Old Bus Photos

Samuel Ledgard – Daimler CWA6 – HGF 948

HGF 948_lr
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Samuel Ledgard
1946
Daimler CWA6
Brush C36C

Life for an enthusiast working for Samuel Ledgard was always full of intriguing surprises and developments, some of which are enigmas to this very day and will almost certainly now remain so. The saga of HGF 948 is a fascinating one indeed which involves two Daimler CWA6 chassis, a prewar Maudslay SF40 coach chassis, a Park Royal "relaxed utility" double deck body, and a prewar (1935) Brush luxury coach body. The starting point of the scheme involved the first major overhaul for Ledgard’s own Daimler CWA6/Duple utility JUB 649, this routine procedure being completed in 1963 but alas, most uncharacteristically, the bodywork condition was not to the Ministry Man’s satisfaction and the vehicle was held in abeyance for later consideration. However, also in 1963, the Sutton Depot "HGF"s were being acquired and many arrived with worthwhile current Certificates of Fitness – HGF 948 was one such and the mysterious decision was taken to mount its sound body on the satisfactorily overhauled and certified chassis of JUB 649, producing a unique vehicle which could be put into service almost immediately after minor body attention and repainting. The Duple body of JUB 647, the only Ledgard utility of that make to deteriorate prematurely, was scrapped, as was the Maudslay SF40 chassis. We were now left with a Daimler CWA6 chassis with Certificate of Fitness and a prewar Brush centre entrance full front luxury coach body – "virtually impossible to match the two" you might reasonably say, but never underestimate the quiet modest expertise of those immortal Armley workshops – in no time at all the mongrel subject of this little exercise was ready to start several years of valuable service on all classes of coach duties, and was not too proud to cover the occasional conductor operated service journey when asked. Earlier I used the term "enigma" and here is one if ever there was one. Why, we wonder still, wasn’t HGF 948 left in one piece like its twenty one siblings which joined our fleet?? – and why wasn’t the Brush coach body simply mounted on Ledgard’s own Daimler JUB 649?? Here is a picture of the "new" HGF 948 at Elland Road Football Ground on a supporters’ pilgrimage – the vehicle bears a pensive expression, as if there must surely be more prestigious assignments even on a Winter Saturday !!
I’m very happy to have been able to show Chris Hebron, as requested, another of the many fascinating sides of the Ledgard operation.

JUB 649_lr

This other view is of JUB 649, newly in service with the London body from HGF 948, in Otley Road, Headingley – proudly sporting its own pair of small headlamps incorporated into the original large frames from HGF 948 – only just now, while uploading this picture, have I noticed this "one off" anomaly.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Youhill

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.


17/04/11 – 05:00

A fascinating story, Chris, all the more so because of the seeming illogicality of it all! And the headlamp modification is bizarre, the small one inside the large one. In fact, the standard LT Daimlers also had the tiny headlamps, until some of the last went for overhaul, when they were fitted with larger ones, However, HGF 948 was not one of the few overhauled in 1952, being so treated in 1949, maybe why the body was not considered entirely sound. Incidentally, I never saw an overhauled Merton one with large headlamps. Samuel Ledgard were clearly worthy successors in maintaining LT’s high standards of painting and maintenance. And it looks the ‘bees knees’ in blue, with silver-painted radiator and minus adverts! Did they all keep their LT three-piece blind displays throughout their tenure with SL? When was it finally withdrawn?

Chris Hebbron


17/04/11 – 05:10

JUB 649 brings back many fond memories as I rode on this bus on many occasions and always thought it ran smoother than its HGF London cousins. Regarding the reason for this body transfer, I wonder whether the issue was "brass." The Executors of Samuel Ledgard were struggling to keep solvent in late 1953 and having spent a lot of "brass" on the overhaul of the chassis of JUB 649, they wanted to get this bus back in service, so a quick fix would be to transfer an ex London Park Royal body with some Certificate of Fitness and HGF 948 fitted the bill. The time to sort the Brush coach body transfer on to a Daimler CWA6 chassis would take a longer time to do. Many thanks Chris for a wonderful posting.

Richard Fieldhouse


20/04/11 – 07:49

Many thanks Chris H for even more fascinating local London information about the fabulous "HGF"s. You may be amazed to hear that not one of these valiant motors retained the three piece London displays throughout their time with us. Its true to say that every single bus had the front arrangements altered many times to various differing styles – in fact if one’s memory would allow it a sizeable booklet could be written on this aspect alone – and its possible that a study of the vast number of photographs available would allow an accurate and detailed account to be assembled. Most entered service initially with the London displays masked in a variety of individual ways and often with the tiny "mean" destination blinds from prewar Titan TDs and the like. Four, however, were comprehensively overhauled from the start and were fitted with very professional platform doors and a freshly designed single front aperture, with new large size roll, and the Company name in an illuminated glass above. By contrast every one of the twenty two buses had the platform destination window fitted with paper advertisements, with a variety of advertisements for the Company’s activities. Likewise all the rear London displays were removed and impeccably panelled over. JUB 649 gave stirling front line service on extremely arduous and busy routes until withdrawal on 31st March 1960.
Richard, you are quite right in that "brass" was critically short for a couple of years after Sammy passed away – in fact its nothing short of a miracle that the Firm survived that spell to recover and eventually become smarter and finer than ever before the end loomed. We are still baffled, however, as to why HGF 948 wasn’t left alone – and the chassis of JUB 649 mated with the coach body of CUB 1 – we shall never know now shall we ??

Chris Youhill


21/04/11 – 06:08

I would imagine that transferring the coach body to the Daimler would not have been without difficulties.
I believe the Maudslay SF40 was an underfloor engine chassis with a set back front axle and would have had a straight floorline throughout and as it was centre entrance, would have had two seats beside the driver. Presumably, a hole would have been cut for engine intrusion and a bonnet would have been required to cover it and then a bulkhead added where there hadn’t been one previously.
I guess the wheelbase of the two vehicles would have differed also.
Certainly one of the most fascinating creations I’ve ever seen!

Chris Barker


21/04/11 – 11:45

A bit of confusion here Chris B I’m afraid. The Maudslay SF40 was a front engined chassis, with prominent and ugly starting handle to prove it. The transfer of the body to a Daimler CWA6 chassis was indeed a difficult – outlandish even – performance, but this was achieved by Rhodes of Bingley (a coachbuilder and repairer) who made the necessary modifications to the Brush coach body. The procedure could have been carried out in exactly the same manner though if JUB 649 had been chosen (having a chassis identical to HGF 948) and so the mystery of why the Londoner was interfered with in this interesting saga remains unanswered and I fear always will. The upside of the strange affair is a bonus though, as enthusiasts were treated to two literally unique vehicles.

Chris Youhill


21/04/11 – 11:56

Look at the relationship between the steering position/wheel and the front: we are surely looking at quite a space in front of the where the front should be: was the driver barbequed, or was the coach like one of today’s "luxury" service bus rattlecans where the driver does not seem to know how to regulate the heating?

Joe


22/04/11 – 06:44

Chris Y, yes of course the SF40 had a front engine, the number of times I’ve looked at pictures and seen the starting handle as you say, and the large grille but its one of those rarities which gives a false sort of impression, I think its because the entrance was (usually) ahead of the front wheel!
With regard to Joe’s comment, I hadn’t noticed the steering wheel does seem quite a way back from the windscreen, would the conversion have involved alteration of the driving position?

