Old Bus Photos

Exeter Corporation – Leyland Tiger – EFJ 666 – 66

Exeter Corporation - Leyland Tiger - EFJ 666 - 66

Exeter Corporation
Leyland Tiger TS8
Cravens B32R

Here we have Exeter City 66, a Leyland Tiger TS8 with Cravens B32R body and dates from 1938. It is owned by Colin Shears and is part of the West of England Transport Collection based at Winkleigh in North Devon. Here it is seen in the late evening working a run to the Top of Pennsylvania during the Exeter nocturnal event on 13 /11 2011. I realise there are already pictures of this vehicle on the site but I thought the night shot was a little different.
The next Winkleigh open day is Sunday 6th October 2013 and the next Exeter Twilight event is Sunday 10th November 2013.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

02/06/13 – 08:44

A beautiful photo indeed Ken, and the bus stands out bright and clear in the night sky – quite an exceptionally professional exposure I think. On seeing the destination display I couldn’t help being reminded of some other famous buses – in very similar Southdown hues – which carried us to "97 Top of Beachy Head."

Chris Youhill

02/06/13 – 18:26

The destination Pensilvania reminded me when staying with my aunt and uncle in the village of Staincross to the north of Barnsley, there was a district called California. Are you familiar with this area Chris?

Jim Hepburn

03/06/13 – 07:12

Not sure, but I might have been down this road before – Lincolnshire Road Car used to serve Jericho, Jerusalem and New York, amongst other quaintly-named, and even more quaintly-pronounced places!

Stephen Ford

03/06/13 – 07:13

Photography of the highest standard.Ken never fails on subject and quality.

Alan Coulson

03/06/13 – 07:13

Yes Jim, I have visited friends at Staincross so I know it from that point of view. However the only bus route into Barnsley that I ever worked was the South Yorkshire Road Transport one from Pontefract via Hemsworth, Shafton, Cudworth and Oakwell – jointly operated with Yorkshire Traction who took over all the mileage when we were sold out to West Riding in 1994

Chris Youhill

03/06/13 – 08:38

EFJ 666_2

Here is the same wonderful machine in daylight at South Cerney in 2011. Very rare to se open platform single-deckers at shows. This one was a treat to see and hear.

Les Dickinson

04/06/13 – 06:59

There’s also a Jericho in Bury and Rhodesia near Worksop.

Geoff Kerr

04/06/13 – 09:41

EFJ 666_3

"I’d say that preserved rear-platform single deckers are rare period.
Here’s a photo I took of LGOC T31/UU 6646. at Cobham 2007, showing the rear platform in all its glory.
Interesting that the rear offside seat went all the way to the rear of the vehicle.
Was this common on all such vehicles?"

Chris Hebbron

04/06/13 – 09:42

….and Hermon, Hebron and Bethlehem, all in Pembrokeshire…

Les Dickinson

04/06/13 – 14:29

A ten minute walk down the road Geoff and you’ll find First has a farestage on the T6/T8 Mankinholes Circular called ‘California’.

John Stringer

20/06/13 – 07:11

Could someone tell me what were the oblong tanks for, below the N/S/F windows please?

Andy Fisher

20/06/13 – 13:23

That looks to me like an Autovac, which was in simple terms a header tank for the fuel. I’ve not had much involvement with it but I think it was a system that used induction vacuum to pull air up from the tank. By having a reservoir it ensured that some fuel was available to start the engine.
The alternative method of getting fuel up from the tank was the lift pump which was usually on the side of the injection pump.

David Beilby

20/06/13 – 13:23

In answer to Andy Fisher, the tank is an Autovac, which draws fuel up from the tank and supplies it as needed to the fuel injection pump. I always feel that a visible Autovac adds something to the look of a bus.

Ian Thompson

20/06/13 – 13:24

No problem Andy – the little tanks are for for the "Autovac" fuel lift system and for some reason, even in my infancy, they fascinated me and caused me to view any vehicle without one as "lacking in style." Of course in those early days I had no idea what they were for !!
As can be seen in the photo, the Autovac caused little forward distraction to front seat passengers on the Exeter Leyland, but on the Bristol/ECW it is more visible from within – no detriment of course to the superb Bristol vehicles.

