Old Bus Photos

Samuel Ledgard – Guy Arab LUF – DCN 834

Samuel Ledgard - Guy Arab LUF - DCN 834
Copyright Unknown

Samuel Ledgard
1954
Guy Arab LUF
Picktree C35F

DCN 834 was a Guy Arab LUF (chassis number 72143) with a Gardner 6HLW engine, bodied with a Picktree Continental C35F body.
Picktree were based at Bensham in Gateshead, near the Northern General headquarters, who had a financial stake in Picktree, these coaches being the last PSVs built by this concern before they turned over to the construction of commercial vehicles.
834 was part of a batch of 13 new to the Northern General Transport Company on 1st June 1954, and had fleet number 1534.
These vehicles had bold styling and had all the refinements required to undertake their principle duties of carrying 35 passengers in comfort on Continental Tours.
During their final days with Northern they undertook local tours to seaside resorts and on local Church and Club Private Hires, before being withdrawn in September 1962 and sold to W. North of Sherburn, who took all 13.
A total of 8* were bought by Ledgards, and taken in to stock in January 1963, these being DCN 831/ 834 – 840.
North’s put them through the MoT Certificate of Fitness test, before delivery to Ledgards, and obtained ‘tickets’ for 5 years for them.
They were painted by Ledgards at Armley Depot and all had entered service from there by April 1963.
The coach livery at that time consisted of black roof, cream window surrounds, black wings, and blue panel work, with cream wheels.
The final coach livery introduced by February 1964, was sky blue for the wings and window surrounds, with ivory panels, 834, along with 839 were the first to be released in these new colours, as shown in the picture.
The picture is taken on the roof of the Armley garage, where so many of Ledgard’s vehicles ended their lives.
Does anybody know the name of the Driver?
834 was withdrawn in April 1968 and went back to W. North (Dealer) at Sherburn, from where it was sold, along with 835/6/7 to Minster Homes (Contractor) in May 1968 for use as site offices.
*DCN 832 was additionally bought for spares from North’s (via Woods Coaches of Pollington, near Goole), in March 1966, and was dismantled on Armley garage roof, the remains going to Jackson (Bradford) for scrap in August 1967.
A picture of Northern General 1532 can be seen at this link.
For anybody interested in wanting to find out more about the History and Fleet of Samuel Ledgard they should read the book Samuel Ledgard Beer and Blue Buses by Don Bate. ISBN 095288499.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Howarth


18/08/13 – 06:40

Is the driver really Chris Youhill?

Joe


18/08/13 – 12:08

No Joe – that’s not me. We only had DCN 831 at Otley depot. However, now you mention my good friend Don’s book, there is a picture of me as a young conductor at the bottom of the front cover – this was as a token of appreciation for my assistance with photo captions and information on aspects of the operations side of the Company.

Chris Youhill


20/08/13 – 18:57

In the 50’s and 60’s, Northern General had a booking Office in Pilgrim Street Newcastle, which was just around the corner from Worswick Street Bus Station. Anyway, I remember that in the window of the shop they had a model of one of these in a glass case. I don’t know what the scale was, but to a young boy of about eight or nine it looked enormous. From other makers models I’ve seen, I would guess it would have probably been an inch to the foot, so about 30ins long. I wonder what happened to it?

Ronnie Hoye


10/11/14 – 06:48

There are some pictures of Ledgard buses, including one of these Guys, on the following site of Marc Parry (with whom I once worked at LCBS); scroll down a little from the top of the first page:- www.flickr.com/photos/

Roger Cox


12/02/15 – 06:35

The driver of DCN 834 is me John Jackson, taken in August 1967.

John Jackson


12/02/15 – 12:15

Nice to see you "in print" JJ – if only the good old firm was still around – the happiest days of my PSV career without a doubt !!

Chris Youhill


13/02/15 – 06:18

Chris, what made Ledgard’s such a good place to work? Were the T&Cs better than WYRCC? – I know from my time in Cambridge that Premier apparently had better terms and conditions than ECOC. Geography may have played a part, but surely Armley-based drivers could have found better terms with LCT up the road at Bramley or in the City Centre at Sovereign Street? But then again why drive for Ribble out of Bolton or Hebble, full-stop, when corporation operations in the same town(s) offered better salaries . . .? Did variety of work, or the opportunity of "top-link" work (and associated tips) play a part?

