after which there is no known history.

Andrew Stevens

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07/11/12 – 06:46

Hi, chaps : rejoining the correspondence about White Bus Service buses etc., after a long absence! I was born (1938) and bred in Bridlington, so White Buses were very much part of the fabric of my childhood. Just 1 small amendment to make : CEL223 bore the name and address "Victor Pulleyn, York" when it arrived at WBS. ("Dunninglen" may be a misreading for "Dunnington", which is a small village a few miles to the east of York, but it didn’t appear on the actual vehicle.) I’m not aware that CEL223 was ever used in normal service; certainly it was never fitted with a destination blind, the destination indicator box glass being painted over with "Private" on it.
I’d be delighted to reminisce with anyone about WBS, Williamsons or any of the other buses in the East Yorkshire area; better to use e-mail, as I rarely have time to look at websites!

Patrick Hooper

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EV 7580_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

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21/01/13 – 05:55

One more comment, about the ex-Enterprise AEC Regal ABE 957 – it was indeed not operated by EYMS but sold by them to Reliance of Newbury, Berks.
Does anyone have a photograph of White Bus Commer AAD 140?

Patrick Hooper

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Chris Hebbron

Just to add that AAD 140 was a Gloucestershire registration.
The area abounded with folk who GAD about, were MAD, SAD, BAD, DAD and were bounders, sorry CAD’s, amongst others!

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21/01/13 – 15:59

*AD says Black & White Motorways – who were keen Gilford operators for a short while…..

David Oldfield

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23/01/13 – 07:06

That would have just been a FAD… (Sorry David!)

Brendan Smith

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23/01/13 – 07:07

CEL 223 was a Leyland Cub KPZ2, new in June 1936 with a Beadle C20F body to Hants and Dorset – originally in their version of the Royal Blue livery, for use on tours and excursions. In 1937, to avoid confusion with the coaches of the Royal Blue express services – by then owned by Southern/Western – H&D repainted their coaches into cream and green. It was withdrawn by H&D in August 1951. My notes say it went then to the dealers, North, in Leeds, and to G Bamborough, Chester-le-Street in the November. Subsequently, it was noted with an owner in Wakefield in February 1954 – possibly as a mobile caravan.

Peter Delaney

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23/01/13 – 09:13

Nice one, Brendan.

David Oldfield


 

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London Transport – Leyland Titan TD2 – GX 131 – TD 85

London Transport - Leyland Titan TD2 - GX 131 - TD85
Photograph by D W K Jones Permission to publish granted by Capital Transport Publishing

London Transport
1932
Leyland Titan TD2
Birch H30/26R

In my first supplementary comment on the London Transport low-bridge Daimlers with Duple bodies (posted here), I said the following:
“A further look at D1′s lean-back, but ramrod-straight front, makes me recall the frontal look of the very rare 1932 Birch body. I have seen a photo of one somewhere and will try to find and upload it.”
I have now found the photo (memo to Chris – tidy up books in spare bedroom before ‘her indoors’ comes back from a few days away!) which does show an uncanny ‘austerity’ resemblance, not only at the front, but along the side, too! There are even ventilators above the downstairs windows like the Brush bodies had!
This is an interesting photo of TD 85, taken on 4th May 1935, whilst helping to carry supporters to the Rugby League Cup final at Wembley (Those of you ‘up North’ will be overjoyed at the word ‘League’! As a Southern ‘Union’ person, I am less so!
The bus was one of 30 originally owned by Birch Bros, a company which was an ‘independent’, running bus services within London. LPTB was formed on 1st July 1933, but it took almost to the declaration of war in 1939 before it had finally swallowed up all the independents. Birch Bros., however, succumbed in early 1934. When the bus was taken into stock, it was painted into LGOC/London Transport livery, but there was still a debate about what would be put on the vehicles’ sides. As a result, re-painted buses continued to have GeneraL applied, and it was some years before LONDON TRANSPORT appeared universally. Legally, though, you can see the four words making up LPTB in full, on the bottom front edge. LPTB’s pre-war TD class was the largest of all which came from the ‘independents’, only being disposed of in 1939. Many of those not scrapped went to Liverpool, being painted grey, as were all buses which ran to or by ‘sensitive’ places such as munitions works and military installations. Oil-engined TD85, however, went to an operator in Essex, finally being scrapped in late 1949. Shame!
Because Birch Bros. also ran express services from Kings Cross to Rushden (Northants), they were immune from total LPTB takeover, much to the latter’s chagrin! ! In fact, Birch Bros only finally shut down in 1971, suffering from the all-too-common fall in passenger numbers.

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

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What an incredibly interesting and historically informative picture and text Chris for which I thank you. I know that what I am about to say is pure coincidence and cannot be the case, but one can’t help feeling sure that the Ministry of Supply MUST have seen this photo when drawing up their "utility" WW2 specification. Just one of those little cases which make the in depth study of passenger transport so utterly absorbing.