Chris Barker


22/04/11 – 11:44

Joe and Chris B have raised an amazing issue which I had never noticed before – shame on me as one of the most avid of Ledgard devotees !! Firstly, I’m quite confident that no alteration whatever was made to the Daimler chassis of HGF 948. This being the case, comparison of the Brush body in Maudslay and Daimler days reveals some far more dramatic coachwork alterations than I’d ever noticed.
On the Maudslay the front axle occupied the first two bays ahead of the centre exit, but not the front section – on the Daimler the bay ahead of the exit has become uninterrupted while the CWA6 front axle occupies most of the front section. Whether or not the length of the front/windscreen section has been slightly increased is debatable – possibly it has a little, and this would account for the quite unusually large distance between the driver and the windscreens. It seems likely that the Daimler chassis members have been lengthened slightly, possibly to allow the radiator to be mounted immediately behind the front panels, explaining why the driver is so far back. One thing I’m sure about – if Sir Edward Elgar had been around he would certainly have written an extra "Enigma variation" in honour of this fascinating vehicle, and I wonder what the Sutton commuters would have thought if they could have seen the unique career which awaited their motive power in its later years !!

Chris Youhill


23/04/11 – 08:13

It seems to me that the front end of the chassis was left unaltered and I would expect to find the original Daimler fluted radiator under there, with all that was used of the SF40 chassis front end being the grille. What has happened is that the body overhangs the front of the chassis after modification, giving the effect that the steering wheel has been set back. To change the geometry of the steering would be a very complex job and easy to get wrong.
I need to swot up on my maximum legal vehicle lengths. Although the chassis proportions have been altered, there is no issue with overall length as single-deckers had a longer maximum permitted length than double-deckers and by the time this had been modified thirty foot long single-deckers were legal.

David Beilby


23/04/11 – 08:14

As you’ve already alluded to, what a lot of effort to go to, especially as the body alterations were out-sourced! I’d love to have ridden on this mongrel, or maybe hybrid would be a better word!

Chris Hebbron


23/04/11 – 08:15

The camera angle can be deceptive, but if you look at JUB you can see the difference: the driver is no longer sitting "on" the front axle. This is not, I think, unusual in a coach of that vintage. My idea was that you had a hot Daimler engine, reeking of diesel cooped up in the passenger "saloon" but of course it’s not, it’s an AEC! Yes- it looks as if the radiator could have been brought forward to the front of the (extended) chassis.
Who, by the way, installed that "Bentley" radiator grille on JUB?!

Joe


23/04/11 – 08:16

Clearly Ledgards could have selected a doner vehicle for the coach which would have made for a much simpler conversion – and a newer one too, the decision to rehabilitate a seventeen year old coach body was astonishing to say the least but perhaps the Maudslay was chosen because they wanted the end product to have a full front.
As for HGF 948, if as you say Chris Y, the body was sound and it had a current Certificate of Fitness, this is pure speculation but is it possible the CofF would have expired in a relatively short time and the need for serviceable deckers was desperate? The coach appears to have been fitted with a half bulkhead behind the driver, just up to waist level, is there a photo of the Maudslay before the conversion?
It occurred to me how wonderful it is that Ledgards unwittingly provided two creations which are a source of interest and fascination to us nearly sixty years later, something which will never happen in future!

Chris Barker


23/04/11 – 16:39

I’m surprised at how much interest this matter has aroused, and so many theories also. So here is a photo of the Maudslay CUB 1 when new (source unknown but presumably Brush Works). Also the original posting shot is with it for comparison.

Chris Youhill

CUB 1_lr

HGF 948_lr


24/04/11 – 07:21

Thought for the day. Why did AEC buy Maudsley and Crossley in 1948? They were both lame ducks and financial disasters. [Yes, I know, they were also innovative engineers but they never followed through with practical or commercial successes.] What was in it for AEC? They derived far more benefit from Park Royal – Roe a year later in 1949.

David Oldfield


24/04/11 – 07:25

Thx for the ‘before’ photo, Chris Y. I have to say that the original product looked better and surprisingly modern for 1935. It would have passed muster as new in 1948, IMHO. The starting handle slightly mars the sleek effect, though! Interesting that the quarter bumpers survived the rebuild!

Chris Hebbron


25/04/11 – 06:52

Yes thanks indeed, even more interest! The rebuild appears to be even more substantial than I imagined.
Just like those ‘spot the difference’ competitions, I notice that the outward flare of the skirt panels was removed, BOTH wheelarches were re-positioned and altered, the nearside front window appears to be the same length but droops more at the corner and the front dome seems to be different also, all this and the considerable alteration to mouldings, amazing!

Chris Barker


25/04/11 – 13:18

As you say Chris B, this saga gets ever more fascinating. While I was aware that the outward flare of the skirt had disappeared I hadn’t noticed until you pointed it out that the Daimler rear axle caused the rear half of the body to be "adjusted forward" by about one bay width. Without detracting from the many fascinating operations embarked upon by my grand old Firm it has to be said that the scope of this particular scheme becomes ever more astonishing, and no doubt expensive ?? – for a result which went directly against the "modern look" craze which was all the rage at the time.

Chris Youhill


25/04/11 – 17:57

I can guess at the Maudslay/Crossley takeover- AEC wanted more capacity for anticipated post war orders which could not be provided in austerity Britain- so buy it in and use the best of the resources you have acquired, plus factory capacity.
As for the "new" coach, do you think the coachbuilders wanted some practice, again with a view to post war expansion & had no chassis to work on? It’s the sort of job you set the apprentices on!

Joe


27/04/11 – 07:41

One further comment then I’ll cease! The original vehicle (the Maudslay) was a very handsome coach of which Ledgards were no doubt justifiably proud. It achieved a very creditable sixteen or seventeen years service (including a world war!) and as Chris H says, it would have stood up well against many an early underfloor engined coach of the early fifties.
I hadn’t realised that there is a photo of it in the ‘Prestige’ volume, which tells us that it was fitted with a Leyland 8.6 litre diesel unit in 1948. Presumably, by 1952, the Maudslay chassis was beyond redemption mechanically, especially as that company had sold out by then. It made me wonder if it would have been a cheaper option to transfer the Daimler running units into the Maudslay chassis but I know little about such matters.
Perhaps Ledgards went into the venture thinking that the fine looks of the original would be retained but as we see, the rebuild, whilst being something to marvel at, rather lost the gracefulness of CUB 1.

Chris Barker


28/04/11 – 06:34

Please Chris B , no need to cease commenting at all!! I had completely forgotten about CUB 1 having its Maudslay engine replaced by an 8.6 litre Leyland unit and, while there’s a year or so discrepancy in various accounts, I imagine that it would be the engine removed from 1936 TS7 Tiger/English Electric CUG 844 which was prematurely and very surprisingly withdrawn with a cracked chassis.