Philip Rushworth


22/02/15 – 16:26

Well Philip, any answer to your question is bound to be complex and to vary between individual employees of every grade. So perhaps its best put as a "list."
T & Cs – very favourable indeed, and the wage rates were good and generous. When I started there were no sick pay or pension schemes but many other advantages.
Duties – comprehensive and interesting with none of the soul destroying "one road and the same mate for ever" system of many of the municipalise and group concerns.
We had five depots, each with its own rota and ro9ute systems derived from its origin – built by SL or acquired. Well to be exact four depots, as Ilkley was a "running shed" administered totally from the larger Otley one – a seven week rota of local folks from nearby, while Otley had a twenty week rota – with a little twist !! All twenty drivers moved forward week by week while seventeen of the conductors moved "up the sheet" – the other three conductors were to all intents and purposes always on the Otley local cross town service from Bradford Road (Golf House) to Newall Estate – they all liked it and it suited them with their Ultimate ticket machines !!
Variety of work – plenty as most duties involved working on more than one route daily – not all, but most – and the mix of routes was considerable, varying widely between very very busy town services and almost always hectic longer interurban ones. Running times were generally pretty tight, especially with traditional live transmission vehicles and much hilly terrain with frequent stops and, despite the oft heard modern saying "Ah but there wasn’t the traffic around then" there was more than enough to contend with.
Rolling stock – now here was the real appeal, especially to anyone with even a trace of interest and enthusiasm. The mix was incredible, with representatives new and previously owned, of a wide array of chassis and body makes, ages and origins – and mainly distributed seemingly "willy nilly" around the depots. Larger concerns might view this as unsatisfactory and often had rigid allocation policies – fair enough if it suited them. Despite this way of working at Ledgard’s maintenance by skilled and dedicated staff was extremely good indeed – most of the heavy work being carried out at Otley and the huge Armley Leeds premises – resulting in the virtually 100% reliable service at all times and in all conditions which the Public have never enjoyed since and a "straw poll" on the streets would certainly confirm this. The local press after the October 1967 SL demise was full of justifiable venom against the new regime(s).
Its often forgotten, or perhaps not even known by younger people, that until Samuel himself died in April 1952 all vehicle purchases since 1912 had been brand new, other than those acquired with taken over Firms. When the necessity then arose for multiple reasons, Death duties chiefly, to buy second hand the Executors chose carefully and wisely and only rarely bought a lame duck or, as is the amusing term oft used in the motor trade, a "dog."

Chris Youhill


23/02/15 – 07:30

Chris, thanks for that reply. So was Yeadon a "full" depot then? I’d always assumed it was an Otley dormy shed, like Ilkley.
Samuel Ledgard is always presented as the archetypical shrewd Yorkshire businessman . . . but he wasn’t so shrewd as to take the necessary steps to protect his main business interests in the event of his death. That being said he did die at a relatively young age and might not have thought it necessary at that time – and I suppose there are disadvantages in forming limited liability companies.

Philip Rushworth


23/02/15 – 07:31

Chris Y – You certainly have a nice and relaxed writing style, which is easy to read, informative, and easy to understand.
I must admit (and I am sure others will agree) that I read every one of your contributions to this site because they are so full of knowledge and interest, not just on Samuel Ledgard, as above, but on all aspects of PSV (none of that PCV stuff on here) operations, and history.
Long may you continue to contribute and keep me, at least, educated and informed with your wealth of knowledge.
For those on here who want to know more about the History of Samuel Ledgard then I would recommend the book, BEER AND BLUE BUSES – by DON BATE (ISBN: 9780952388494), if you are able to find one for sale. Mr Y has contributed, and, (not for the faint hearted) there is even a picture of him on the front cover.

Stephen Howarth


23/02/15 – 08:45

Indeed Philip, Yeadon was to all intents and purposes a full independent depot, and was referred to right up to the end in 1967 as "The Moorfield" – officially and among the staff and passengers. The name was of course that of the Moorfield Bus Company taken over by SL in 1934. All essential maintenance and quite heavy intermediate work was carried out there, but major overhauls and recertification were done at Otley. or Armley. The crews at Yeadon, about fourteen if I recall correctly, were a lively set of loveable individual characters – no one more so than "the Reverend Candler" who very sadly passed away en route for a late turn aged only in his early forties. Only very occasionally did Yeadon have to exchange staff with Otley in extreme circumstances – like my Siberian Monday rest day on a split turn with the aforementioned Reverend. Otherwise on Summer Sundays it was routine for Moorfield staff and buses, if available, to be sent on standby to Otley, where literally huge crowds of Leeds (mainly) and Bradford city dwellers needed taking home after a nice day out – sometimes the queues were still large at nine and ten on Sunday evenings, and all were cleared without fail – such was the reliable SL service.

Stephen – thank you indeed for your kind remarks which leave me blushing here. I do find it easy to write about the subject, and I enjoy keeping the fading history of the old Firm, and the earlier industry in general, alive where I can. I had to chuckle at your warning to the unwary that my picture (late 1957) on the cover of Don’s book is not for the fainthearted – I’m afraid that a current view if published would have the A & E Departments on overtime !! Don was only saying last evening that its around ten years since the book was published – time flies.

