Old Bus Photos

Valliant Direct – Gilford 168OT – GW 713

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

Valliant Direct Coaches
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


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.


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,

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.


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


05/10/15 – 07:03

GW 713

Here is another picture of GW 713 taken at Madeira Drive at the end of an HCVC London – Brighton Run in the early 1960s. By the 1970s this coach had been repainted into the livery of Evan Evans Tours.

Roger Cox


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Hull Corporation – Leyland TB2 – CRH 928 – 3

Hull Corporation Leyland TB2 Trolleybus CRH 928_lr 

Kingston upon Hull Corporation Transport
Leyland TB2
Weymann H28/26R

The first trolleybus route in Hull commenced in June, 1937. It replaced the tram route SWC, but not directly, as a short lived motorbus service, numbered 12 ran in the interval between the end of the trams and the start of the trolleybuses. The route ran along Spring Bank, Spring Bank West and Chanterlands Avenue. A new route number series for trolleybuses was instituted at this time, the first number being 61, along with a short working to Goddard Avenue turning circle, which was numbered 61A. This latter was renumbered to 65 in 1943.
To start the service, along with the Newland Avenue (62, 62A) routes, 26 trolleybus chassis were purchased from Leyland. These were of the TB2 type, equivalent to the Titan TD2 chassis. Numbers were 1 to 26, which commenced a separate series from the motorbuses. Registrations were CRH 925-50. The trolleybuses carried the newly introduced streamline livery.
During the war, in 1941, due to service cuts four trolleybuses (1 to 4) were loaned to Pontypridd UDC, being returned the following year. No 3 is shown at the Old Bridge in Pontypridd, seeming to be causing interest to the gentleman on the bridge! Although still carrying the streamline livery, the white has been over painted in a light blue colour, making the livery a two-tone blue. Of note is the pre-war "HULL" on the upper deck side panels, and "Corporation Transport" being on white lozenges.
I have seen this batch also quoted as being of the TB4 type, but if anyone can provide a definitive answer I would be grateful. Chassis numbers were in the series 12280 to 12306.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Keith Easton

I wonder who over-painted the white to light blue – Hull or Pontypridd? Interesting photo – not many wartime photos exist, especially of those who went to foreign climes for a while!
Headlamps restricted and white painting around the front edge, but no window netting. Maybe they didn’t feel there was a strong likelihood of air raids in that area.
Pontypridd must have had an acute shortage of buses/trolleybuses in the war, for Portsmouth Corporation sent several trolleybuses there, too. Imagine having to tow and steer these vehicles such long distances!

Chris Hebbron

I believe that Hull was responsible for the over-painting, as native buses and trolleybuses were also treated similarly. I cant say about window netting, as I’m not quite that old! Hull certainly did have some air-raids during the war, and lost 35% of the bus fleet in May, 1941. No trolleybuses were affected, however.

Keith Easton

The over painting was carried out by the Transport Department over a period of ten days in late May 1941. All trolleybuses were parked along main roads at night to prevent their loss if a garage was hit by bombs but the white could be seen from the air and the undertaking was asked to do it, Geoff O’Connell (whose father was an inspector) told me that he remembered seeing TB7 no 52 being all blue at the front and offside but with normal livery on the other!

Malcolm Wells

Hi Malcolm, can we can confirm that these trolleys were actually TB4 and not TB2? I have seen them quoted with both model types but the date would make TB4 more likely. I have a photocopy sheet from Geoff, which shows the layout of the original Black on white blinds, with routes 61, 61A, 62, 62A, 62B, 62C, 63, 63A, 64, 64A, 65 and 66. Of course the 65 and 66 were not operated as such, but were the 62B and 62C ever operated? The ‘A’ route numbers are shown as being blanked out along with 65 and 66. You mention the Anlaby Road route as being 99, but I have no record of this, was it actually used in service?

Keith Easton

Do not know if the following will help but the dates below are for when the TDs first appeared.

TD1 – 1927        TD2 – 1932        TD3 – 1933        TD4 – 1935 
TD5 – 1937        TD6 – 1938        TD7 – 1939


The reference to service 99 was a typing error – it was 69.
Leylands 1 to 26 were designated TD4 in the original tender from Leyland Motors in July 1936 and this was quoted in the minutes but was subsequently altered to TB4.
The 62B and 62C were never operated but no reason for doing so has ever come to light although a difference in headways might have contributed – there were more trolleybuses per hour on Beverley Road than on Newland Avenue.

Malcolm Wells

I’m sure most people who have posted on this subject already know this but there are some really fantastic short videos on YouTube concerning Hull trolleys and motor buses from before WW2 to the present day. It seems Hull has been more fortunate than many places in having such a wonderful pictorial transport record!