Chris Youhill


29/04/11 – 06:55

Well ok! No doubt the Maudslay engine was life-expired by 1948 but could it have been that after fitting the Leyland 8.6 unit, problems arose with massive engine overhanging the front axle? (does that remind you of anything?) There was something I just couldn’t put my finger on when looking at the two pictures, then I realised. Erase the grille and starting handle from CUB 1 for a moment and like I said, it could easily be taken for an underfloor engined coach of the early fifties. In its second incarnation, it was very obviously a front engined vehicle with full front.

Chris Barker


30/04/11 – 06:53

Bearing in mind that this was a bus built as a decker, as a coach, it must have had quite a lively performance.

Chris Hebbron


30/04/11 – 06:55

Yes Chris B, I daresay the Leyland engine was much heavier and, although I never heard of any difficulty arising from that, its quite feasible that it was a problem. I chuckled when you asked if that reminded me of anything – only a few weeks ago I was privileged to be allowed to sit in the cab of the preserved West Riding Guy Wulfrunian, and even though it was safely in a depot shed with the engine off, I almost reached for the travel sickness tablets on remembering that four way swaying and hissing of air valves from all those years ago !! As is widely known the excess weight on the front was ultimately partly relieved by removing eight upper saloon seats – that’s the end of this diversion from the topic.

Chris Youhill


30/04/11 – 15:27

Amazing, Chris Y. I suggest that someone posts a photo of a Guy Wulfrunian, which would probably generate a record number of posts! I believe it would just qualify on age grounds!

Chris Hebbron


HGF 948_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


20/01/17 – 14:13

I was wondering if anyone knew why some of the fleet had green roofs?

Jeff Lawton


21/01/17 – 07:25

No problem at all there Jeff – the saga of the green roofs is a delightful one. When Mr. Ledgard’s first double deckers arrived in 1930, all Leyland petrol Titan TD1s, they had wooden roofs covered in green canvas. This appealed to Samuel who immediatlely decreed that all future double deckers would have green roofs and indeed they did, right up to the 1957 AEC Regent Vs with Roe bodies. Also possibly for a short while after that second hand vehicles did so as well – ex Bury Daimler/Roe EN 8408 was certainly one.

Chris Youhill


 

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Samuel Ledgard – Guy Arab I – JUA 762

Samuel Ledgard – Guy Arab I – JUA 762

Samuel Ledgard – Guy Arab I – JUA 763
Photographs by ‘unknown’ if you took these photos please go to the copyright page.

Samuel Ledgard
Guy Arab I
1943
Pickering H30/26R
Re-bodied 1953 Roe H31/25R

Much has been widely written about World War II utility bodywork and the appearance and durability of the various makes. Possibly the least numerous were the bodies by Pickering of Wishaw, the uppermost shot of one of the two Samuel Ledgard examples been shown here. JUA 762 was an Arab FD1 with the flush bonnet and Gardner 5LW engine. It has to be said that the Pickering bodies quickly deteriorated structurally and soon became a very sad sight. This picture clearly shows the most unusual, and extravagant in the circumstances, upper saloon emergency exit with three large glass panes. This bus and its FD2 twin were new in 1943 and in 1951 they were rebodied by Roe as shown in the lower view, and initially retained their 5LW engines. In 1956 they received 6LW units which necessitated the lengthening of the bonnet for JUA 762 – JUA 763 (lower picture) being an FD2 model was of course all ready for the longer engine without such a modification. There were many anomalies in the allocation of vehicles by the Ministry of Supply in those dark days and here we have a classic example – one of each model delivered together. On the theme of utility bodies in general I have to say that I thought that the Duple offering was of very pleasing appearance and, from my experience of working on them, possibly the soundest and most durable in construction. The shapely Northern Counties bodies were, of course, a most pleasing exception to the rule in their own right.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Chris Youhill

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.

———

Go on Chris- explain about the Emergency Exit: I always take it as a door at the upstairs back from which some unfortunate youth occasionally drops: (in my day we would not have dared to annoy the conductor by even touching it and would ever after have to sit downstairs) was that non-utility? Were there 3 kickout panes – presumably on each side?
I would also like someone to tell me why these 6 cylinder Guys had to have snout extensions, sometimes if I recall with a radiator shrouded in leather? Were Gardner engines longer than say Daimler or Leyland?

Joe

———

I don’t think Joe that there is anything dramatic about the emergency exits on the utility Pickering bodies. Presumably it was simply their own design but seemed rather extravagant under the Wartime shortages. The two vertical dividing pieces can just be made out in the picture and the total glazed area is quite enormous.
I have spoken to a very knowledgeable friend about your second question which had me foxed. Seemingly there was no excessive length in the Gardner 6LW engines and the reason for the "snouts" is quite fascinating. The wartime Arabs were seemingly designed with consideration being given to the Ministry orders that they were all to be fitted with 5LW engines in the interests of fuel economy. After early deliveries it appears that operators in hilly districts complained that performance was not adequate and therefore the FD2 was introduced with space for the longer six cylinder unit in a few cases where "hilly hardship" could be proved. As the chassis had been designed with transmission components arranged to suit the shorter engine the only practicable course was to provide "the snout" and the somewhat untidy but fascinating leather "filler." Presumably the bonnet itself remained the same for each version, and my informant believes that a dispensation was granted as the alteration caused the vehicle length to slightly exceed the 26 foot maximum of the time.

Chris Youhill

———

Sorry- I’ve seen it: the two glazing bars at the back. Perhaps they had three long pieces of glass in the shed left over from a carriage contract- doors? (that’s a wild guess!). I thought you meant those three plain windows at the rear- but then you had privileged access to the back!

Joe

———

I wish someone would produce, like magic, a full rear view of the Pickering bodies – nobody seems to have one – and I was really glad when this nearside view turned up quite recently as the strange emergency door glazing can at least just be seen – I was beginning to fear that my memories of teenage years was perhaps playing tricks on me.

Chris Youhill

———

Obviously, everyone goes for the standard 3/4 front view picture, and I have no dispute with that. Very few people seemed to take the equally characterful rear 3/4 shots, and even less managed to capture the interior atmosphere – the different designs of seats, light fittings, bell-pushes, framing etc. Of course, interior shots in the pre-digital era meant extra expense on flash, and not entirely satisfactory results because of glare from glazed surfaces and so on. But the interior (and of course the sound) was THE bus travel experience. Any interior and/or rear shots out there?

Stephen Ford

———

The ‘snout’ was a means of accommodating the extra length of the six-cylinder (6LW) Gardner engine when it replaced the five-cylinder (5LW) unit. Gardners were generally quite long engines for their capacity. This was due them having a ‘timing case’ of generous proportions, housing a triplex timing chain, and also due to the arrangement of the cylinder blocks. The latter were split into pairs, so a 4LW would have two 2-cylinder blocks, a 6LW two 3-cylinder blocks and a 5LW would have a 3-cylinder plus a 2-cylinder block (no doubt today this would be termed ‘modular construction’!). This arrangement added to engine length as the water jacket had to extend around both ends of each block, and there was a gap between each block as well.
The original Guy Arab utility ‘decker was built to the 26ft overall length of the period. By the time Sammie’s ‘twins’ were re-bodied, double-decker dimensions had been increased to 27ft. Thus a more powerful, but longer 6LW could be fitted by extending the bonnet and moving the radiator forward to accommodate it. The alternative would have been to have the rear of engine protrude into the lower saloon, no doubt entailing modifying the front bulkhead, shortening the prop shaft and altering the gearchange linkages. Possibly the chassis cross member behind the engine would require attention as well. Moving things in a forward direction was much simpler!
Apparently after production of the first 500 utility Guy Arabs, the bonnets were lengthened in order to accommodate 6LW engines, should operators require them. Special dispensation was authorised to allow for their slightly increased overall length. These became known as Arab Mark IIs, with the original design, unofficially I believe, becoming the MkI. As you say Chris, one of those anomalies of the time – the two buses must have been ‘on the cusp’ in production as it were, hence an FD1 and an FD2 delivered together. Interesting stuff!