Chris Youhill


23/02/15 – 14:28

There are currently 3 copies available on ABE Books website (other book searches are available) they range between £30 and £40 +p&p

John Lomas


24/02/15 – 06:14

I’m surprised no one has picked up on Philip Rushworth’s comment that Samuel Ledgard died relatively young.
Born in 1874 and dying in 1952 that made him 78 years of age.
I would have thought that a "good innings" for that era.

Eric Bawden


24/02/15 – 06:15

Six in total John, from the three outlets

Chris Youhill


27/02/15 – 06:59

Eric, you are right: I didn’t check my facts – in my defence, my books are currently packed away – and I’d confused the date at which he became licensee of The Nelson . . . which would have made him about ?14 when he put his first char-a-banc on the road! But, it just serves to underline my point: he’d have been 72 when Clement Atlee’s Labour government took power – over the next few years he’d have had plenty time to see which way the wind was blowing on Capital Transfer Tax . . . and yet he did nothing to protect his businesses, despite his age.

Philip Rushworth


 

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Samuel Ledgard – Guy LUF – DCN 838

Samuel Ledgard - Guy LUF - DCN 838
All three shots from the Stephen Howarth collection

Samuel Ledgard
1954
Guy Arab LUF
Picktree C35F

DCN 838 was new to Samuel Ledgard in 1963, it was one of 35 second hand vehicles added to the fleet in an attempt at some sort of standardisation, in order to reduce stocking a wide range of spare parts.
It was new to Northern General Transport in 1954 as their 1538. A Guy Arab LUF – Chassis No LUF 72189 it had a Picktree C35F body.
It passed to West Yorkshire Road Car Company on 14th October 1967, upon the takeover of Ledgards by that company. It was never operated by WYRCC.
Samuel Ledgard - Guy LUF - DCN 838

Samuel Ledgard - Guy LUF - DCN 838

The three pictures show it in a sorry state in July 1968 being used as a Site Office with William Press at Leathley, not far from its home ground.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Stephen Howarth

———

19/08/12 – 12:05

If my records are correct, Northern had 13 of these, they were fitted with Gardner 6HLW engines, and you’ve said they were built by Picktree coachworks, which was more or less next door to Northern’s Chester Le Street depot. They were designed by Doug Pargeter who had previously been with Northern Coachbuilders. I don’t know of any others of this type, so they may well have been unique to Northern General. Unlike most of the coach fleet which were predominantly cream, these were all red, but looked very smart and were always well turned out. They were built mainly for continental work, and the off side emergency door was designed to allow easy access to to vehicle whilst it was being used in Europe. I’m not aware of any survivors

Ronnie Hoye

———

20/08/12 – 07:53

It seems that Picktree Coachworks was founded on 6th September 1947. The coach building side of the business tailed off in the mid 1950s – possibly these Guys were the last Picktree bodies of all – and its latter day activities consisted of the sale of motor vehicles. It closed down in November 1996, being fully wound up in April 1998. As far as I can gather, the bulk of Picktree’s output went to Northern General, who also had some curious Picktree bodied AEC Regals known as "kipper boxes" whose chassis incorporated components from older machines. It is certainly probable that the Guy LUF coaches carried over much of the design expertise from Northern Coachbuilders, and they were generally considered to be high quality vehicles. We certainly need Chris Y to give us his valuable insight into their life with Samuel Ledgard.

Roger Cox

———

20/08/12 – 07:54

What a sad end for a fine coach These were my favourite Ledgard coaches. They had well appointed interiors complete with aircraft style drop down tables in the seat backs. I had a number of trips on various members of the batch and they were a very smooth riding machine with a very melodious transmission.

Chris Hough

———

20/08/12 – 07:55

Just as a footnote to my previous comments. I don’t know when it closed, but Northern had a booking office in Pilgrim Street Newcastle which was just round the corner from Worswick St Bus Station. As a youngster I remember that in the centre of the window they had a model of one of these on display in a glass case. I don’t have a clue what scale it was, but to a boy of about 8 or 10 it looked huge, I wonder what happened to it?