Chris Barker

25/02/14 – 16:12

Having lived in Hull from 1946 to 1963, I can clarify the route number situation.
61 was Chantlands Avenue (up to Cottingham Road)
65 was the shortened version of 61 terminating about 200 yds from the start of Chantlands Avenue- peak only
62 was Princes Av/Newlands Av (to Cottingham Road)
66 was the shortened version of 62 terminating at Pearson’s Park.
63 was Beverley Road (up to Cottingham Road)
67 was the shortened version of 63 up to Pearson’s Park – peak only
All of the above originally ran on the pre-war Leyland Buses, but were replaced in 1950 by the forward control dual entrance and dual staircase Sunbeams – which were supposed to have counters on the stairs with the forward staircase for ascending and the mid-bus staircase for descending- this was not a success.
64 was Holderness Road
68 was the shortened version up to East Park – peak only.
These used the 1940 Leyland vehicles for the duration of the trolleybus system
69 Analby Road – almost to Boothferry Park
(There were 169 and 269 shortened but these did not come about until after the end of the trolleybus system)
70 Hessle Road – almost to City Limits
(a shortened version (170 or 270) ran but only after the end of the trolleybus system.
All 69’s and 70’s used 1948 vehicles which (from memory) were B.E.T. (which was a joint A.E.C./Leyland venture) for the duration of the trolleybus system.

Frank Burgess

26/02/14 – 07:52

The joint Leyland and AEC was actually BUT. They also supplied engines for early railway Diesel Multiple Units. The sight of Hull trolleys in Pontypridd must have confused any potential German Spies!!!!

Philip Carlton

26/02/14 – 12:13

Chris Hebbron is certainly right in an early comment that Pontypridd needed extra vehicles during the war. However the Portsmouth and Hull trolley-buses were probably not operated concurrently. The main caption above mentions the Hull quartet on loan to Pontypridd in 1941 to 1942. The Portsmouth quartet went to Wales in August 1942, so presumably were replacements for the Hull ones returning north. Pontypridd gained an extra six seats per vehicle. But they lost out on standardisation, as two Portsmouth vehicles were AEC 663T, and two were Sunbeam MS3s. Two had MCCW, and two EEC bodies, one on each make of chassis. Also two had EEC motors, but one regen the other augmented field, the other two having BTH motors, one regen, the other regulated field. Such was Portsmouth’s desire to experiment! None of them had traction batteries, and had been in storage at Portsmouth since c.1940 so that they wouldn’t block the streets in the event of power cuts due to bombings etc. Three of them stayed at Pontypridd until November 1945, the fourth returning in August 1946.

Michael Hampton

26/02/14 – 16:40

Can I provide the following route details at 1 January 1958:
61 Chanterlands Avenue North
62 Newland Avenue (Cottingham Road)
63 Endike Lane – much further north than Cottingham Road – there were no turning facilities at the eastern part of Pearson Park on Beverley Road
64 Ings Road
65 Goddard Avenue – short working of the 61 – originally the main service – was used at peaks and during the day in later years
66 Pearson Park – short working of the 62 – used only in days immediately preceding holidays such as Christmas
68 East Park – short working of the 68 – alternate trolleybuses turned here from 29 June 1952
69 Meadowbank Road – extended from the roundabout at the Boothferry Road junction on 30 March 1947
70 Dairycoates – well short (over a mile ) of the city boundary.
71 Boulevard – short working of the 69 – used for rubgy league specials on Saturdays (mainly)
The twenty Leyland TB7s (nos 47-66) were delivered in the Summer of 1939 – Nos 47/48/51/52 were licensed from 1 August 1939. By December 1960 only seven were left (48/54/55/61/63/64/66) and several Crossley TDD4s were sent to Holderness Road to maintain the 64/68 service. All seven were withdrawn on 28 January 1961 when service 70 was withdrawn.
KHCT never operated BUT trolleybuses – the 1948 vehicles were Sunbeam F4 with Roe H60R bodies (8 feet wide). All ten entered service on 1 June 1948 but were later split between the 69 and 70.
The dual door trolleybuses were Sunbeam MFsBs with Roe H54D bodies. No. 101 arrived in later 1952 whilst the further fifteen entered service from November 1954 to May 1955. they were intended for one-man operation using tokens and tickets – no cash and Mr Pulfrey, the GM, wanted the 63 to be the trial route but due to Union opposition they never ran in that form. No. 116 was fitted with an electronic counter on both stairs but it was not successful. No. 116 also had a Grant farebox fitted but never ran in service as such. They gained the nick name "Coronations" as no. 101 entered service in January 1953.
The service 67 was the renumbered 63A which ran to Chanterlands Avenue North via Beverley Road and Cottingham Road at times during the war and for a short time thereafter. The Original 63A was intended for short workings to Haworth Arms. KHCT wanted a roundabout here so that alternate vehicles on Beverley Road could turn here but nothing came of this partly due to the start of the war.
The 61/62 were the preserve of Leyland TB4s pre-war whilst the Crossleys ran the 63 – they were kept apart in Cottingham Road garage!
Nos 1 to 4 were recalled from Pontypridd to permit the Anlaby Road tram route to be converted to trolleybus operation.
Full details of the fleet list were posted on this site by Keith Easton some time ago and can be viewed at this link.