Brendan Smith

———

Thanks indeed Brendan for those most interesting facts about Gardner engines. While I’ve always been aware of the method of producing 4, 5, or 6 cylinder units by combining two blocks as necessary, I certainly never suspected the extra problems of multiple cooling jackets and intermediate gaps !! I have just looked up the records and am amazed to discover that JUA 762 and 763 were, despite the consecutive registration numbers, delivered and entered service five months apart – and there is a gap of 69 between the two chassis numbers. This seems to suggest that there was perhaps a "holding back" of some vehicles by The Ministry of Supply while they decided which operators could prove the greatest need at a particular time.

Chris Youhill

———

Some of the most attractive buses which LGOC/LT had in the Thirties/Forties were the 6-wheeler AEC Renown ‘Bluebirds’ LT Class, which were the last of the breed. The last 20, however, were fitted with Gardner 6LW engines which made the bonnets so long that the bodywork design had to be shortened (at the back) to keep them within the legal length! It showed in the upstairs side rear windows and the platform side opening being shorter! And they looked like pigs with their snouts!

Chris Hebbron

———

03/06/11 – 17:12

Can anyone remember Nudd Brothers and Lockyer of Kegworth Nottm., who rebuilt utility bodied ex London Transport Guy Arabs for Edinburgh in the early Fifties, which had a full front but open to the near side, very smart looking buses.

Roger Broughton

———

04/06/11 – 06:43

I agree Chris H that the "Bluebirds" were magnificent looking vehicles, and incredibly sleek and of tidy design for the early 1930s – and actually I could also forgive the appearance of the "long bonnet" Gardner powered ones – I was once told that they were fitted with special horns which went "oink oink", and if you’ll believe that you’ll believe anything !!

Chris Youhill

———

04/06/11 – 06:46

Yes, the Edinburgh Nudd rebuilds were very attractive, and it wasn’t just the side that was open: there was no glass in the nearside ‘windscreen’ either. They were in fact halfcabs disguised as full fronts. They were built just after the company was taken over by Duple, and based on a Duple design.
By coincidence we have just been discussing Nudd Bros & Lockyer in another context. Click on this quick link, wait a second or two to view.

Peter Williamson

———

05/06/11 – 14:19

As for pigs, Chris Y, I thought the only buses which oink-oink’ed were the Dennis ‘pigs’, the pre-war Dennis Aces and Maces!

I do recall reading somewhere that the Nudd Edinburgh Guy bodies were somewhat frail. They were designed to be lightweight, maybe they were too lightweight!

Chris Hebbron

———

05/06/11 – 14:22

When first delivered the rebuilt Edinburgh Guys had a very flamboyant "grille: this was later replaced by Edinburgh’s own version of the Leyland BMMO inspired tin front.
Preserved 314 JWS594 has had the original flamboyant front restored and is now resident at the Scottish Bus Museum at Lathalmond.

Chris Hough

———

05/06/11 – 14:23

I tend to think that the Edinburgh Guy’s were the only complete bodies ever produced by Nudd Bros & Lockyer. I believe all of their other production were re-builds.

Chris Barker

———

07/06/11 – 09:36

They were certainly attractive buses, even with the flamboyant front! See here:

Chris Hebbron

———

10/07/11 – 07:47

Pickering of Wishaw was set up in 1864, and was mainly a constructor of railway rolling stock. It seems that only about 37 Pickering utility bodies, all of them highbridge, were built in 1943, and no further bodies by this firm appeared during the war. They quickly became known for shoddy workmanship, and, notwithstanding official exhortations such as "Walls have Ears", "Be like Dad, keep Mum" and "Careless Talk costs Lives", this appalling reputation spread throughout the bus industry. It is surely certain that this also came to the knowledge of The Ministry of Supply, and was the reason for no further utility bodies being sought from the Pickering company.

Roger Cox

———

11/07/11 – 07:22

That is most interesting Roger and, while I knew that there weren’t many Pickering utilities around, I had no idea that there were as few as that – regardless of censorship one might be forgiven for saying that there were approximately 37 too many. On the bright side, however, their awful quality and very early demise caused the excellent Roe rebodying of the two Ledgard examples and brought to my career one of the most delightful and characterful vehicles (JUA 763) that I ever conducted and drove. RIP "T’Guy."

Chris Youhill

———

11/07/11 – 11:18

I recently discovered that Nottingham City Transport were "blessed" with 5 Pickering-bodied Guy Arab I’s in 1943. They were No.s 89-93 (GTV409-413?). In the published Geoff Atkins photo the 3-piece window to the emergency door is also discernible. Nottingham’s Utility fleet eventually had a total of 16 Arabs, the remaining 12 being Massey or Weymann, plus 27 Daimler CWA6s with Northern Counties, Brush or Duple. Apparently the first Utilities were not withdrawn until 1956, so it seems that even the wretched Pickering bodies must have lasted at least 13 years.

Stephen Ford

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12/07/11 – 05:40

The Pickering story is indeed an interesting one and I have done a little research and it seems there are a few inconsistencies. In an article in Classic Bus in 1993 about Pickering’s link with Northern General, a figure of around 65 double deck utilities is given, mostly on Guy Arabs but also some Leyland TD7’s and some re-bodies of older chassis. Some of the Guys went to Sunderland District and Sunderland Corporation purchased two from Blackburn Corporation in 1948 (so they had a re-sale value!) These clearly did not have the three pane upper deck emergency exit but the Nottingham ones did.
Turning to single deckers, it is recorded that Pickering bodied 54 Albion CX13’s to MoS specification in 1946, 30 of which went to Red and White, others to Economic of Sunderland and South Yorkshire. In fact Red and White had 22 more Albion/Pickerings in 1947 but by this date, presumably there would have been no MoS involvement. Most but not all R & W vehicles were re-bodied by BBW after 5 or 6 years and Ledgard’s purchase of five in 1959 were ex Pickering re-bodies (perhaps Chris Y knows if the BBW bodies were much better?) Apparently Northern General had around a hundred vehicles re-bodied by Pickering, on AEC and SOS chassis and the average further life was about nine years, presumably by the end of the 1950’s they had become distinctly archaic! There were also ten Meadows engined Guy Arab III double deckers for Tynemouth in 1949 and these were of very pleasing appearance, they appeared to be of substantial construction and I know nothing about them but I wonder if they went any way towards making amends for what had been produced earlier.