Ronnie Hoye

———

20/08/12 – 11:46

What very sad but inevitable pictures Stephen, and so close to the operating area of these fine vehicles too. I am somewhat puzzled though by the theory that they were purchased with "standardisation" in mind, and with respect I don’t think that this was the case. Rather, I think they will have been snapped up as an absolute bargain in mid life highly luxurious coaches on well proven and reliable chassis, and from an operator with high maintenance standards too. There is no doubt at all that they were in superb order when they arrived, and they gave impeccable service. I was a devotee of the old Ledgard original livery of dark blue, cream and black for coaches, and the "DCN"s looked majestic and dignified so painted. The final ivory and pale blue colours were just "not them" and didn’t suit their traditional and individual styling at all I’m afraid.
We had eight of them, DCN 831/4/5/6/7/8/9/40, and DCN 832 was bought from Wood’s of Pollington for spares only. DCN 831 was at Otley from Day One and was a joy to drive – Chris Hough so rightly says that they were smooth riding (exceptionally so) and the transmission was quietly melodious – in fact these coaches simply oozed refined quality. I was once sent to the Morley Street stand in Bradford to work a half day excursion to Bridlington (such outings were legion in those happy days) where the manager, Mr. Tom Kent, was supervising the loading. Any prospective passengers viewing the chrome and glitter of the opposition companies were quietly informed with a gesture to 831 and "Nice seats here." By departure time the Guy was full and off we went – all without exception commented on what a lovely vehicle to travel in, and were very impressed by the Gardner’s competent and swift ascent of the notorious Garrowby Hill twixt York and Bridlington.
Returning briefly to the "standardisation" theory, I wonder if this perhaps arose from the purchase in 1963 -5 of the thirty four London RTs and five RTLs – certainly standardisation was the aim there, and they formed by far the largest class of identical vehicles in the Company’s history – sadly our "swan song" in view of the impending doom of October 14th 1967.

Chris Youhill

———

20/08/12 – 11:47

DCN 831_lr

I have been having another look through a box of pictures and came across this one. It is of similar coach DCN 831, again in a state of disrepair, hope it does not upset you too much seeing it this way Chris.

Stephen Howarth

———

20/08/12 – 14:05

Well Stephen, the entire saga of the demise of Samuel Ledgard upsets me but we just have to put up with it I suppose. The almost unreal proceedings in the week leading up to Saturday 14th October 1967 are still a sore point with enthusiasts and passengers, the latter never having had a truly satisfactory and reliable service since that date. DCN 831, in your latest picture of the near deserted roof of Armley Depot, was of course the vehicle which was always allocated to Otley Depot and, yes, I suppose I am still sad but there we are – the whole nature of the bus industry has altered out of all recognition and that’s that isn’t it ??

Chris Youhill

———

20/08/12 – 14:09

Sad to see this view of DCN 831, Stephen, as it captures its early demise on the Armley depot roof in June 1967, just a few months after it received a full repaint. This premature scrapping was because of badly decayed body pillars discovered during the repair of two accident-damage off-side panels (one of them seen missing in this picture?). I was fortunate enough to photograph it at Otley when freshly repainted two months earlier – see this link www.sct61.org.uk/

Paul Haywood


 

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London Transport – AEC Regent III – MXX 232 – RLH 32

London Transport - AEC Regent III - MXX 232 - RLH 32

London Transport - AEC Regent III - MXX 232 - RLH 32
Copyright Allan Machon

London Transport
1952
AEC Regent III 9613E 
Weymann L53R

Just a short contribution but I thought you may be interested in the above shots of ex London Transport RLH 32 which looked a real treat at the Oxford bus rally last Sunday 16th October.
As you can see it is still in the Samuel Ledgard livery which it received in 2007 for the 40th Anniversary of the Samuel Ledgard Society Re-enactment running day on Sunday 14th October of that year. The vehicle has been owned by Time Bus Travel of St. Albans since 1997 fortunately it narrowly escaped being converted into a mobile home in 1975

Photograph and Copy contributed by Allan Machon

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


23/10/11 – 08:06

Ah, the RLH, one of my favourites! Looking forward to seeing RLH 48 later today at Cobham/Brooklands Museum’s first major event at the new museum site. RLH 32 will gladden the heart of Chris Y.

David Oldfield


23/10/11 – 11:27

……and it gladdens my heart to see one, too, David, since I recall them, in my three years spent in London, running on the South Wimbledon circular 127 route. The strange thing is, that although they were originally bound for Midland General, I have never actually seen a photo of one in that company’s livery.
It certainly looks smart in SL’s livery, though.
Nice post!

Chris Hebbron


23/10/11 – 11:30

I had the honour, and I mean that most seriously, of conducting RLH 32 all day and evening on the day of the Samuel Ledgard commemoration – the beautifully restored vehicle represented the four RLHs which Samuel Ledgard operated (RLH2/4/6/8). Free public journeys, massively supported, were operated on Ledgard routes. I wore my genuine uniform which I’ve kept all these years, and used Setright machine SL 40 (I bought it some years ago) and real SL tickets. The day was even more memorable for me, as it was fifty years almost to the day since I started work as an eager young conductor in October 1957. SL 40 was also at our Otley and Ilkley depots throughout its existence. Just to add the final touch of nostalgia to the day preserved ex Bristol Leyland PD1/ECW LAE 13 was present – my first Ledgard bus in passenger service when I started driving in 1961 was LAE 12 !! Its scarcely possible to express sufficiently our gratitude to the gentlemen Messrs Pring for their expensive and superb restoration of MXX 232 and for bringing it all the way north to star in the Day’s events. You can see me in my smart conductors uniform and a shot of RLH 32 whilst way up north at this link.

