Old Bus Photos

Mansfield District – AEC Regent III – KAL 697 – 159

KAL 697

Mansfield District Traction Co Ltd
AEC Regent III 9612E
Brush H30/26R

A busy scene here in the centre of Mansfield finds ex Ebor Bus Company KAL 697 amongst lorries and shopping laden pedestrians. The bus was new to Ebor in June 1949 has their fleet number 23, so was all but 19 years old at the time of the photograph. It looks in fine condition for its years.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

21/03/16 – 05:29

What magnificent specimens these were and quite unique in a THC fleet. Ebor originally ordered six of these in 1948/9 but found they had been a little too extravagant and sold one before delivery to neighbouring operator Naylors of South Normanton. At less than two years old when taken over by Mansfield District, these Regent IIIs fitted into the MDT fleet perfectly and gave them many years service whereas the Naylors example was taken over by Trent who disposed of it at twelve years old.
This style of Brush body seemed far less prevalent than the ones of Bradford, Leeds, Derby etc, but perhaps more durable. Does anyone know if these were metal framed whilst the others were of composite construction? Of course, the longevity of these with Mansfield District lies in the fact that their standards of maintenance and presentation were always of the very highest order.

Chris Barker

24/03/16 – 17:01

Probably captured here in its last days of service, the 111 was a short service route that involved a reverse turn and was often served by vehicles about to be withdrawn.

Berisford Jones

17/10/17 – 06:30

I’m a volunteer at the Bilsthorpe Heritage Museum. In connection with a display item, I need to establish the exact shade of green as applied to Mansfield District buses – not the later pale green version but the original darker shade – somewhat similar to Nottingham City buses? Can anyone help?

Lawson Little

21/04/18 – 06:04

With reference to the querry by Lawson Little regarding the ‘original Mansfield District green. Do you mean the colour that was used from the days of Balfour Beatty ownership pre-1948 until replaced by National Bus Company Leaf Green in the early 1970’s.
If so I have an original sample of the colour that has recently been used to add the colour to our ‘Fleetmaster’ authentic paints for modellers.
I began collecting samples and information in 1969 due to my interest in liveries and modelling buses.
I can be contacted via the Dorset Model Buses website at: https://www.dorsetmodelbuses.co.uk  and I would be pleased to help.



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Birmingham City – Leyland Titan PD2 – HOV 685 – 1685

Birmingham City - Leyland Titan PD2 - HOV 685 - 1685

Birmingham City Transport
Leyland Titan PD2/1
Brush H30/24R

Here is a Leyland Titan PD2/1 with Brush H54R body, to Birmingham’s then standard design. She dates from 1948 and we see her in the Weymouth rally on 1 July 1979. She began her service at Yardley Wood depot and, Malcolm Keeley reports in his book in the Glory Days series, most of the batch so allocated from new remained there throughout their working lives. The others were at Perry Bar. The saga of the Brush bodies is not so happy, however. There had been some earlier disagreements between the builder and the operator, the former managing to convince itself that the product was entirely the opposite of what the operator wanted. This batch appears to have been the last of the Brush bodies for Birmingham.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

22/02/16 – 13:28

Interestingly, at the same time, Brush was building bodies for Manchester on Daimler chassis to Manchester’s post war standard design and there were a number of letters exchanged due to Brush’s "interpretations" which were not acceptable.

Phil Blinkhorn

22/02/16 – 16:14

Well, Phil, this makes me wonder if – by upsetting two of the country’s biggest operators – this saga is the reason Brush got out of building bus bodies not long afterwards.

Pete Davies

22/02/16 – 16:15

In 1949, coachbuilding at Brush employed around 1500 people and contributed £3 million towards the company’s £15 million productive total in that year. Then came the Korean War (1950-53), which brought a flood of armament related orders to Brush, who closed the coachbuilding activity in 1951 to concentrate resources on the more lucrative parts of the business.

Roger Cox

23/02/16 – 05:37

Yes, Roger, that diversion of resources for "War Work" would explain a lot!

Pete Davies

23/02/16 – 05:38

A most elegant vehicle indeed, unashamedly with very traditional appearance and further greatly enhanced by the very pleasing Birmingham livery.