Chris Youhill

20/06/13 – 13:26

Andy the tank is the Autovac. Some useful info here: //www.autovac.co.uk/

Phil Blinkhorn

21/06/13 – 09:59

One other preserved rear entrance open platform saloon is an Edinburgh Guy Arab III with MCW bodywork. For some of its life it was a driver trainer and had the offside bulkhead window removed. A ride on this proved perhaps the noisiest ride on a bus I’ve ever had! Five cylinder Gardners and Halifax hills don’t mix!

Chris Hough

28/07/14 – 17:52

There is a link here to another Craven bodied single decker, but this one is a Karrier built for the LMS and operating on the road in Stratford upon Avon but it then went by rail to Blissworth.
There is a family similarity about the contours of the cab/roof area. //railwaywondersoftheworld.com/coaches-rail.html

John Lomas

EFJ 666 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

26/02/19 – 07:13

Used in the final 10 minutes of the film ‘The Remains of the Day’ 1993, where Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson say their farewell…..Sorry if someone else has already listed this.

Mark Jordan


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East Midland – AEC Regent III RT – KGK 750 – D47

East Midland - AEC Regent RT - KGK 750 - D47

East Midland Motor Services
Cravens H56R

You can almost smell the workshop in this view!
This ex-London Transport Regent RT came to East Midland with the take-over of Wass, Mansfield in April 1958. D47 was gone in 1960 – to A1 Service, Ardrossan.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

26/05/13 – 10:31

Nice view, Les, and thank you for posting. I note that East Midland acquired this vehicle as part of the deal in buying Wass, but what did London Transport deem to be so "non standard" about Cravens and Saro bodies that they were sold out of the fleet so quickly?

Pete Davies

27/05/13 – 07:00

Splendid picture, there’s something altogether fascinating about views of buses undergoing repair or maintenance. Makes me want to go and brew a pot of extra strength ‘busman’s’ tea!
What a pity KGK 750 didn’t make it into the East Midland fleet until after they’d switched over to the maroon livery, it would have looked a treat in the old biscuit, chocolate and cream scheme.

Dave Careless

27/05/13 – 07:01

The Cravens RTs were totally non standard with 5 bay construction. Not only were the body spares, particularly glass spares, non standard, the vehicles could not be processed through Aldenham works where body and chassis swaps were the rule, unless they were swapped with other Cravens bodied vehicles due to the way the bodies were mounted.
As this did not fit the, by mid 1950s, maintenance regime the Cravens vehicles were sold off. In any event they had been a stop gap to cover delivery delays at Park Royal and Weymann.
The SARO vehicles were much more standard but there were enough differences to make them cuckoos in what was very much a Park Royal/Weymann nest.

Phil Blinkhorn

27/05/13 – 07:02

The Cravens bodies were not to London Transport design but used the standard Cravens shell with London Transport features. Most noticeably they were of five-bay construction rather than four.
I wasn’t aware that the Saunders bodies were short-lived, and Ian’s Bus Stop site www.countrybus.org/RT/RT3s.htm  says they weren’t.

Peter Williamson

27/05/13 – 07:03

Five bay construction whilst all other RT family members were four bay, perhaps?

Tony Martin

27/05/13 – 07:04

Pete, the Craven-bodied RT’s were merely Craven’s standard fare modified to look something like standard RT bodies.
The fronts were flatter (I preferred them), they had five-bays and the back curved, hunch-backed, above the rear platform window, itself less wide and offset to the offside. The rear number plate was also further to the right. They were not jig-built and useless for standard Aldernham overhauls. I’m not so sure that the SaRo versions had shorter lives with LTE; they were entirely standard in all respects, to my knowledge.
Here’s a rear offside three-quarter view of a Craven’s RT. The five bay layout made the downstairs windows finish slightly further back than usual,although the side route number fitting was in the usual place. Therefore the gap between the two was less. To the average passenger, it is unlikely they’d notice the difference. Two survive, both with Ensign, one red and one green. www.flickr.com/photos/

Chris Hebbron

27/05/13 – 07:06

I’ve done a little more digging, Pete, about the SaRo bodies. They were strong and fully compatible with RT bodies from the usual suppliers, although they had slight weakness with the front bulkhead, corrected at first overhaul. The only reason they were withdrawn a little earlier than others was because they had front roofboxes. Nevertheless, some lasted a full 20 years,albeit as learner vehciles latterly.