Chris Youhill


24/10/11 – 07:44

Brooklands was the "very best of London Buses" – and it certainly was. Everything seemed to be in showroom shine condition and there was an excellent cross section of vehicles with a good route network. …..and yes, RL48 was in excellent condition and on top form out on the road. Chris H – I’m not sure any of them actually got to Midland General. They, along with Notts & Derbys, got some rather splendid KSW6G/ECW instead in 1953. They weren’t AEC/Weymann but they rather fine nonetheless.

David Oldfield


24/10/11 – 07:45

Lovely photos. The Weymann bodied Regent III was certainly a classic and an all time favourite of mine. I travelled home from school daily on Rochdale’s highbridge versions in the early 60’s. Just also noticed the Ford 100E behind in both views was exactly like my first car, a 1956 model acquired in 1965 – ah nostalgia!

Philip Halstead


24/10/11 – 13:44

MXX 232_c_lr

Here is a picture of RLH 32 taken in 1970 at Woking early in London Country days. It was then allocated to Addlestone Garage, but it didn’t last much longer with LCBS as it was withdrawn in July 1970. The Ledgard RLHs were Nos 2,4,6 and 8, KYY 502/4/6/8, which arrived at Armley between December 1964 and February 1965.

Roger Cox


25/10/11 – 06:55

Nice to see the bus in Woking, Roger C, a place I had and still have connexions with. They were based not just at Addlestone, but also Guildford Garage, but many of the routes didn’t need lowbridge vehicles at all. always felt that the red livery suited them best.
My understanding, David O, was that Midland General ordered thirty, but only took ten in the end, the other twenty going to LTE.

Chris Hebbron


25/10/11 – 06:59

RLH 2/4/6/8/ were purchased by Ledgard specifically for the Horsforth to Otley services, operated from Yeadon Depot, which required lowbridge vehicles. Funny though how "needs must", and on Saturday nights Otley depot operated three dance specials from Ilkley Town Hall, one of which was to Yeadon. Allocation of drivers for these appeared on the typewritten weekly master sheet at Otley and Ilkley Depots and in red block letters was shown as :-

DOUBLE DECK – KEEP TO CENTRE OF ROAD UNDER HENSHAW BRIDGE !!

Chris Youhill


25/10/11 – 07:01

I’m afraid this subject always arouses a little hostility in me because I never seem to see these vehicles ascribed correctly. In 1948, Midland General ordered thirty of these vehicles but it was decreed by the British Transport Commission that ten would have to suffice and when they were delivered in 1950, being registered ONU 630-639, the remaining twenty were diverted to London Transport. Midland General received payment from LT for them. The correct description should therefore be (in my opinion!) ‘London Transport’s Midland General type Regents’ Alas, I don’t hold out much hope of this but I’m as nostalgic about one sadly missed blue operator as Chris Y is about another!

Chris Barker


25/10/11 – 07:02

Before being taken over by the BTC, Midland General ordered 30 Regent/Weymann lowbridge buses when they only needed 10, in the hope of staving off the Bristol invasion for as long as possible. BTC was having none of this, and diverted 20 to London Transport, where they became the first 20 RLHs. That left 10 at Midland General, one of which is seen here http://www.sct61.org.uk/mg426.htm

Peter Williamson


25/10/11 – 11:34

I believe there were one or two routes in the Chesterfield/Alfreton area that required lowbridge buses. In addition the B8, Nottingham – Mansfield (by a peculiar circuitous route) also required them on account of a railway bridge near Bestwood Colliery. Despite being deprived of the remaining 20 lowbridge Regents, I think I am right in saying that no Bristols reached Midland General until the Lodekkas in 1954. The 15 KSW6Gs delivered in 1953 were actually designated Notts & Derby Traction, to replace trolleybuses on the A1 Nottingham – Ripley service. Actually, when the trolleybuses were withdrawn, the A1 (via Basford) ceased to be the main Riply service, and the KSWs operated on the parallel B1 (via Bobbersmill), displacing, in the main, highbridge preselector Regent IIIs of around 1949 vintage.

Stephen Ford


25/10/11 – 11:35

ONU 633_lr_2

One of my not very good shots I’m afraid the original is very very dark but it is in colour.

Peter


26/10/11 – 05:50

Thx, folks, for the full story (with link and colour photo) of these interesting buses. How different the MG ones look from their LTE cousins, with different destination display, upstairs roof ventilators and square number plate below windscreen. LTE did not change the side windows from the sliding version, though. I only saw MG vehicles when visiting relatives in Chesterfield and don’t recall seeing these at all. MG buses seemed to lurk in this town. Maybe, from the brief glimpses of their vehicles, I didn’t recognise them for what they were.