Chris Barker

———

12/07/11 – 14:47

According to Alan Townsin`s book, "The Utilities" in the Best of British Buses series, Pickering produced 18 utility bodies on Mk.1 Arabs, and 37 on Mk.2 in 1943. There is no mention of any other bus build until the Albion contract of 1946, and I am not aware of any Pickering bodies on CWG5 chassis.
Perhaps they were busy with other wartime contracts, as the whole bus building business was under the strict control of the MOWT, and based on a contract system.
I suspect that Pickering was no worse than most other utility bus builders of that time, as most makes demonstrated severe problems with the use of unseasoned timber, and the lack of alloy metals. I cannot comment on the 1946 Albion single deck contract, which was largely allocated to the Scottish Bus Group, but there was certainly nothing wrong with the post war Aberdeen streamlined trams, which exuded quality!

John Whitaker

———

13/07/11 – 07:33

Your research is interesting Chris, as I have since realised that there were some Pickering bodies on unfrozen TD7, which would probably account for the difference between Alan Townsin`s 55 Guys, and your total of 65. Certainly Leicester had a Pickering TD7.
I cannot think of any rebodies at the moment, but there probably were some, but definitely none on Daimler wartime chassis. CWG5 chassis were only bodied by Duple and Massey (High) and Brush (low).
Glasgow received several batches of post war Pickering bodies which had reasonable lives I believe.
Regarding the triple rear window, was this a unique feature, or am I correct in thinking that a very early Duple bodied Arab 1 for Maidstone had a similar feature? Was the triple window even carried on after the first few bodies, or did Pickering comply with the utility directive at that time, and panel over the whole thing?

John Whitaker

———

13/07/11 – 08:47

Re. Pickering utility bodies, I have re-read Alan Townsin’s Utility book. If I read correctly, Pickering would not have built any utility bodies on reconditioned chassis, as "rebodying" was also controlled by the MOWT, and firms were allocated this function, Pickering not being one of them. East Lancs and NCB were the principle firms here, with Croft also involved in Scotland.
The whole utility chapter is absolutely fascinating!
I personally find as many differences in design amongst utility bodies as existed in peacetime. Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder, and they have a fascination and charm of their own to me!

John Whitaker

———

13/07/11 – 11:57

Hanson of Huddersfield received four Pickering bodied Albion CX13’s in late 1945, 186-189 (CCX 880-3) and a further four, 196-9 (CVH 226-9) in 1946. All had been withdrawn by 1950. 186-9 were sold to Carmichael of Glenboig (a photo exists of 186 with Carmichael with the body apparently heavily rebuilt) and 196-9 were sold to Birkenshaw Mills for staff transport, suggesting that these bodies were perhaps considered to be too badly deteriorated for further psv use.
Incidentally, a further four Albions were taken into stock in 1947/48 two with Burlingham and two with Duple bus bodies and these remained in service till 1958-62

Eric

———

14/07/11 – 06:33

Opinions, respected naturally, seem to vary on the quality of the Pickering utility double deckers and I can only speak from personal experience as a youthful passenger in two of them on Guy Arab chassis. Sadly I have to say that they very rapidly deteriorated into a sorry state and were also I think far from handsome. While I appreciate that unseasoned timber and other unsatisfactory materials caused problems in most makes I have to say that, again from personal experience this time including driving and conducting, we had no significant trouble with the Duple and Roe versions, both of which were tidy looking and attractive in their "utility" way and many examples of ours gave very long service. Oddly the Park Royal "relaxed" vehicles (London Transport D182 – 281) which didn’t enter service until May 1946 onwards did involve very serious timber problems and much rebuilding was often needed. Despite this however, once "fettled" they too gave long and extremely reliable service on arduous and busy routes and I admired and delighted in them – their various "London" features adding to the magic – we had twenty two out of the hundred, quite an impressive proportion I think.
Regarding the Albions, rebodied from Pickering to BBW. I had experience only of the Ledgard five and they were splendid machines. The BBW bodies appeared sound and of course bore a close resemblance to their attractive Lowestoft ECW cousins. The Albion chassis were a potent delight with one of the quietest and smoothest diesel engines to be found – and the gearbox gave a creditable impersonation of prewar Leyland TS and TD models – altogether a fascinating package !!

Chris Youhill

———

14/07/11 – 06:36

Certainly the wartime utility bodies suffered from the use of unseasoned ash, and materials were strictly allocated to manufacturers who had to take what they were given. Even so, some body manufacturers had better construction standards than others, and generally did a good job in difficult circumstances. In such worthy company, Pickering did not measure up too well. Didn’t one municipality cancel its order for Guys when it learned that they would be bodied by Pickering? Nowadays, railway stock design requires the entire vehicle to bear the stresses. Traditionally, in the past, railway and tram bodies relied on substantial under frames to carry the main loads, and rail borne vehicles are not subject to the same level of shocks and jolts as a road vehicle. Perhaps the bus body designs of the railway orientated Pickering concern did not take such factors sufficiently into account.

Roger Cox

———

14/07/11 – 09:51

It has to be remembered, too, that each bodybuilder, bizarrely, was able to design its own body; thus some designs were probably structurally sounder, to start with, than others. And I recall that at least one bodybuilder rejected some timber as being, even for those dark times, beyond the pale! London Transport were always impressed with the Duple product, even though they never used them in normal times. But even they gave up on overhauling the bodies as part of their normal high standards, opting to dispose of them prematurely. Since many of them then went to humid Far East climes, I wonder how they fared there! As for the escape upstairs rear windows, although many of London’s Guys had them steel-sheeted over, I don’t recall any of the 181 earlier Daimlers being so treated.

Chris Hebbron

———

14/07/11 – 18:58

I was delighted to read responses about Pickering utility bodies, and accept that they must have been a bit on the flimsy side, but it is just that I find them, and all utilities, absolutely fascinating!
Leicester had a Pickering TD7 which they cut down to single deck in 1950, and it ran, although rarely, as such until 1955! (No.347) I think it is true to say, though, that all builders in this era had their problems. The Brush CWA6 bodies in Manchester hardly had long lives, and Park Royal trolleybus bodies were withdrawn very early in both Newcastle and Reading. I would agree with Chris Y about Duple, as Alan Townsin also came to that conclusion too, and who better to judge than that?! It was probably due to the wedge shaped stiffener at the front near side canopy area.
Pickering were basically rolling stock (railway) builders, which is probably significant, but so were Roberts, and Hurst Nelson. The latter were the third biggest Tramcar builder in the UK, but only VERY rarely did they venture into the bus field. I believe the panelled emergency exit was a requirement which was relaxed in early 1943.

John Whitaker

———

15/07/11 – 07:29

I believe that the municipal who cancelled their Pickering allocation was Derby, who would have recevied two on Guy Arab I 5LW chassis. The MoWT allocation system usually meant that body buiilders in the north had their products delivered to operators in the north, and similarly for southern builders to southern operators. This was a general rule, I believe. So Derby was "quite southern" for a Pickering build. But where did these two go? – all the way to Brighton, where they entered the Brighton Hove & District fleet! Nos 6364/6365 (GNJ 574-5) lasted there from 1943-1949. Although neighbouring Southdown has 100 Guy utilities, BH&D found this pair non-standard. Their other utilities were Park-Royal bodied Bristol Ks. The two Guys found themselves transferred in 1949 to Western National, where they operated out of Plymouth garage. (This is from a memory of a photo in Buses Illustrated many years ago). I have no information as to how long they stayed there, although WNOC did have other Guy Arab utilities delivered new, so the chassis would have been acceptable. I have read comments elsewhere (I think in "Classic Bus" magazine) that several builders of rail vehicles had a hard time when entering the bus building business. Pickerings is usually quoted as the prime example, and Cravens also get a mention.