Chris Youhill

23/02/16 – 10:48

And, of course, Chris Y, unblemished by adverts, a Brummie trademark, until the latter days. I confess to getting confused about the chrome/painted and aluminium rads on PD’s. I always thought the former to be PD1’s; the latter PD2’s. It doesn’t seem to work that way, unless the rad surrounds got changed about over the years!

Chris Hebbron

23/02/16 – 13:11

How right you are Chris H about the lack of disfiguring adverts – sadly of course we have to acknowledge that they are a valuable source of revenue but even accepting that some are totally "cheap" and abominable. Regarding PD1/PD2 radiator shells, just off the top of my head I’ve always thought that painted or chrome ones were frequently interchanged on PD1s – I just can’t think of any PD2 fitted with either of those.

Chris Youhill

23/02/16 – 16:46

Oh heck – I was so anxious to answer Chris H’s query that I overlooked the PD2 in the picture having a chrome shell. I wonder if batches of PD2s were therefore so equipped or has this one being "treated" during preservation – any informed answer would be appreciated please.

Chris Youhill

24/02/16 – 05:48

I think the chrome radiator shell was always an option but I can’t think of anybody except Manchester who took it. Even there they then went and painted them red!

David Beilby

24/02/16 – 05:49

All Manchester’s PD2s had chrome radiators but aluminium was the Leyland standard offering.

Phil Blinkhorn

24/02/16 – 05:52

I understand the choice of chrome pressed metal or cast aluminium radiator shells was down to the purchaser’s specification or at least it was for large scale orders. Most of Manchester’s PD2’s for example had the pressed metal shell which was chrome plated as delivered but always painted red at the first re-paint. This I understand was down to the frugal views of GM Albert Neil as the pressed metal version was cheaper.

Philip Halstead

24/02/16 – 05:53

Exeter took delivery of 17 PD2/1 in November and December 1947. They had consecutive registrations but the Leyland bodies of the first ten were in the 472 xxx series whilst the last 7 were in the 480 xxx series. I think the first lot had painted radiator shells and the later ones chrome. Certainly HFJ 144 (No. 17), which is preserved, has and has always had a chrome one. Some of these magnificent buses lasted 23 years in service with Exeter – and looked as smart at the end as when they were new!

David Chapman

24/02/16 – 08:16

Thanks for these informative replies folks, and I’m getting redder by the minute having just recalled that the two Kippax and District PD2s (GWX 823/4) had chrome shells – and I’ve even driven one of them when owned by Wallace Arnold !!

Chris Youhill

24/02/16 – 08:51

Regarding chrome painted radiators on Birmingham PD2’s, and 1685 in particular, more info here. www.wythall.org.uk/vehicles/vhov685.asp

Nigel Edwards

24/02/16 – 09:55

Philip H, Manchester’s PD2’s chrome radiators certainly were not all painted at first vehicle repaint. There was a massive variation across the fleet. There are plenty of photos showing older PD2s, from the early 1950s, in the all red scheme in the mid 1960s, with unpainted radiators and a good number of later vehicles in SELNEC colours still with the brightwork intact.
Radiators were painted if pitted but serviceable. The bulk of those painted was, I was once told, due to time pressure on the spray booth when repaints into the all red scheme were under way. Certainly many vehicles were repainted earlier than would have been the case had the scheme not been changed and one fewer masking job would have saved a little time. Another view was that those so painted were handled by a particular shift which never masked the radiator shell.
Almost all Parrs Wood’s and most of Queens Rd’s PD2s survived until SELNEC with the chrome untouched. Hyde Rd’s vehicles seemed to be mainly painted. A well known story is that a Burlingham bodied PD2 returned to Parrs Wood after being treated to the red scheme including a painted radiator. The batch were Parrs Wood’s pride and joy and the bus was sent back with tart instruction to remove the paint and never paint a Parrs Wood radiator again unless instructed. This certainly seemed to hold good throughout the 1960s.