Chris Hebbron


26/10/11 – 15:51

It occurs to me that although Midland General became a constituent part of BTC in 1948 (and failed in its ploy to stave off Bristols for as long as possible!) it managed to keep its livery for many years. What other BTC companies, if any, retained their individual liveries? I exclude London Transport.

Chris Hebbron


26/10/11 – 16:53

MG was part of Balfour Beattie – who of course still exist in transport infrastructure (ie railways). They generated their own electricity for Notts and Derby and were thereby nationalised under the nationalisation of the power industry.
It has not occurred to me until this recent post that MG had deliberately over ordered so that they could have as many of their beloved AEC/Weymanns as possible. [Pity they were rumbled.]
Red and White and Cheltenham and District were also Balfour Beattie and retained their own distinctive liveries until NBC days – just that reds and whites didn’t stick out so much. Even so, there was still a greater element of freedom of liveries with BTC/Tilling than with NBC. [United and Crosville coach liveries not to mention Brighton and Hove.]

David Oldfield


26/10/11 – 17:48

With respect, I don’t think that the Red and White group of companies was associated with Balfour Beatty. Balfour Beatty certainly owned Notts and Derby, Midland General and Mansfield and District, but Red and White United Transport was a separate group which included, apart from Red and White’s own services, those of Cheltenham District, Newbury and District, South Midland, United Welsh and Venture of Basingstoke. The group sold out its British bus operations to the BTC in 1950, but retained its overseas interests under the name United Transport Company, until it disposed of these to the BET group in 1971.

Roger Cox


26/10/11 – 18:20

Glad my photos of RLH32 have given pleasure. I was particularly interested in Roger’s photo of RLH32 working out of Addlestone Garage (WY). In the late’60s, I was working at Plessey Radar in Addlestone and spent many a happy lunch hour around the garage. I am sure I must have seen her then, but regrettably have no photos.

Allan Machon


27/10/11 – 07:23

I have a feeling that the Red & White Group were always independent until voluntarily selling out to the BTC – how they must have cursed, because they were (to the best of my knowledge) the last company to succumb (at least voluntarily) before the Labour Government fell. Cheltenham District were owned by Balfour Beatty until Red & White bought them out a short time before the outbreak of war. It was stupid of me to have forgotten about C & D, which were on my doorstep. As you say, David O, they didn’t stick out so much (and I’m colour-blind)!

Chris Hebbron


27/10/11 – 07:24

Cheltenham District had been a Balfour Beatty company but was sold to the Red & White group in 1939. Another BB company was Llanelli & District which was absorbed by South Wales in 1952. Interesting comments about the ordering of these vehicles, Midland General had some very lucrative services and also some very hilly routes. Perhaps the thought of fully loaded buses going up steep hills led them to conclude that the 9.6 litre Regent was a better prospect than what they were destined to receive from Bristol!

Chris Barker


27/10/11 – 12:08

Yes, Midland General can’t have been over-impressed by their first experience of Bristols – in my earlier posting I had forgotten that in 1953 they received three second hand lowbridge K5Gs from Hants & Dorset (two 1939 and one 1940 vintage). Thrashing one of them up the hill from Langley Mill to Heanor market place would have been a slow and noisy experience! About 1963, the 7.7 litre crash gearbox Regent IIs only came out on Saturdays on the Nottingham – Alfreton run (B3/C5). Yet I recall hearing a driver express his strong preference even for these over the everyday Lodekkas. His comment was, "Put one of these [Regents] in first and it’ll climb up the side of a house."

Stephen Ford


30/10/11 – 06:26

I was always told that Red and White was started by the Watts family who I believe are still in business as tyre fitters.

Philip Carlton


30/10/11 – 17:35

Correct: Watts of Lydney, Glos., are a very large tyre company with a global presence,including aircraft, fork lift truck and industrial tyres.

Chris Hebbron


23/03/12 – 06:46

Reading Chris’s story about drivers of double deckers being strongly advised to keep to the centre of the road under a certain bridge reminded me of at least one other notice. When much younger I liked to sit in the seat behind the driver, I was fascinated by a notice in the cab of Maidstone & District double deckers which read " This a highbridge double decker not to be driven into Bexhill, Sittingbourne or Tenterden garages". As none of the local companies operated lowbridge buses in the area I was at that time unsure of the difference between the two types this being around 65 years ago. I know that at a later date an extension was built onto Bexhill garage to allow highbridge buses into that part only, I only drove coaches into Tenterden garage so I am sure if any alterations were made there and never even saw Sittingbourne garage

Diesel Dave


23/03/12 – 16:38

London Transport had to pick their bus garages carefully when they received their austerity buses during the war, as they were taller than the usual LT spec. Their garages were inherited from a motley collection of past companies and fortunately some had high-enough entrances to cater for them. Most Guys finished up in East London and most Daimlers in Merton/Sutton Garages.