One contributor mentioned the post-war streamlined Aberdeen trams, which he said were good products. An article in Classic Bus a while ago recorded that Aberdeen wanted English Electric to build these trams, and placed their order. However, EEC had decided to withdraw from the tram/bus market by then, so would not accept an order. However they had drawings of the design that Aberdeen wanted. The Corporation then placed it’s order with Pickerings, who approached EEC for copies of the drawings. EEC not liking this intrusion, refused the request. What to do? Aberdeen then resubmitted their order to EEC, who then subcontracted the work to Pickerings, and sent them the drawings for the contract!
I hope I have this right – if the Classic Bus contributor or another reader spots an error in this, please send in a correction.

Michael Hampton

———

15/07/11 – 10:47

Yes Michael, I believe you have that right! The Aberdeen streamliners were actually an EEC design, as shown by the 4 pre-war almost identical examples (inc. the 2 x 4 wheelers). English Electric withdrew from this business and did not re-enter after the war, so the Aberdeen cars were built by Pickering to the pre war EEC drawings.

John Whitaker

———

15/07/11 – 10:47

Michael H Mentions Cravens in his list of bodybuilders This Sheffield based firm built several batches of vehicles for its home town and also for others as far afield as Portsmouth In post war years they built AECs for Sheffield and RTs for London Their latter were sold on as non standard in the fifties but ran happily for others somewhat in the manner of DMS class buses a decade or too later. I think although this is open to clarification Cravens became part of John Brown engineering as did East Lancs for a time in the sixties East Lancs designed buses were built in Sheffield under the Neepsend name in the old Cravens factory

Chris Hough

———

15/07/11 – 13:59

Yes, I recall Cravens bodied 45 AEC Regents 5 Regals for Nottingham City Transport in 1937. It was the old story – they undercut previous suppliers Metro Cammell and Northern Counties and got the business. Build quality was not up to scratch, and serious rebuilding was necessary – making them actually more expensive in the long run. Two quotes come to mind :
1. "The bitterness of poor quality lives on long after the sweetness of low initial cost has been forgotten"!
2. Reporter’s question to astronaut : "What do you think about when you are waiting for blast-off?" Reply : "I think that every component in this spacecraft went out to competitive tender, and the lowest price won" !

Stephen Ford

———

15/07/11 – 14:01

Strictly speaking, Cravens bought East Lancs directly – as noted in the TPC/Venture book about East Lancs. Cravens then sold out to John Brown. The Neepsend bodies were built in another factory at Neepsend in NE Sheffield, the original factory being in Darnall SE Sheffield where railway rolling stock continued to be built.
The East Lancs workforce feared for their jobs at this time but, apparently, the quality of build in Sheffield was not as good as in Blackburn and when demand dropped in 1967/8 the Neepsend factory was closed.

David Oldfield

———

16/07/11 – 07:04

I think I would agree with John W that perhaps history has been a little hard on Pickerings. Obviously some products would come to be known as better than others but given the circumstances and materials of the utilities plus the fact that Pickerings were relative newcomers, I think allowances should be made and of course operator maintenance was a big factor too, which would explain why a quality operator such as Nottingham City Transport ran theirs for 13 years (that is not to denigrate Ledgard in any way whatever!) I wish someone could post a picture of the Tynemouth Guy’s of 1949 which were very fine looking vehicles!
What excuse, however, could be made in peacetime? I think the dubious epitaph would have to go to Strachan’s who turned out a great many sub standard vehicles over many years after 1945 which had to be heavily rebuilt or withdrawn early, the worst of which and surely the record holders being the Leyland PD1’s supplied to Western SMT in 1949 which fell apart after only three years!

Chris Barker

———

06/09/11 – 07:19

J Laurie`s Chieftain buses of Hamilton had 2 TD1s rebodied with Pickering utility bodies. One had a Sheffield registration, the other had come from Western SMT. Both of these buses had lowbridge bodies.
Central SMT had a substantial number of TS2 single deckers from 1932, originally bodied by Pickering.

Jim Hepburn

———

12/09/11 – 08:43

PS. to the last comment.
I should add that these TD1s had six bay windows as they probably had originally. They are the only utility bodies I’ve seen with six bay windows.

Jim Hepburn

———

13/09/11 – 07:45

Did some of the Croft utility bodies in Scotland not have 6 bay layout Jim? I think also that Pontypridd had some BBW utility bodies also to that layout.

John Whitaker

———

13/09/11 – 07:48

Jim, the Pearson framed bodies were also of six bay utility construction. You can see a picture of a former Crosville TD7 thus bodied on "The People’s League for the Defence of Freedom" gallery.

Roger Cox

———

17/09/11 – 08:08

You may be right, but as I said these were the only 6 bay utilities I had come across. The TD1s had a shorter wheel base than a TD7 so they seemed to be quite a sturdy body.
I could never take to the Duple version.
I thought the Massey highbridge body was pretty smart.

Jim Hepburn

——— Top of this posting ———


 

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Samuel Ledgard – AEC Regent III – GDK 401

Samuel Ledgard AEC Regent III GDK 401

Samuel Ledgard
1948
AEC Regent III
East Lancs H33/26R 

Here is a happy picture of yours truly enjoying my work immensely with Samuel Ledgard at Otley Depot. I am returning from the Estate on one of the local town services and have just crossed the River Wharfe bridge. Before I am reprimanded for "incorrect destination" I must explain that the display was officially shown in both directions as "Weston Estate" to avoid passenger confusion with the other town service which shared the river crossing – a little local quirk which suited everyone.
GDK 401 was one of a batch of five (GDK 401 – 5) which came from Rochdale in February 1962 and had most handsome and functional East Lancashire bodywork. Notable features were the superior quality blue leather seats and the spacious very safe platform and "easy" staircase. The entire batch retained gold Rochdale fleet numbers (201 – 205) in both saloons – a nice little touch I thought.
The vehicles were also the first that we had with air operated brakes and gearboxes.
A nice little anecdote, and a true one, goes with 401. When the batch was acquired this vehicle alone was sent to Otley depot for complete and prompt overhaul for early entry into service with the others at Armley Head depot. However its appeal and charms were instantly apparent to all, and in a very uncharacteristic "Luddite" operation the normally highly efficient overhaul process was delayed by a myriad of "difficulties" for a very considerable time. When the bus was eventually ready for certification the powers that be at mighty Armley, normally unbending in any way, for some reason capitulated and lovely 401 remained with us at Otley till the end of the Company. The initial very basic plans for the West Yorkshire Road Car Co takeover contained the allocation of WYRCC numbers for the whole Ledgard fleet – this scheme as we know was completely revised before the day, and so our Rochdale friend never became "DAW 1" (Double, AEC engine, Wide) after all.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Youhill

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.


Such a shame that Samuel Ledgard sold out.
It would be interesting to see what vehicles they would be running today.