Phil Blinkhorn

24/02/16 – 16:52

I particularly enjoy little tales like that one, Phil, it puts a human touch to it all, and makes our hobby that much more fascinating. It’s not just about the buses, it’s about the people who operated them and cared for them as well.
Thanks for sharing it.

Dave Careless

25/02/16 – 05:44

I found a photo on Facebook of Tynemouth and District no. 31, an all Leyland PD2/1, new to Tyneside Tramways and Tramroads Company, complete with chromed radiator shell. I’m unsure of the photo’s copyright so I’m reluctant to reproduce it here.

Richard Slater

25/02/16 – 16:25

PD1’s and PD2’s were all fitted with pressed steel radiator shells until around 1949. Due to material shortages just after the war only a few were able to be chrome plated at first, the majority being painted. Then Leyland introduced the cast aluminium shell which became standard, with the pressed steel version available as an option.
Halifax Corporation had nine PD2/1’s in 1947/48. All had chromed pressed steel shells apart from one which was painted orange. Throughout most of my childhood this was 101 (ACP 385) and it stood out from the others, but an official Leyland Motors photo shows a different one with the painted shell, and latterly in the mid-1960’s it had migrated on to a different bus again, so some swapping must have taken place at overhaul. Todmorden’s earlier PD2/1’s had painted steel shells, then came some chromed ones, then the later ones and the PD2/12’s had aluminium ones. Some later PD1’s – notably those supplied up to about 1952 to Central SMT – had the later aluminium version.
I actually preferred the painted radiator shells on many PD1’s and PD2’s. I often thought that the chromed version tended to look a bit too gaudy, especially on some of those in an otherwise sombre municipal livery, and they also emphasised the slightest dints and imperfections which they tended to pick up quite easily. What I hated was when some operators – notably Leigh Corporation – chose to paint the later aluminium radiator shells, which looked absolutely terrible. By contrast, the chromed AEC radiator always looked superb to my mind, and always looked dreadful if painted over – Leigh Corporation and Liverpool spring to mind as offenders.
I’ve wondered though, when Manchester CT painted their previously chromed shells, how did they get the paint to adhere and not just come off at the slightest scratch. Surely stripping the chrome plating would have been too much of a bother?

John Stringer

25/02/16 – 17:03

Some wonderfully interesting comments here, folks. Thank you!

Pete Davies

26/02/16 – 16:53

Thx, folks, especially John S, for helping to answer my question on "which PD rads when"! Another mystery solved!

Chris Hebbron

27/02/16 – 05:54

Richard, the photo of T&D 31 that you refer to is already on this site. Its in part two of my article about Northern General Transport Percy Main Depot.  If memory serves, I bought my copy from a dealer at the Seaburn Historic Vehicle show.

Ronnie Hoye

28/02/16 – 06:05

Thanks Ronnie. I found it on another site, dedicated to matters Northumbrian. It was unattributed.

Richard Slater

02/03/16 – 06:24

Just catching up on the above after a few days out (due to computer death and replacement), and I can’t see that Phil’s statement about all Manchester PD2s having chromed radiator shells has been challenged. In fact the first 100 (3200-99) had cast aluminium shells, but since they were at Queens Road, I don’t suppose Phil saw much of them! See www.sct61.org.uk/

Peter Williamson

02/03/16 – 10:21

Peter,trying not to rely on memory I have been totally misled by a number of photos of both the Metro Cammell and Leyland bodied examples with shiny radiators when new.
As for not seeing much of them, the 53 provided some sightings and visits to the city centre others, and North Manchester wasn’t a foreign ground to me, the radiator shells just didn’t register!

Phil Blinkhorn

16/03/16 – 05:05

According to Eyre & Heaps Manchester specified the pressed radiator shell because it was cheaper to repair when the dozier brethren ran into the back of something. Personally I would have thought the tin shell would be less resistant to casual knocks than the heavy casting, but the decision was presumably based upon feedback from accident repair statistics. It’s worth noting that Salford specified shorter rads on their CVGs for similar reasons, while Birkenhead and Rochdale just bolted a big lump of angle iron across the grille to protect it!

David Jones

16/03/16 – 08:17

Perhaps, David, if the ‘dozier brethren’ had been required to pay for the repairs out of their wages, they might have been more alert to their surroundings . .