Chris Youhill

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They must have seen it, otherwise it’s too much of a coincidence. Has the Duple look – later Birch bodies were not so balanced or handsome. The rear profile, upstairs, has a whiff of (pre-war) Weymann and a shred of Sheffield (built during the war to peacetime standards in the Tramway workshops).

David Oldfield

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Glad you found this absorbing, Chris, and agree it could almost have been a template for the austerity design.
One little aside is the use of stencils in the rooftop box. Imagine the problem of getting up there to change the route number every time! The majority of London trams had stencilled numbers and, even at my tender age then, I could spot a number 8 the wrong way round from half a mile away, just as I’m blessed (or cursed) with the ability to spot a spelling error in the same way!

Chris Hebbron

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23/03/11 – 17:45

Thanks this was really lovely to read my father-in-law ‘Nob’ Horace Brown of Shefford used to work for the Birch Bros, driving the buses. my husband is always talking about it and trying to get a model of the bus he drove this is how I came across your details. Thank You loved it and will show nick, his dad died quite young so it would be nice to find bits out for him to keep and treasure

Mel Brown


 

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Valliant Direct – Gilford 168OT – GW 713

Valliant Direct Coaches - Gilford 168OT - GW 713
Copyright E J M Abbott, used with permission.

Valliant Direct Coaches
1931
Gilford 168OT
Weymann C30D

This is a photo of a 1931 Gilford 168OT coach with Weymann semi-fabric body along Brighton seafront. It is painted in the livery of Valliant Direct Coaches of Ealing, who owned it for many years. The coach was eventually saved by well-known bus saviour, Prince Marshall, and it languished for many years at the Science Museum Annexe at Wroughton, Nr Swindon, Wilts. Eventually, with the financial generosity of the London Omnibus Traction Society, Seb Marshall was able to restore it thoroughly to the immaculate state we see in the photo above.

Gilford was a short-lived company from 1929 and 1935. It was unusual in that it never made anything, merely being an assembly outfit. It also made Wycombe bodies, with the parts also being made to order and bought in. As might be deduced from the body name, they were based in High Wycombe. They used American petrol engines, especially Lycomings. One unusual feature was the suspension which used Gruss Air Springs, another US import, the front cylinders being easily spotted either side of the radiator. They were more like shock absorbers and enabled vehicles to ‘glide along smoothly and supremely comfortable on four cushions of compressed air’! These were indeed superior vehicles!
Gilford were very successful in the early years, but the Wall Street Crash and Depression took its toll and competition from the big boys intensified, with sales dropping relentlessly from 1932, despite new models coming out and a move towards goods vehicles. A late attempt at fitting the unreliable Meadows diesel engine did not help the situation. The final straw was what caused problems for several companies, the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933, with the consequent takeover and demise of lots of independents in London and much of the adjoining counties. (Christopher Dodd, a London bus body builder, who’d supported the independents almost exclusively, was wiped out at a stroke). The success of Gilford in selling vehicles to independents over the years created the situation where, after the takeovers, London Transport became the largest operator in the UK of Gilford buses and coaches at 220, for some five years, until standardisation started in earnest!

Seb Marshalls blog on restoring GW 713 can be read here.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron


Didn’t Gilford produce a prototype double decker of extremely low height and very modern appearance for the early 1930s?? I can’t remember if it was first a bus and later a trolleybus, or the other way around – I rather suspect the former. In any event it sadly never caught on apparently.

Chris Youhill


Bus then trolleybus. The remains of Gilford went through two rapid changes of owner before ending up with Sentinel. Another case of interesting antecedents – like the Roadliner to Dennis R via Duple 425 "family tree".

David Oldfield


If we’re going ancient, let’s have more Gilford – although there weren’t many. What about Reo? [They were also used by the likes of Black and White.] …..and Sentinel who enjoyed a brief and honourable fling post war. If Gilford were the great might have been pre war then Foden and Sentinal were the great might have beens post war. Just a thought.

David Oldfield


I’m afraid my shots don’t go that far back, but if anyone wants to send me some then I will post them.

See the ‘Coming Soon’ panel the next two contributions fall into the ancient category

Peter


I’m sure I saw a photo of Gilford’s double-decker bus/trolleybus once, but can’t pin down where. It was certainly modern-looking for its time.
We’ve all heard of the famous AEC Q front-entrance double-decker, but around the same time, Leyland also built a similar vehicle, which had a squarer flat front (might have been lowbridge) and also looked modern for its time. I don’t believe there were any takers and it was broken up in the end, if memory serves me right. Anyone got a photo of it? I’m not sure where the engine was placed, though, but not at the front.

Chris Hebbron


Chris H, are you sure it wasn’t the Leyland TTB front entrance trolleybus?

David Oldfield


You’re right David, I was a little adrift there!

Chris Hebbron


I am sorry to say that Chris Hebbron’s original information is not quite correct in that the photo of GW 713 in Valliant livery was taken some years ago after initial restoration by Prince Marshall & not as a result of recent restoration by his son Seb Marshall. It is currently in a very dismantled state and the subject of a very major restoration by Seb after his acquisition of the coach from Science museum storage at Wroughton the progress of which can be seen on his blog via link at end of Chris’s article.
Hopefully it will not be too long before it is once again restored to the immaculate condition shown in the photo.