Chris Hebbron

27/05/13 – 09:02

Chris, were the SARO bodies exchanged in the normal way in the Aldenham programme? As top box bodies were considered non standard from the mid 1950s I was under the impression that they weren’t after first overhaul, to avoid non standard bodies being mated with the newer chassis.

Phil Blinkhorn

27/05/13 – 09:03

Thanks for your responses, gents. I knew someone would be able to clarify!

Pete Davies

27/05/13 – 09:03

Although I’ve always been a fervent admirer of the wonderful standard RT (and RTL/RTW), both as a passenger and as a driver, I have equal enthusiasm for the fascinating Cravens version also. The five bay appearance fits in very well with the general handsome RT profile, and the various other smaller differences add to the individual appeal of "The Cravens." As far as I’m aware the only difference from standard in the appearance of the Saro bodies was the position of the offside route stencil frame – oh and, once in a lifetime, the need to reduce the tyre pressures/height in order to "escape" from Anglesey under the portals of the Menai Straits bridge.

Chris Youhill

27/05/13 – 16:38

Since no-one has yet mentioned London Transport’s perennial disposal of perfectly good buses at a ridiculously young age (Cravens RTs, RWs, DMSs etc), perhaps I should be the one to set the cat amid the pigeons! The usual excuses given for these premature disposals (standardisation, inability to cope with the London environment, and so on) are transparently so much guff when one considers the loss of barely depreciated assets. In every case it would have been cheaper to hang on to these perfectly good vehicles and send LT engineers out into the real world to learn how to maintain them. I await the barrage of counter-arguments from LT apologists (or, as I like to think of them, fetishists…)

Neville Mercer

27/05/13 – 16:38

It would be interesting to know which depot this was, I would say either Mansfield or Worksop. Wass Brothers operated a busy service from Mansfield to Clipstone, Edwinstowe and Ollerton, they bought three of these Craven RT’s in 1957, the others were JXC 219 and KGK 739, their livery was half maroon and half dark red and it’s difficult to tell from the picture if East Midland repainted them when Wass had only painted them a year earlier, or if they simply added a cream band. The destination box was certainly altered by East Midland, Wass had retained the LT style boxes and had painted their name in the bottom aperture. It seems a shame that these fine vehicles were disposed of by East Midland after just two years when only eleven years old but by 1960 they were taking large numbers of Atlanteans.

Chris Barker

28/05/13 – 07:41

This photo was taken in the old fitting shops at Worksop depot. The three of these ended their lives on Worksop town services. This was due to them being high bridge.

Ian Bennett

28/05/13 – 07:42

Bradford City Transport had 2 Saunders RTs in the batch of 25 bought from Birds dealer in 1958 Numbered 411 and 421 they lasted until 1968 with the odd spell stored in the TIN SHED at Thornbury.

Geoff S

28/05/13 – 07:43

I concur completely with your view of London Transport extravagance, Neville, and have made similar comments on this forum in the past. I joined LT(CB&C) at Reigate in a clerical capacity from school after ‘A’ Levels in August 1960, and was astounded at the curious attitude that prevailed throughout the organisation at every level. It was like being on a different planet, totally insulated from all outside influences. It was incapable of learning from others in the bus industry since it believed that London operating conditions were unique – its own experience therefore existed on a far higher plane than that of "provincial" people. Thus it made expensive mistakes that could have been mitigated by contacts outside its own closed mentality. The engineering system was typical of its centralised attitudes and slavish devotion to standardisation. The RT family (once those nasty, interloping Cravens and Saunders machines were removed), the RFs and the RMs were all designed, like Meccano, to be taken to pieces. Defective pieces could then be removed at garages and sent to Chiswick or Aldenham, and reconditioned parts installed in replacement. No proper analytical engineering expertise was required at garage level. The front line mechanical operation was maintained by fitters, not by engineers. Whatever the fault, major or minor, a replacement part was almost always seen as the solution. Another LT vehicle class that epitomised the cavalier approach to costs was the RC and the allied EC of BEA that LT ‘looked after’. Yes, the wet liner engines of the Reliance did give trouble, but swathes of British bus operators ran them successfully for years. The LT/BEA fleets spent much of their time in store and were disposed of after very short lives. Remarkably, the insular attitude of London’s public transport "experts" remains today, as may be seen in Boris Johnson’s preposterous, extravagant, ego inflating "Routemaster". After their inevitably limited life in London, I don’t see many takers for those things on the secondhand market unless they are extremely cheap.