Chris Hebbron


26/05/12 – 07:01

This might be one for Chris Youhill (who’s postings I’ve followed on other sites): why work for Ledgard’s, as opposed to LCT, BCT or WYRCC?
I suppose location might be a factor: only Ledgard had a depot in Otley or Yeadon, but in Bradford surely BCT offered better working conditions? Similarly in Ilkley wouldn’t WYRCC have offered better conditions than Ledgard? And couldn’t Armley-based staff have travelled on the frequent LCT services to LCT’s Bramley depot? WYRCC/BCT/LCC all ran more modern fleets . . . What was it that tied staff to Ledgard’s?
And, for that matter, why did staff in any town with both a company and "corpo" depot (Halifax for example) choose the former over the latter – location of depots? or what??

Philip Rushworth


26/05/12 – 09:30

Well there’s another cat put among the pigeons, Philip!

David Oldfield


26/05/12 – 16:48

While Chris Y is getting steam up (for which I am waiting with baited breath!), I’ll throw in my pennyworth. All sorts of reasons. Leaving aside the political “labour/public versus conservative/private” debate, different operators created different impressions and reputations for themselves. “Xyz is a lousy company and I wouldn’t work for them if they were the last employer on earth” etc. You will know from my comments elsewhere that I was a fan of Nottingham City Transport – it always seemed efficient and competent, and its buses were usually well-kept – even the older ones. BUT NCT had a reputation – they waited for nobody. With the conductor on the platform, they would ring off with you no more than three paces away, and a pre-selector Regent , second gear engaged and held only on the footbrake would take off like a greyhound. You stood no chance! Barton’s on the other hand, and South Notts too, would wait for any runners, and their conductors were generally more considerate, helping with pushchairs, luggage etc. Obviously there is more scope to re-coup time on longer interurban journeys, so in a way this is understandable. On the other hand, Barton as an employer had a reputation for being high-handed. The company belonged to the family, and any driver who damaged a bus got his marching orders. Obviously staff who were also enthusiasts might have their own reasons for wanting to work for this, rather than that operator – especially those that ran varied and interesting fleets. And don’t forget that in the 1950s and 60s there was a degree of government control over pay through the Ministry of Labour’s Wages Inspectorate – so it was not necessarily a case of small private operators paying significantly lower wages.

Stephen Ford


26/05/12 – 20:33

Many full-time employees of smaller, private companies started as part-timers, something not countenanced by most of the larger companies – except in Scotland.

Alan Hall


26/05/12 – 20:41

In the Halifax case, Philip, and very probably in other Corporation v Company scenarios, the influencing factors were the higher standards of wages and conditions on the municipalities.

Roger Cox


27/05/12 – 06:38

Stephen mentions the high handed attitude to staff from the Barton management the same autocratic attitude was practised by Samuel Ledgard prior to his death in 1952. There are many apocryphal stories about his attitude to staff. One is of a guard being sacked after Mr Ledgard saw him riding a motor bike and told he was not paid enough to have such a machine and he was sacked! Another is when an elderly passenger told a crew they were running early. The guard told the passenger it was"nowt to do with thee" The next day the man was summoned to see Mr Ledgard aka the old man.
Leeds corporation were also strict although higher pay was the norm with numerous stringent fines and restrictions for transgressors.

Chris Hough


30/05/12 – 07:25

I was most amused by Stephen’s accurate expectation that I shall be "getting steam up" and he won’t be disappointed !! However I’m going on holiday for ten days or so and therefore I’ll write it when I get back. The matter of staff loyalty to independent operators is a complex one and I should be able to outline many aspects which will, I think, surprise Philip.