Terry Malloy


Yes, it is a shame, Terry – the buses look fantastic in full livery – but fifty years down the line, is it not possible that we would be looking at them in Barbie colours? Lots of mistakes made in the industry, but death and other things have always enforced change!

David Oldfield


Quote: (Double, AEC engine, Wide)

I assume that the Wide means that it had an 8′ wide body. It certainly appears to have one, in a surprisingly obvious way, just like LT’s RTW class.

Nice to see a Ledgard vehicle in colour; it’s my first time of seeing one of them in all its glory!

By the way what is an ‘easy’ staircase?

Chris Hebbron


I’m sure Chris Youhill will fill us in about the easy staircase. Is it like the Roe safety staircase and the Birmingham staircase – straight, or with 90% bends, with no "dangerous" curves during its length?

David Oldfield


Yes Chris, the "W" in the West Yorkshire fleet numbering system did indeed mean 8 feet wide – just as an interesting point, they had some vehicles with 8 feet wide bodies on 7’6" chassis – as did a good few Bristol/ECW customers.

Chris and David, the word "easy" was just my own way of describing these vehicles – the stairs were of the 90 degree pattern and were wider than usual and were situated safely well away from the edge of a generous sized platform – somewhat difficult to explain, but splendidly designed.

Chris Youhill


A query for Chris: my hazy recollection of "Exors of Samuel Ledgard" buses- as it legally proclaimed- was that the were a dark navy blue- not this jaunty colour: 1. am I wrong? 2. does the camera lie? 3. is it anything to do with its former existence in Rochdale?

Joe


Well this is indeed an interesting point, and memory does play tricks as we all know. However I have to say that the answer lies somewhere between the shades of blue in the picture of GDK 401 and that in the link for RT MXX 148.  The only fair comment I can make is that, as Peter says, the colour in the picture of GDK 401 is a bit light and bright due to the sun etc. Certainly though the shade shown in the view of the RT is far darker than the actual, and I can confidently say that the Otley picture is much nearer to being spot on than the Bradford one. The Rochdale livery is not relevant at all, as every acquired bus was thoroughly rubbed down, primed and undercoated to remove any trace whatsoever of previous ownership.
The attached view of newly acquired BCK 427 from Ribble in the paintshop at Armley Head Depot is as good a sample as we could wish for – despite the different light aspects the lower saloon panels are exactly as the livery was. Hope this helps clear the mists of time for those interested.

Chris Youhill

Ex Ribble BCK 427 in the Samuel Ledgard paint shop


…..and there is also the splendid RLH (forget which number) which was rallying last year in full Ledgard colours. Quite a bright blue – neither royal nor navy.

David Oldfield


The purpose of the photo may well have been to clarify SL’s livery, but this is a nice photo in itself and shows off this attractive vehicle’s bodylines very well, aided by the total lack of adverts. Good to see a rear’ish view for a change.
It may be a trick of the light, but has the rear lower body panel been well punched by a very cross 10 year old?

Chris Hebbron


BCK 427 hole

I see what you mean – the panel seems well and truly "waffled", but I think it is in fact just a mirror image of activity nearby in the garage what lloks like the floor can be seen, and possibly a mechanic’s overall legs.  It is a strange optical effect, but please do rest assured that the panel will have been perfect before painting.

Chris Youhill


Hi David – the magnificent vehicle to which you refer is RLH 32 – MXX 232.  It is part of the heritage fleet of Time Bus Travel of St. Albans and the proprietors, the Pring Family, did the Samuel Ledgard Society an immeasurable and generous kindness by having the bus professionally and immaculately painted in Samuel Ledgard colours for our 40th Anniversary Re-enactment running day on Sunday 14th October 2007.  I was humbled and highly honoured to conduct it almost all the time it ran on Samuel Ledgard routes giving free rides to delighted and nostalgic passengers – I wore my original Samuel Ledgard uniform and used my Otley Depot Setright ticket machine – SL 40.

chris_lr

Chris Youhill


Re Chris Youhill’s latest comment about RLH 32 under the heading of AEC Regent III GDK 401, here’s a photo of the bus in question on the day in question.

Samuel Ledgard AEC Regent MXX 232

Peter Williamson


Thank you Peter W for that lovely view, which captures the atmosphere of that wonderful day perfectly. Judging by the load, the RLH is about to leave for Guiseley and the driver is Mr. Ewan Pring who handles the vehicle magnificently and sympathetically, as you would expect from the owner of such a cherished gem. While you took the photo I will have been on the platform, about to issue the authentic souvenir tickets to the passengers. I can’t begin to explain my feelings on that day which was fifty years exactly since I eagerly started work for the Company – a day on which the RLH will still, of course, have been hard at work in London !!

Chris Youhill


I’ve always been fascinated by the myriad variations on the theme of how to get passengers upstairs, so Chris Youhill’s reference to the East Lancs "easy staircase" tickled my curiosity. I imagine that, as on post-war ECW highbridge bodies until about 1957, the top step will have caused a 9"x9" protrusion into the lower saloon, above the offside transverse seat. The loss of headroom would be no more than that entailed by a lowbridge side gangway: a very small price to pay for the virtue of having the bottom step 9" farther in from the platform edge. Until the mid-1920s it seems that body designers tried to get the bottom step as NEAR as possible to the platform edge, presumably so that passengers could leap straight up top from the street, leaving the platform free for those timid souls who preferred to travel inside. I’ve never understood why this hazardous arrangement persisted so long with some makers. Lowbridge bodies needed only 7 steps (6 treads), yet Leyland and MCW, for example, never took advantage of that, preferring their top step to stop about 9" back from the bulkhead or (Leyland) to give the top two steps 13.5" treads instead of 9".
Was standardisation of parts between lowbridge and highbridge a factor?
I love the Roe Safety Staircase: by intruding into the lower saloon you can bring the bottom step well inboard and therefore have a seat for three right at the back upstairs with no risk of bumping your head on the underside of that seat. Perfectly logical: you lose a seat downstairs and gain one on top. Much rarer was the pattern found on Burnley, Colne and Nelson deckers: the 9"x9" box was moved 4" forward and the step below it protruded downstairs just enough to fill the space above your shoulder but not enough to compromise headroom. With a bit of angling of the bottom few steps the stairs still touched ground far enough from the platform edge to allow a 3-seater at the back upstairs. Do any of these survive? I fancy I came across a similar arrangement on a bus in Yorkshire (Rotherham) but my wires may be crossed. Then there was the West Bridgford arrangement, and Alan Townsin’s mention of "semi-straight"and "side" staircases in his book on Park Royal, but I’d better not get carried away…

Ian Thompson


Why not get carried away, Ian. It’s fascinating. It’s what real enthusiasm is – not just "bus spotting"! I can bore for Britain over Roe – my favourite builder – but it is interesting to discover that they weren’t the only builder doing a variation on safety staircases.

David Oldfield


wow… talk about nostalgia. 
When going to Leeds I would often take "Sammy’s" route through Pudsey rather than the Leeds/Bradford joint route (72) through Stanningley Bottoms. I used the route the day after the closure. It just wasn’t the same with green municipal buses and a route number (78).
Do you have any images of my favourite Ledgard Regents, 1949/50 U before they assumed their West Yorkshire identities, DGW 11-12?
Charles


Hello Charles – fear not, there are literally dozens of pictures around showing your two favourite vehicles at all ages – by the way with respect they became DAW 5/6. DGW 11/12 were the two Daimlers XUG 141 and SDU 711.