Roger Cox

28/05/13 – 07:44

The destination looks like Langold, which I think was a mining village near Worksop.

Geoff Kerr

28/05/13 – 07:45

As for your comment, Neville, about LTE’s disposal policy, I’m the first one to wonder why! Firstly, this policy did not extend across the whole of LTE. Non-standard trolleybuses, and there were several of them, led almost full lives alongside their compatratriots and I recall, when living in London, several Tube and sub- surface stock ‘non-standard’ carriages also with their ‘standard’ compatriots. The bus division certainly disliked non-standard vehicles and I even recall a very-sloping front-ended STL which, late in life, was rebuilt, all for the sake of four seats! A whole lot of already non-standard lowbridge green ST’s were tweaked such that not one of them looked the same in the end. TF1, with non-standard body, was altered to look marginally like its compatriots, then disposed of in 1946, along with various other non-standard types, like the double-deck Q’s at the very time when it was obvious they were needed! However, with the RT family of buses, peak passenger numbers were in 1949, although the dwindling numbers were slow to start with. Typically, LTE definitely over-ordered them to the point where the last 400 went into store for about four years and many of them had ex-SRT bodies draped on them until they eventually went into service. LPTB/LTE achieved some remarkable things in its short life, especially pre-war, but it was quite barmy in some ways and you won’t find me an apologist for it! And Chris Y, I never realised they had to lower the RT’s tyre pressures to get them off Anglesey, presumably after that first accident!

I can’t answer your query about the transfer of SaRo bodies at Aldenham, Phil, save to say that their incompatibility with RTL chassis meant, unlike regular RT bodies, they were not put onto RTL chassis because they, too, were non-standard and disposed of earlier. Incidentally, there was nothing odder than seeing a roofbox-bodied RTL – //tinyurl.com/p5dgkls

Chris Hebbron

28/05/13 – 08:53

Chris H – some most interesting insights into LPTB/LTE policy and practice. I hope I wasn’t imagining the necessity to lower the Saro RTs for their journey from the factory, but I’m sure that I read it somewhere reliable. I’d never considered the feature of roof route number boxes on RTLs but having looked at these pictures I’ve quickly decided that I liked them, and on the RTs too. I think they gave just a little "look of determination" to the otherwise curvaceous and attractive fronts. On a practical level too I’m sure that the all important route number was more easily seen by intending passengers in heavy traffic – perhaps though there were risks of damage and leakage from incidents in mechanical washing machines, although none seems evident in photographs.

Chris Youhill

28/05/13 – 08:59

Well, Chris, Neville, Roger and Chris. Been away and just read your theses on London Transport. Can add little other than whole hearted agreement. Look no further than the premature withdrawals all having longer (happy) lives with a second (major) operator than with LT – including the not particularly happy Swift/Merlin fleet in Malta. As a Sheffielder, I will always have a soft spot for the Cravens.

David Oldfield

28/05/13 – 11:13

Chris H, my first visit to London from up North was as an 8 year old in 1955. The roof box fascinated me and, over the years and on many visits into the 1960s, I managed a few rides on roof box RTLs.

Chris Y, you aren’t suffering from excess imagination as the reduction in tyre pressures has been documented in a few publications over many years. Given the longevity of the tale and the fact |I’ve never seen it contradicted, it may well be true.

Phil Blinkhorn

28/05/13 – 11:14

Just to finish our deviation, there were a few body oddities with LPTB I never mentioned. Several ‘pre-war’ RT’s were fitted, post-war, with quarter opening front windows, for an experiment, I assume. One of them had its front roofbox altered for them by an errant tree, the former never being replaced. This reminds me that LPTB, in 1942, were authorised to build some semi-austerity bodies to STL style, to be fitted to unfrozen Regent I chassis. In the event, only three were so fitted, the rest going onto used chassis. The highbridge versions all had the roofbox fronts, but minus the roofboxes. The rest of the highbridges had a mix of ‘float’ boxes some back to 1932. They all had crash boxes and sensibly went to hilly parts of Country Area. These highly non-standard, semi-austerity vehicles lasted until the very end of STL operation, me catching my only ever glimpse of one (re-painted green by then) as a garage ‘hack’, in mid-1955, within days of withdrawal. So, sometimes, non-standard was valued!