Chris Youhill


12/06/12 – 07:09

ME ON 890 PLATFORM

In answer to Philip’s query of the 26th Ultimo (as "last month" used to be referred to in the days of quills and ink) I think that, to avoid writing a complex book here on OBP, I can sum up the subject in two simple words – "JOB SATISFACTION."
In the case of the Samuel Ledgard undertaking it was of course not the usual small independent operator but was a large concern with five depots, or to be strictly accurate four depots and one "running shed." The Firm was a very good employer indeed and paid wage rates well above what was necessary, but quite reasonably in return insisted rigidly that "the job was done properly" – as a minority who thought otherwise soon found out as they queued at the Labour Exchange !!
The network of busy tightly timed services was an interesting one, varying between well patronised interurban routes through local town facilities to medium length outer district forays. Comprehensive rotas were in force at all depots and all staff worked interestingly on all routes operated from those premises. The Contract, Private Hire, Express Service and Excursion functions were thriving and varied.
The fleet was quite magnificent in its variety of chassis and bodywork makes and models – new and, after the demise of the Founder Samuel, second hand. A duty could easily involve a new synchromesh AEC, followed by a new or second hand manual Leyland PD and, later in the day a preselector Daimler (new or "previously owned") – and perhaps an Albion Valkrie or a 1930 ex Birmingham Regent 1 very successfully posing as a Burlingham veteran luxury coach/maid of all work thirty years "new." Well, enough of the nostalgia which really made the job so very enjoyable and varied.
It must be stressed that the Firm’s services were so totally reliable, and greatly appreciated by the Public, that such a level has never been seen in the area since and is still greatly missed. The vehicles, regardless of pedigree, were superbly maintained by very proud craftsmen staff and well treated by drivers with a pride, and ANY lost mileage (which was so rare as to be a sensation followed by a searching enquiry) was regarded as a very serious matter indeed and was virtually never caused by a breakdown. Yes, the Municipal and Group operators may have appeared to offer better conditions and in some ways did, but some of their modes of operation were the road to boredom and insanity. I have also worked for Leeds City Transport where OPO drivers or crews lived on the same route year in year out and, in the case of the crews, with the same "mate" day in day out. This system encouraged widespread work dodging as a science by those so inclined of whom there were plenty (classed conceitedly by themselves as "fast men" which in reality meant gearbox, flywheel and diff wreckers) and double the work for those who wouldn’t lower their standards. I also worked for West Yorkshire at Ilkley which was better, as you did all the routes and had a different colleague every week. I finished my career for the last fourteen years with the Pontefract family owned firm of South Yorkshire – in effect a miniature version of Samuel Ledgard’s – where good wages were paid and the vehicles were also superbly maintained, and everyone worked all the routes long and local.
By the way Philip, just a small point, but West Yorkshire did in fact have a depot in Yeadon High Street.
So, there you have it, I’ve tried to explain as briefly as possible "Why work for Ledgard’s" – believe me I wish I could turn back the clock to October 1957 and start all over again – as Mr. Sinatra famously sang "I did it my way."

Chris Youhill


12/06/12 – 18:47

Nice to see you on the platform of D213/HGF 690, which Sam’l Ledgard had from 1954 to 1960. I’d like to have seen them in SL’s excellent livery. Did you start as a conductor and work up to driver?
I think your reply was very appropriate. Within reason, pay is less important than job satisfaction and a good employer encourages a loyal and stable workforce. And you were lucky to have lived in an era of buses of various ages, makes and technical differences. It needed skill and empathy to drive a vehicle with a crash, then synchromesh gearbox, then a pre-selective gearbox, and make a good job of it.

Chris Hebbron


13/06/12 – 09:30

Sorry, I meant HGF890.
My abiding memory of these buses was how imposing they looked from the outside, being very tall at 14′ 6", and spacious inside, due, I suppose, to their high roofs. they sported LT’s three-piece indicators, which was unattractive at the rear, seemingly stuck on with glue! Looks as if SL unstuck them from the above photo!

Chris Hebbron


13/06/12 – 09:33

Chris Y s comments on LCT are interesting when my dad was a guard from 1953-1984 he had a total of three drivers in that time For much of the period different garages worked allocated routes although this changed as OMO spread and crews moved to the remaining 2 man routes and the use of universal rostering meant that all depots eventually worked all routes. There also existed a "senior rota" for long serving crews whereby they did not have extremes of starting and finishing times
Like many bus operators LCT had to take what it could get in terms of recruits when people were reluctant to work unsocial hours in a time of full employment this did not in many cases lend itself to good customer relations and the service and the publics perception of the service suffered As a result a whole phalanx of potential passengers were lost for good

Chris Hough


MXX 232_lr (2) Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


13/06/12 – 09:34

Thanks Chris Hebbron – yes the London Sutton depot "HGFs" were a fine model full of real character. One hundred of them were delivered between May and November 1946 – Daimler CWA6/Park Royal. In 1953/4 we acquired no less than twenty two of them at a time when the prewar fleet had to be replaced – they performed heroically and handled heavily loaded services punctually and reliably on very harsh roads.
They retained a lovely London feature in the cabs above the windscreens, in Gill Sans lettering, "DOUBLE DECK- HEIGHT 14’6" To my utter amazement they were apparently the first London buses to feature a continuous cord bell in the lower saloon – I was always under the impression that this had been a London feature !! The sound emitted by the cab roof buzzer to indicate that the upper saloon bell push was being used was sheer joy, and bestowed a most beneficial free foot massage on the front seat passengers up there.
The picture was taken at Ilkley in December 1957 in my second month as a conductor. The Firm did not teach people to drive, and so I obtained my PSV licence elsewhere before eagerly returning to where my heart lay, and my first duty as a driver was a late turn on a Friday on the very busy Leeds – Guiseley – Ilkley service. The bus was ex Bristol Leyland PD1/ECW LAE 12 which behaved like a dream and performed like a trooper.

Chris Youhill


13/05/13 – 07:34

Chris et al, sorry! I’ve only just stumbled on your replies to my question: the answers were, quite frankly, staring me in the face.

Philip Rushworth


 

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