Malcolm Wells

There is is also a very in depth article that maybe of interest at the following link Bus, Trolleybus and Tram Routes of Kingston upon Hull Corporation



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City of Oxford – AEC Regent V – WJO 947 – H947

City of Oxford - AEC Regent V - WJO 947 - H947

The City of Oxford Motor Services
AEC Regent V MD3RV
Weymann H30/26RD

City of Oxford I think were one of AECs most loyal customers. According to my 1963 British Bus Fleets South Central book it states that as from 1927 apart from a batch of 5 Dennis Loline Mark IIs delivered in 1961 with AEC engines by the way, all their vehicles were AECs. Interestingly enough the next batch of vehicles ordered after the Lolines were AEC Bridgemasters. What I find strange, and I hope someone can explain why it was that the Bridgemaster had been available from 1956, why wait until December 1961 to take delivery of their first batch. Not to mention the fact that they took delivery of 15 lowbridge Regent Vs as well as the 5 Lolines in the 56 – 61 period. As a matter of interest they also took delivery of 30 highbridge Regent V MDs and 16 LDs in the same period of which the vehicle in the above shot is one of the first. It was chassis number 29 of the MD variant and had as can be seen an exposed radiator rather than the more recognisable concealed version more associated with the Regent V. All City of Oxford 27ft Regent Vs were MDs (Medium Weight) having the smaller AEC AV470 7.68 litre six cylinder diesel engine. But they were not quite so loyal when it came to body builders Park Royal and Weymann were the norm for the double deckers, apart from a batch of 5 Regent Vs and the Lolines that had East Lancs bodies and the first batch of front entrance Regents that had bodies by Willowbrook. I am afraid that is where my information ends but if you know something that maybe of interest to others your comments are more than welcome.

A full list of Regent V codes can be seen here.

I think you’re a little unfair about loyalty with bodywork. When you buy one car or bus at a time you can be loyal to one maker. When you bulk order you have to be aware of the capacity of the supplier – which is why most large operators (even London Transport) dual sourced. At least COMS managed fidelity to AEC – with which I would fully concur – and the two bodybuilders were among the acknowledged best at their craft at the time. [Lolines were only available late in Weymann’s life but maybe they were arguing with Dennis for an AEC option when the body style and finish of the Bridgemaster was truly dreadful.]
Whatever the reasons; maroon, cream and duck-egg green AECs – that is the heyday of a superb operator.

David Oldfield

P.S. Re-reading Alan Townsin’s chapter on the Bridgemaster in his "Blue Triangle"…..
The original version was attractive with curved profile and aluminium body but BET were likely to be the model’s biggest customer. They wanted steel frames and single skin domes, like the MCW Orion, and a wholesale re-think had to be made.
Very few of the original Crossley built Bridgemaster’s were made before it was totally retooled and production moved to Park Royal from whence came the uglier production model. This probably helps answer why COMS didn’t buy Bridgemasters before 1961 – that and being on the end of a queue which would involve PRV vehicles for other customers. The Bridgemaster was now firmly based in London and would, or could, not be sub-let to Crossley or Roe.

I don’t know who took this photograph but I know the setting is Gloucester Green Bus Station in the heart of Oxford.
Oxford Bus Co’s livery was absolutely gorgeous, restrained and stately but still gorgeous!!

George Taylor

23/03/13 – 08:02

Eventually this ended up with Wallace School of Transport as a driver trainer bus – I took my PSV test on it in 1970

Brian Lamb

23/03/13 – 12:28

Coming from a Leyland/Daimler Orion bodied stronghold on my visits to Oxford with my father in the late 1950s/early 1960s I always thought this batch had a certain refined air about it. Again, coming from the a place where the Orions were coated in acres or red or green the Oxford livery was to my eye very attractive.
A few words on the Bridgemaster. Alan Townsin is, of course, correct regarding the BET demands for the Bridgemaster. The original bodies were developed from a specification drawn up at Park Royal but the final design and build was by Crossley at Errwood Road using the basic outline and many of the panel sizes of the then current Park Royal design it was also building. It is interesting to see that a few of the design touches of the original were incorporated into some orders throughout the production run see: www.brindale.co.uk/  
Whilst Graham Hill’s information on the site is a little suspect e.g. his contention that the Lodekker (sic) had saturated the market leading to poor Bridgemaster sales, the pictures show well the versions of the final design though, as it is a Park Royal site, omit pictures of the Crossley version shown here: www.sct61.org.uk/  
I was told by an ex Crossley employee who was there to the end that the transfer of the Bridgemaster to Park Royal, which was pretty much the final nail in the coffin of Crossley, would not have been so final had there been a commercially viable demand from non BET operators who would have specified the original body, leaving Park Royal to deal with the BET revamped design. As it was, no significant interest was shown and the shut down went ahead.
Regarding Oxford’s order, whilst BET companies could deviate from group policy, at the time the group was pressurising its constituents to take the Bridgemaster. With a very much AEC dominated fleet Oxford found it hard to resist unlike Ribble, North Western and other fleets which had either a Leyland dominance or a more diverse fleet.

Phil Blinkhorn

26/03/13 – 06:38

While the redesigned Bridgemaster is widely regarded as a styling disaster, it is often forgotten that some of the rear-entrance examples were nothing of the kind, as is well illustrated by the photos of the Sheffield buses on Graham Hill’s site (see Phil’s brindale link above).

Peter Williamson


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