Chris Hebbron

28/05/13 – 17:03

An interesting aside to Les’s posting is that Wass Brothers were an apparently well respected independent and although it is now fifty five years since they sold out to East Midland, their garage and premises on Westfield Lane, Mansfield survive to this day in their entirety and are now used by another well known independent, Johnson Bros/Redfern Travel.

Chris Barker

29/05/13 – 06:57

Just wondered if anyone has any details of the years of Wass ownership re the Ex Lincoln Corporation Leyland Titan TD4. Did they have two? Presumably the RTs replaced them, Any info will be most welcome.

Steve Milner

29/05/13 – 10:03

Wass Bros Mansfield. Regarding the depot comment by Chris Barker. I wonder Chris, perhaps you are mixing up the locations here? I live in the district and I’m frustrated at how little history from the 20’s to the 70’s was recorded.
As such I’m not saying you’re mistaken but my understanding is that the Wass Bros depot was about half a mile further up Westfield Lane, at the junction with Redgate Street. They (WB) did have an ‘office/house/HQ’ on Welbeck Street in Mansfield but I’ve no evidence that they occupied the Lindley Street Garage used by Redferns for some 30 odd years.
Research suggests that The Lindley Street depot was a late 20’s extension to the original Neville & Sons Motor Garage on Westfield Lane. George Neville was a pre WWI Mail Carrier and operated the first omnibuses in Mansfield, his business expanded into wagon building and adaptations and moved to a larger site just before WWII. The body building company still exists in the town today, although owned by some foreign multi-national.
The Westfield Lane/Lindley St site then seems to have passed to existing Lindley Street haulier Tom Eason, who must have been attracted to the bigger garage just down his street! He rapidly developed his business into specialist carrier, Westfield Transport Ltd. They moved to a purpose built site in 1958 before being taken over by Pickfords in 1964.
The Garages were then occupied by another haulier, W.T.Kemp, by the 70’s his sons were operating the site as a Saab and DAF cars dealership. Redferns moved into the Lindley Street Garage in 1975.
It was 5 years before the Wass Bros depot site was re-developed with the building of a pub known the The Redgates.
I’ve never seen any picture taken in or around the depot so if anyone would care to share? I do however have a picture of JXC 219, still in Wass 2 tone red but with East Midland decals. It is photographed with serious front dome damage, seemingly having tried to pass under a bridge some 3 or 4 inches too low. Amazingly none of the glass in the upper deck looks to have failed, well built those Cravens bodies?
There does seem to have been 2 ex-Lincoln TD4’s in the fleet, VL 8847-8. Listed with Wass from June 1952 till April 1956.

Berisford Jones

29/05/13 – 18:13

Berisford, I’m sure you’re correct in what you say. I do have one or two pictures of Wass vehicles which I took with me to Mansfield a few years ago to try and identify the site, which I thought I had but unfortunately I didn’t know about the premises further up Westfield lane. Oh well, at least some of the other operators sites, Trumans, Ebor, Red Bus and Naylors are still recognisable!
With regard to the ex-Lincoln TD4’s, there was also an ex-Chesterfield TD5, HNU 818 and it made me wonder if the three RT’s replaced the three Titans but the RT’s didn’t arrive until 1957 so were there any more second hand double deckers?

Chris Barker

29/05/13 – 18:14

Thanks for that Berisford – most welcome ta

Steve Milner

30/05/13 – 06:00

I have the first 2 RT’s listed as arriving in May 56 as the 2 TD4’s leave and the 3rd RT looks to have entered service with Wass in November 56 as the Chesterfield HNU818 departs?

Berisford Jones

30/05/13 – 06:00

That’s interesting, Chris, regarding ex-Chesterfield Titan HNU 818. Sisters HNU 817/9/20 went to Rotherham Corporation in 1956, as a stop gap measure until three lowbridge Daimlers that the corporation had ordered could be delivered the following year. I was only young, but I recall riding on one of them one evening, on its way into town from Dinnington, and it left a lasting impression, as it was such a raucous machine.