Pete Davies


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Barnsley & District – Leyland S3 30T – HE 12 – 5

Barnsley & District - Leyland S3.30.T - HE 12 - 5

Barnsley & District - Leyland S3.30.T - HE 12 - 5
Copyright Pete Davies

Barnsley & District
Leyland S3.30.T
Brush B27F

Here are two views of HE 12, a Leyland S3. 30.T from 1913. The body is a Brush B27F and she is in the livery of Barnsley & District (fleet number 5) – a precursor of the famous Yorkshire Traction. She’s seen on display at Longcross, near Chobham, on 1 April 2007. This was the London Bus Preservation Group event, normally held at Wisley airfield.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

26/04/13 – 07:43

Looks like one of Mike Sutcliffe’s immaculate restorations. Magnificent machine. Only 14 years before the TD1 appeared!

Ian Thompson

26/04/13 – 08:48

I was at that event Pete and Ian, and the restoration of this vehicle is superb beyond description. Incidentally the annual "Cobham" event is no longer held at the windswept and inhospitable Wisley Airfield. We went last weekend and it is now held at Brooklands Motor Museum, where the splendid new bus exhibition is now open.

Chris Youhill

27/04/13 – 07:55

Did you notice, Chris, the careful positioning of the stop for the horse-drawn "STAR OMNIBUS" and Concorde? Quite a dramatic contrast!

Pete Davies

27/04/13 – 09:22

horse bus

I did indeed Pete notice just the fascinating contrast that you mention, and here "hot off the press" is the picture I took on Sunday having had the same feeling about the wonderful "ancient and modern" scene. The horse bus was well patronised most of the day and its rather strange to reflect that it has stayed in service far longer than the ill fated Concorde. The beautiful Belgian horses must have thought that it was their birthday as they were plied with mints and biscuits by delighted onlookers at every "terminus."

Chris Youhill

27/04/13 – 09:50

Great pictures Pete, thanks for posting. Thanks also to whoever has put in the work to achieve this result!

Les Dickinson

27/04/13 – 13:14

At the rate fuel is rising in price, there could be a renaissance in horse buses! With such proud and beautiful horses, many would welcome it! A truly moving photo, Chris Y, and thx so much for posting it.

Chris Hebbron

28/04/13 – 08:19

There is, of course, the difference in opinion about a horse:
1) It’s a form of transport, it keeps the grass down, and feeds the roses.
2) It’s dangerous! The front bites, the middle sags, and the back kicks.
I vote for option 1!

Pete Davies

28/04/13 – 09:28

…..but like any motor vehicle, Pete, option 2 only applies when there is misuse or abuse from the driver…..

David Oldfield

29/04/13 – 16:01

Not sure about that David. I seem to remember that in the olden days, one of the first things children were taught was "Never go close behind a horse" – and it wasn’t for what might drop on your shoes either!

Stephen Ford

30/04/13 – 05:36

Just for kicks?

David Oldfield

30/04/13 – 05:37

Don’t forget, if you abused the mechanical gear change pedal on a pre-selector Daimler you got similar results as….
…. the back leg of an abused horse!

Eric Bawden

30/04/13 – 13:17

horse bus 2
(Copyright unknown)

It’s always been a source of wonderment that horsebuses and the like often appeared to run top-heavy, yet didn’t turn over. However, maybe they did! An extreme example is this 1910 photo of a staff outing of the wonderfully-named Portsea Island Gas, Light & Coke Co., which is likely to have some 20 folk aboard, with perhaps one inside! I’m assuming that climbing Portsdown Hill was a No-No!

Chris Hebbron

22/05/13 – 17:48

"The Muggleton Inn" (Wetherspoon) in Maidstone displays a photo of D 9717 1913 Leyland acquired second-hand by Maidstone & District from an unknown operator in 1914. But Wetherspoon’s have wrongly captioned the photo as a Tilling-Stevens!

John Humphrey

15/11/13 – 08:51

I have produced a CAD Line drawing of this bus and would like to forward a copy to the owners. Does anyone know how to contact them?

Russell Riley


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