Brian


I contacted Seb Marshall to fill in the gaps between its original restoration and its subsequent sad demise into the condition it sank into before he started restoring it. I can do no better than send you his reply which I think is worthwhile printing.

Hi Chris,

The photo was indeed taken in my father’s time, if you look closely he is driving, I believe it is Brighton ’63.

Alas early preservation did not have the funding it does today and the body was very tired back then and was only cosmetically enhanced by Valliants. As we’ve gone into it we’ve discovered it has had a very hard life, with a number of framework repairs evident not surprising really as it went to war!

We were planning to have it ready for Brighton next year, but work has dictated otherwise so sometime in the not too distant future is all I can say at the moment.

All the best,
Seb

Chris Hebbron


You are right Chris, Gilford did build a low-height double-decker in 1931, and it was displayed at that year’s Commercial Motor Show. It was a very advanced design incorporating front wheel drive, thus allowing a very low floorline, as the usual bulk of the rear axle and differential casing were dispensed with.
After delving into various books, all manner of things came to light. The bus was known as the ‘D-type’ (presumably for double-decker), and was of chassisless construction with an overall height of 12ft. 11ins, which was pretty impressive for a ‘decker with central gangways on both decks. The engine was also unusual in being a German-built Junkers horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder two-stroke diesel unit. A four-speed constant mesh gearbox was mounted ahead of the engine, and the drive then went to the front wheels. As usual, Gilford had fitted Gruss air springs to the vehicle, and the front suspension was independent to boot!
The Wycombe 56-seat rear-entrance bodywork was of steel-framed construction, and was of a modern-looking full-fronted design. A Tilling-style three-piece front window arrangement was used on the upper deck, with the outer glasses curving round to meet the front side pillars. Unfortunately, no orders were forthcoming, and as David rightly says, it was then converted to a trolleybus, and apparently saw service as such with Wolverhampton and Southend-on-Sea. A picture of the bus in its original form was shown in Buses Illustrated No.8, but I’m sure I’ve seen a picture of it elsewhere, and will keep looking!
Gilford chassis designations were generally straightforward. The numbers denoted the wheelbase (in feet and inches) and the letters described the driving position. So an SD was Standard Drive (meaning bonneted, or normal control), and an OT was Over Type (meaning driver alongside engine, or forward control). As such, the engaging 168OT in the photo would be of 16ft.8ins wheelbase, Over Type layout.

Brendan Smith


Its nice to see my grandfathers coach on the sea front I remember him talking to me about the coaches he had.

Stephen Valli



Stephen – I’m glad that the photo gave you pleasure. You will no doubt know that your grandfather is greatly respected among the bus enthusiast fraternity for his successful efforts at bus preservation when it was in its infancy.

Brendan, Thx for researching all that useful information on the ‘D’-type, most of which I was unaware of. As ever, it was a mixture of their own construction and buying-in parts and, as ever, the conservative bus industry of the time stayed well away from purchasing it, despite the general good name and record of Gilford. A photo of it would be wonderful, if you can track one down. Sadly, although I can boast about three of the earliest Buses Illustrated somewhere, No. 8 wasn’t one of them, more’s the pity!

Chris Hebbron


The patent number for the D-type is (GB)353,902 and was applied for by the Gilford Motor Company Ltd and Edward Bert Horne on April 29th 1930 and accepted on July 29th 1931. The drawing shows a lower deck plan, with the engine protruding significantly into the lower saloon with two pairs of rearward facing seats to each side of it, and a vertical section through the bus showing the front wheel drive and Gruss springs. You can view the drawing here. 

Malcolm Thwaite


Thank you for posting such an interesting technical drawing Malcolm. I had read somewhere that the engine on the D-type had intruded into the lower saloon, but had not envisaged it doing so by quite as much as shown! The seating arrangement around it was fascinating – and what seats for the enthusiast they would have been, right next to that two-stroke engine….

Brendan Smith


24/01/12 – 05:52

Nice to see a colour picture of a Gilford. My grandfather drove for them when they were in High Wycombe and I have a photo of him sat on a chassis outside the factory

Andrew Stevens


05/04/14 – 07:07

I remember reading an extensive history of Gilford in Buses Illustrated once complete with many photographs. One reason for their demise mentioned was a large part of their market was to independents, and I understand that the problem was many of them were unable to pay the instalments on the purchase. The same thing brought down Guy in South Africa, where they sold direct to small operators who didn’t pay up or disappeared into the night.

John


05/04/14 – 09:37

Don’t I remember a section here on OBP about a year ago devoted to the Gilford decker, photos, drawings and all? I’ve searched but can no longer find it.

Ian Thompson


05/04/14 – 09:38

Is this what you mean Ian

Peter


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 20th August 2014