Dave Careless

30/05/13 – 06:00

Oh dear, I feel the imminent onset of the famous "egg on the face." I’ve just looked in Ken Blacker’s splendid book about the RTs and there is a photo of a long line of the Saunders buses on the Menai Straits bridge – a portal is visible and there appears to be plenty of headroom, so I don’t know what to make of the tale about reducing tyre pressures – perhaps someone once made a "tongue in cheek remark" ??

Chris Youhill

30/05/13 – 08:31

Chris, don’t be embarrassed. As I said before, that tale about tyre pressures has been around a long time. I remember having first read it whilst still at school, and I left school in 1965.

Phil Blinkhorn

30/05/13 – 12:26

Wass’s service was a busy one which needed quite a bit of duplication and it would seem that there were six double deckers in the fleet at any one time, three bought new, a PD1/Burlingham, a Crossley/Willowbrook and an all Leyland PD2. The second hand ones as detailed, three pre-war Titans replaced by the three RT’s. The ones purchased new were all lowbridge and yet the service didn’t appear to require lowbridge buses. There was also a nice Willowbrook bodied PS1 saloon.

Chris Barker

31/05/13 – 06:23

Beresford the comments on Wass Bros depot on Newgate Lane. I have seen photos of No 12 (D48) in the yard this was a single deck building at the side, The photo is one of R H G Simpson collection. Don’t know if they are still available. The other gent on about tyre. London fitted 36×8 tyres and wheels to gain bridge clearance, I Know We fitted a High bridge bus and found it suitable. The out come was it Took a Long time for Sheffield to catch on.

Ian Bennett

31/05/13 – 06:24

Just wondered also which dealer supplied the Wass Cravens RTs ? I thought these were withdrawn by LT in 1954 or am I wrong ?

Steve Milner

31/05/13 – 17:47

Steve, according to the PSV Circle fleet history of East Midland, the RT’s were acquired by Wass via Bird’s of Stratford-on-Avon in 1957.

Chris Barker

01/06/13 – 06:18

Thank you Chris ! Appreciate this.

Steve Milner

01/06/13 – 06:19

The wholesale withdrawal by London Transport of the Craven RTs occurred between the summer of 1955 and the early part of 1956. Yet another indicator of LT profligacy was the repainting in 1956 of no less than 21 of these buses from Central red into green Country livery, only for them to be finally withdrawn into store after only one to six months of subsequent operation. The full story can be found here on Ian’s Bus Stop website

Roger Cox

KGK 750 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

01/06/13 – 15:27

Chris Barker, I wonder, have you got an erroneous/alternative copy of the East Midland PSV fleet list? My edition of PE13 and ‘Ians Bus Stop’ site clearly show the RT’s as acquired in 1956, with the PE13 even showing, with the help of local authority licence date, the May & November 1956 dates for the Wass Bros double decker in-out/swap overs!

Berisford Jones

02/06/13 – 06:34

Ian’s Bus Stop shows KGK 750, RT 1491, being acquired by Wass in November 1956. RT 1456, JXC 219, and RT 1480, KGK 739, are also listed as arriving with Wass in 1956, but the actual month in both cases is uncertain.

Roger Cox

02/06/13 – 06:34

Berisford, my copy of the East Midland fleet history is undated but bears the number PB1, current until 1963 with addenda for 1966 and 1968 so perhaps it is a little erroneous! I have had a look on the ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ site which I didn’t know about and I agree with you that the dates are obviously correct and account for the withdrawal of the Titans.

Chris Barker


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Sheffield Corporation – Bedford VAS1 – KWA 811D – 11

Sheffield Corporation - Bedford VAS1 - KWA 811D - 11
Copyright Ian Wild

Sheffield Corporation
Bedford VAS1
Craven B22F

‘Mini-bus opens new field for city firm’ – says the Sheffield Telegraph newspaper in January 1966. Sheffield Transport had agreed to buy a prototype of a new design of a small bus developed by Cravens Ltd, a Company which had built a number of single and double deck bodies for Sheffield before and after the second world war. This new design would enable the Company to produce a range of different capacity buses with up to 33 seats. So far as I am aware, it remained unique. It was certainly the only Bedford bus to be operated by Sheffield.
The bus was originally used by the Transport Committee and for private hire but it later it did migrate on to normal service. I remember it especially on the circuitous route 44 to Bakewell via Ladybower and Bamford which wasn’t noted for a lot of patronage. I’m sure it must have been adapted later for one man operation as I remember the 44 being an early OMO conversion.
However here is the bus outside East Bank Garage on 19 June 1966 (it must have been nearly new) on the occasion of a tour of Sheffield by the Leeds and District Transport News.
The bus was renumbered 1 in April 1967 and was sold to the local King Edward VII Grammar School in 1973 – presumably at the expiry of its first seven year certificate of fitness.

