Hargreaves of Bolton
This great shot was taken at the Botanical Gardens Rhyl in August 1963 and at the time the above vehicle was owned by the Foden Sports and Social Club but it was delivered new to Hargreaves of Bolton. Bodywise is it called an Observation Coach or an Half-deck Coach? I can understand why it ended up with a sports a social club I should imagine that the large luggage locker came in handy for carrying all that equipment. Another question regarding this type of body I have is, were they limited to double decker regulations of length and weight for example or were the single decker lengths and weights allowed?
The PVSC6 had the Gardner 6LW 8·4 litre six cylinder diesel engine there was the option of the Gardner 5LW 7·0 litre five cylinder diesel engine in which case it was designated the PVSC5. In 1949 the Foden FE6 4·0 litre two stroke diesel engine was available which was designated the PVFE6 but only 52 PVFE6s were built as the series was superseded by the rear engined PVR in 1950.
Photograph contributed by Ian Wild
I can’t answer any of the technical questions about this coach, but I always remember these because Dinky Toys made one in the late 1950s and I had one; but to this day I’ve never seen an example of the real thing. There’s an example of the Dinky version here.
Yes, KC – I’d forgotten about these. I used to have one. Weren’t they Maudsleys? It would be interesting to know why Dinky should choose such an unusual design of body and comparatively rare chassis for their model, especially when they were soon to become obsolete in style.
Didn’t Dinky do one in BOAC livery? I seem to remember the full-sized versions plying between Heathrow and the BOAC city terminal somewhere near Gloucester Road station – in the days before Heathrow Express, or even the extension of the Piccadilly Line beyond Hounslow West.
Its an observation coach, and Whitson built them on Maudslay, Leyland, AEC, and Foden chassis between 1949 and 1952. A half-deck coach is a different beast altogether using the patented "Crellin-Duplex" design where upper and lower deck seating was arranged to cram as many people in as possible using interlocking "railway compartment" style seating. The end result looked more like a two-level horsebox than a PSV! In prewar years Duple built a few observation coaches (I seem to remember one for an operator in South Wales) but in the post-war period Whitson had a virtual monopoly. The only other post-war example which springs to mind is the Mulliner bodied Morris-Commercial built for the Morris Works Band. This is preserved at the Oxford Bus Museum, but sadly none of the magnificent Whitson vehicles has survived.
The most famous Whitson observation coaches were the Fodens used by Salopia, but Dinky Toys chose to use a Maudslay supplied (in real life) to Embankment of Plymouth as the prototype for their scale model.
The airport coaches you mention were (in a sense) observation coaches, and share the same PSV Circle body prefix (RC) but all of those used by BEA in London (bodywork by Park Royal) and by MCTD in Manchester (bodied by Burlingham and Bond) had a continuous roofline rather than the "stepped" arrangement of a true observation coach, Liverpool Corporation converted a few (previously conventional) single-deckers to this "stepped roof" format in the late 1950s for their own airport service. The vehicles which resulted were not an aesthetic triumph!
07/02/11 – 06:04
As has already been pointed out, there was a world of difference between the Observation Coach style and that of the Half-Decker. Both were built to the (then) size limits for single deckers, rather than being restricted to the double decker dimensions. This applied regardless of whether they were mounted on front-engined chassis or rear-engined/underfloor-engined chassis. EWH 195 was one of a pair supplied to Hargreaves of Bolton, the other one being EBN 898. Both were supplied as PVSC6 chassis (Gardner 6LW), but after Fodens acquired EWH 195 they fitted a Foden two-stroke engine, effectively converting it to PVFE6 specification. Incidentally, you can tell the difference between front engined Gardner powered and Foden powered PSVs by the position of the starting handle hole. In the case of the Gardner engine the hole is dead centre, whereas it is slightly offset to the offside when a Foden engine was fitted.
14/04/11 – 05:00
I should imagine this was carrying the Foden band who performed all over the country, they had several Fodens over the years, some had a bandmaster mascot on the rad cap, a uniformed conductor (the musical type) waving a baton.
05/10/11 – 17:28
I too had the Dinky model but I also remember the actual bus around North Wales when I was a small boy in the late 1950′s-early 1960′s. I lived in Broughton and we always holidayed further up the coast so saw this bus quite regularly. I also liked the cream-liveried Crosville buses which seemed more exotic than the all green or green and cream Chester buses.
25/10/11 – 07:19
I agree with Bryan Yates’ assumption that this coach was carrying the Fodens Brass Band. My father was a Machine Shop Foreman until his death in 1964, and I can remember seeing the bus now and then around the Elworth works – if memory serves me well it was grey and blue, and sounded as though it had the 2-stroke engine. No doubt the extra storage was useful for the band instruments. On another note, I saw a red half-cab Foden coach at Astle Park steam rally in August – still in the Coppenhalls (Sandbach) coach firm’s livery. Lovely memories!
27/07/12 – 14:50
Reference to Malcolm’s comments about the blue and grey coach for the Foden Works Band….
I was sent a photo a couple of days ago from a friend in the UK who saw what is probably this gorgeous looking old lady just last week at a rally in Newbury….If I knew how to load photos on to this site I’d do it, but maybe a quick Google would stir the memory cells into action, and might also provide more information about its current owners’ show schedule and dates….
27/07/12 – 15:51
Ah….An hour later and I would be kicking myself unmercifully if the old limbs could bend that far….
The old lady I was going on about is not only already well known on here…. www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/
But ever a star, she even has her own page on Wikipedia…. http://de.wikipedia.org/
I’m sure that it’s just an age thing on my part, but what an absolutely wonderful example of what a British coach was meant to look like….
28/07/12 – 08:40
She’s a very attractive vehicle and the colour scheme certainly enhances her looks, too, Stuart.
14/09/12 – 06:57
Beautiful Vehicle, Astons Coaches Marton operated HUJ 997 Foden PVFR Observation Coach Whitson. They also operated a Foden Crellin Duplex mentioned above KWT 976 with a Lincs Trailer Body as well as two other Crellin Duplex with Mann Egerton. Various other Fodens were operated including well known NBH 950 and JWY 999
13/05/13 – 15:25
How many Whitson Observation Coaches were made.