Chris Youhill


Thanks for putting me right on the WY fleet numbers for 1949/50-U. I lost interest in these vehicles once they donned Tilling red but I still think Roe/AEC combos were vehicles made in heaven.
I marked my 57th year as a bus enthusiast when I hit the big 67 recently. Over the last 40 years I have observed the British scene from Australia so I am pleased that a young(er) member of the fraternity can take time out to refresh the ageing grey cells

Charles


Ian,  I can only echo David’s wise words and there is no harm at all in being "carried away" by mature detailed discussion on any public transport topic. I have to admit that you have completely "baffled me with science" about the upper reaches of many staircases and, in all honesty I cannot remember what happened "up aloft" on GDK 401 – 405. However I am pretty certain that the top flight ended exactly at the bulkhead and that you then made use of the space behind the rear offside seat to proceed into the upper saloon – this was definitely the norm with Leyland bodies and also with the Park Royal relaxed utilities on the ex London D class Daimlers. I think the particular success of the East Lancashire formula arose from the fact that each tread seemed very generous and safe in depth and in lateral dimensions, hence my term "easy."

Chris Youhill


I am trying to match the blue and cream colours of the Ledgard busses for somebody. Does anybody know the exact colour code? I’ve crossed checked RAl and British standard colours of the day but unfortunately cannot get it exactly right.

Kevin Harvey


Rochdale withdrew AEC Regent III’s 201-205 out of sequence as the older Weymann bodied 7ft 6in Regent III’s 31-48 were kept for several more years. It was reported that the East Lancs 4 bay body design had inherent weakness and this could have been the reason. I remember riding on one of the batch shortly before they disappeared to Yorkshire and there was evidence of severe corrosion of the window pans inside the vehicle.
East Lancs standardised on 5 bay designs afterwards and this reputedly solved any problems. Rochdale’s final five Regent III’s had 5 bay bodies by East Lancs and these had full service lives. One is preserved.

Philip Halstead


You are absolutely right about the window pans Philip and in fact Samuel Ledgard had them all replaced with newly manufactured ones – my picture at the top of this feature shows GDK 401 so fitted.

Chris Youhill


25/04/11 – 17:57

Blue colour paints – you have to bear in mind that until the advent of purely chemical paints, blue was particularly prone to change of colour in its life, becoming darker and acquiring a purple sheen – this may explain the different views of the colour tone. I’m sure an expert in paint could explain this far more accurately.

Anon


26/04/11 – 07:10

Further thoughts and hazy remembrance of silk screen printing… blue is a "translucent" colour and therefore the final colour may also depend on what is underneath. The darker the primer….

Joe


27/04/11 – 07:20

It’s not only dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts that wax lyrical over Samuel Ledgard. On Easter Day I met a Leeds man who was down here visiting his family, and when I was introduced as a bus fanatic he immediately began to reminisce about his prewar schoolboy trips on Ledgard buses. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to go into detail, but then there never is…

Ian Thompson


04/10/11 – 14:18

Just had to thank Chris Youhill for his comments regarding the book, Beer and Blue Buses, of which I have managed to track down a signed copy. Thanks again Chris, I look forward to reading it.

Roger Broughton


12/10/17 – 07:01

Wasn’t sure where to put this comment, but the pic here is a classic (and that’s just Chris) The Yorkshire Evening Post (Leeds) has a little feature to tell us that its 50 years since Ledgards closed. It is thin on detail but does mention that Saml was a publican from a family of publicans whose business developed from a pub in Armley and the practice of charabancing your lorries at weekends. The rest, I suppose is history.

Joe


20/10/17 – 06:55

Lot of coverage in local papers about Ledgard’s 50th- closure that is- anniversary. Try this link which includes a photo gallery, and guess who is in the first picture?
I also saw a First bus this week in a sort of Ledgard’s livery.

Joe


24/10/17 – 06:40

Joe – The first photo, with Chris Y in it, is not what it one might surmise. HLW 159 was never an SL bus, but was sold to Bradford and seems to be in their livery, although we’ve argued about photo colours before. Other clues are that the front blind display seems to be original (SL reduced them to one smaller one) and that Bradford were the only successor who, bizarrely, went to the trouble of removing the plate on the bonnet side which originally surrounded the RT fleet number, which, in this case, was RT172. This range of buses were a bargain, for most of them were overhauled only around 12 months before disposal by LT. More silly money-wasting nonsense from the London giant!

Chris Hebbron


25/10/17 – 07:26

HLW 159 is ex Bradford and was the only one of 25 to retain its roof box throughout its time at Bradford. The other roof box-bodied buses and most of the non-roof box-bodied buses had eventually, the normal Bradford indicators fitted.
A picture of 410 is on http://www.sct61.org.uk/bf410c

Stuart Emmett


25/10/17 – 07:30

Chris H- quite right. How the bus and Chris Y came to be cosied together, only he can tell us. I am caught posting Fake News or Noos as the man himself says. The slip in the window doesn’t say Saml Ledgard but On Hire to…
Blue can be of its nature a variable colour as we have discussed, but this is indeed Bradford- the sign written number plate? Does it live in the transport museum?

Joe


28/10/17 – 16:54

I have read the very interesting contribution that Stuart Emmett has made in ‘Buses Yearbook 2018’ telling the story of the Bradford RT buses. Credit due to him.
I was unaware that some were painted in a ‘quick fix’ Bradford livery featuring less cream relief.

David Slater


27/07/19 – 09:45

GDK 405

Here is a 1965 shot of fellow ex Rochdale Regent GDK 405 leaving in the company of a Hebble Reliance amid the wanton destruction of historic Bradford to facilitate the encroachment of soulless architectural excrescences.

Roger Cox


29/07/19 – 06:37

Regarding this latest shot added I think you will find that the "Hebble Reliance" is actually a Ribble Leopard on service J1.

John Kaye


29/07/19 – 06:38

Roger,
I may be wrong but the "Hebble Reliance" looks to be Ribble Leopard.

John Blackburn


29/07/19 – 06:39

A great action shot of two most handsome vehicles Roger, as they no doubt vie for pole position on their way to Chester Street Bus Station. I totally agree with you regarding the wanton destruction of historic Bradford. Many wonderful gems have been lost over the years and even the lovely view of Forster Square with its Victorian Post Office and Cathedral backdrop can no longer be seen from the bottom of Cheapside, as the new all-encompassing Broadway shopping complex completely blocks it. Now sorry to nitpick slightly Roger, but that Hebble Reliance looks suspiciously like a dual-purpose Ribble Leopard to me…

Brendan Smith


30/07/19 – 07:36

Thank you for the corrections, gentlemen. I should have looked more carefully at the Hebble vehicle. You can’t get away with sloppy work on OBP.

Roger Cox


Further to my previous abject apology, a very close study of the original slide reveals that the vehicle behind the Ledgard Regent is, indeed, Ribble Leyland Leopard PSU3/4R, Marshall DP49F No.831, CRN 831D.

Roger Cox


 

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