An interesting might have been.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

04/07/12 – 05:20

Looks ungainly now and I fear it did then as well. Looks as if it ought to have a wheelchair lift in the back (needs it with that step!). The test here is whether it felt like a van with seats or a coachbuilt….coach. Small buses/coaches are fine, if that is what they are, and don’t shake themselves (and their passengers) to bits.


04/07/12 – 05:21

Ian, your final paragraph stuns me. I left KES in the summer of 1971 and kept in touch, through two members of staff in particular, who were mentors and very important to me with my professional development. …..and yet I wasn’t aware of this. I am a professional musician and retired music teacher – so one was the Head of Music. The other was an incredible guy who was also an MOT approved driving instructor, and advanced motorist, drove part-time for the real SUT and was a qualified fitter. Alan Finch got me through both the initial MOT and then the advanced driving tests first time and instilled in me a love of, and pride in, driving well and safely. Presumably he was instrumental in this purchase – but it seems to have passed me by. Sadly Alan died a couple of years ago.
Bearing in mind it was built at the same time that Cravens opened their Neepsend Coachworks and supplied a number of Atlanteans (PDR1/2) to Sheffield, it always puzzled me that No 11 was built by "Cravens" Do we assume it was Cravens Homaloy – the unit that built commercial vehicle bodies and trailers?

David Oldfield

04/07/12 – 05:22

Seem to recall that the local enthusiasts used to call this vehicle the"Cabbage Wagon"

Stephen Bloomfield

04/07/12 – 05:24

Ian is quite right about most of the operational details. However, it was never converted for OMO use.
A short time before it was withdrawn, I travelled home from work to on Weedon Street in the East End. On this particular occasion the Bedford/Craven 22 seater duplicated a Leyland Leopard/Burlingham 41 seater OMO saloon. Opting for the trip on 22, I was astonished that the vehicle was crew operated! Not a very economical bus for service!

Keith Beeden

04/07/12 – 08:37

Last time I saw it, was in ‘79 and was owned by Greenthorpes garage at Darnall, incidentally 500 yards from where it was built!
It was painted light turquoise blue with a darker blue band, and was named "Georgie Porgie"!
Shame it wasn’t preserved as it was the last bus ever built by Cravens of Sheffield, but the last owners’ extortionate asking price resulted in no buyers and it eventually went for scrap.

Chris Morley

05/07/12 – 07:07

Can’t put a date to this recollection but I remember seeing this bus parked on the drive of a house in Barnburgh, a small village about 18 miles from Sheffield.
Whether this was before or after Chris saw it at Darnall I can’t say.

Andrew Charles

06/07/12 – 07:17

I took slides of no 1 working service 190, Alsing Road to Darnall (terminated in Britannia Road) an also screened up for service 44.
The body was built at the old Cravens works in Staniforth Road and adverts showed it as being a Cravens Homaloy body.

Stephen Bloomfield

10/07/12 – 06:49

I hesitate to argue with the mighty Keith Beeden, but it was definitely converted for OMO latterly, certainly by 1972. I travelled on it on the 44 at that stage. It was fitted up, as most Sheffield OMO buses were, for a TIM ticket machine- but not a powered one. I believe it only had a 12v electrical system whereas all other buses had the 24v necessary to drive a TIM power unit. I think its duty included trips on the 190, referred to above, before and after the couple of round trips on the 44 which were the entire M-F service on that route. It wasn’t used at weekends. There is an unconfirmed story that STD had an option on a second such bus which would have been used to provide Edale with a rail replacement bus service when BR applied to withdraw the Hope Valley local trains in 1966. When it was found that the replacement buses would cost more than retaining the trains, BR decided not to proceed with this plan and No1 remained unique.

Phil Drake

02/08/12 – 07:30

In reply to Phil Drake I appreciate his statement that the Sheffield Bedford number 1 was indeed OMO converted. Possibly my journey was taken when the equipment was not serviceable?
I am humbled to have the term great applied! My interest in Sheffield matters is over some 75 years

Keith Beeden

02/08/12 – 07:32

Bedford VAS1. How many of these were built? Astons Coaches Marton had a Reading DRY 7877C (re-registered for some reason), Bodied one ex Davis Leicestershire who had two. How many Reading bodied ones were built?

David Aston

Typo on the registration I think, four numbers, probably a 7 too many.

20/12/15 – 08:30

The body is by Craven Homalloy Ltd, they also bodied a Leyland 90 for Standard Triumph at Coventry it was KWK 505F (pics on Flickr) it survives as a caravan in Cambridgeshire

John Wakefield

15/07/20 – 06:42

Have just been reading a Sheffield history website. The reason that I was unaware of its sale to King Edward VII was because it wasn’t. It was sold to King Ecgbert School some five miles away on the Derbyshire border – between Dore (service 50) and Totley (service 45).

David Oldfield

28/01/21 – 06:35

David, the website information is WRONG. This bus definitely went to King Edward VII Broomhill in the early 1970’s, I was there! It was looked after by Alan Finch who is mentioned above, assisted by a number of pupils. Possibly after your time Mr Finch set up a car workshop in the sheds on the Glossop Road boundary, next to the notorious outdoor toilets, and taught car maintenance as a subsidiary subject. If I remember rightly the car Mr Finch used for the driving lessons was a light blue Austin A60. The bus was repainted in the original Blue and Cream livery. The KES crest was added under the rear window, hand painted by a pupil who was good at art. A big leather car seat was added at the front left in what was originally luggage space, comfortable for a second teacher on trips out. Years later I did see the bus at Volvo Village and recognised it straight away.

Sam Wood

28/01/21 – 13:26

Sam. It is the sort of thing that Alan would do! [I left in the summer of 1971.] As I said, he got me through the basic MOT and then the advanced (IAM) driving tests in the "School Car". Everything that you said is correct apart from one thing. The School Car was a 1956 Series II Morris Cowley, refitted with a 1500 engine to make it into an Oxford, with massive "L"s on the sides as well as front and aft. The workshop was indeed by the "Backs". He drove an A110 Westminster and his wife a Wolseley 1500 (in the same colours as the school car). Lunchtime Roadsafety lessons were also part of the package and no one drove on the road until they could handle a car on Norton Airfield. Alan also used to regale us with stories of his holiday time exploits as a driver for SUT.

David Oldfield

07/08/21 – 05:24

David, Sorry for the late reply – I don’t look at this site very often. Thank you for the confirmations and corrections. I remember Alan Finch’s Westminster – we did a lot of work on that in the school’s workshop. We had a lot of trips in the Bus, always amused by the number of people at bus stops who put their hands out – no destination or route number but it was cream and blue and they wanted to get on! The furthest I remember going was to Jodrell Bank via Blue John cavern – the Mam Tor road was still open then. Somewhere I have a photo of the Bus taken from the Blue John entrance. The Bus was a tight fit through the school gate on Glossop Road, fortunately the head stones had already been removed which did help. I don’t remember the bus suffering any damage. I’d guess Alan Finch gave the teachers some tuition before they were let loose – it was quite a bit bigger than a normal minibus. At the time we were told the bus had been built for the Transport Department Band, but this doesn’t seem to be correct. I had doubts about this at the time, it did have about the right number of seats but apart from the space at front left there was no luggage space or boot, they would have needed a van for the instruments. Happy memories!

Sam Wood

16/08/21 – 05:45

Sam. Like many local authorities, Sheffield had a special vehicle for the use of the Transport Committee and other local dignatries. This was 900, the 1958 Roe Dalesman AEC Reliance MU3RV. A bit of an indulgence, it was also available for private hire when not on its intended duties and latterly was used on the Derbyshire B & C routes. The poor councillors must have had a bit of a shock and a tremendous come down when they found out that the replacement, eight years later, was a Bedford VAS1 with weird bus bodywork – No 1.

David Oldfield


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 8th August 2022