Old Bus Photos

Newcastle Corporation – Daimler COG5 – HTN 222 – ?

HTN 22_crop_lr

HTN 222_lr
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Newcastle Corporation
Daimler COG5
Northern Coachbuilders H56R

What looks like a pre delivery photo of three Daimlers for Newcastle Corporation, “note the blue light to the side of the destination blind” this has been commented on before on this site. Going by the registrations I would say they were built in the late 1930s, and to be honest if I were shown a picture of one of these in a different location I wouldn’t be able to say who the bodybuilder was, but I think the name on the building may be a clue.


What on earth were they thinking of with the front wing and the headlights? They look as if someone remembered them about ten minutes before they were due to leave the factory and they were stuck on as an afterthought, for me they completely spoil the look of what is otherwise a rather handsome vehicle. I don’t know anything about them, maybe someone can provide information for the ‘?s’. But if I’m right about the date they would almost certainly ‘or the chassis would’ have still been around until about the early to mid fifties.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

06/06/12 – 07:50

Yes, good looking vehicles, spoiled by the apparent afterthought of where to place the headlamps. Then again, perhaps they did omit the headlamps entirely, as these are where most folk would expect the fog lights.

Pete Davies

06/06/12 – 07:51

HTN 231, 233, presumably from the same batch of 1939 NCB bodied COG5s, finished up in 1956 with the LCBER bus fleet.
See my recent post, and fleet list on the subject

John Whitaker

06/06/12 – 07:52

This picture appears in Alan Townsin’s book "Daimler", where it is credited to the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Libraries. The photo was taken in June 1939, and shows the first three of a batch of 18 COG5 machines with Northern Coachbuilders bodies, which were followed by two more with Northern Counties bodies. This batch of 20 brought the total number of COG5 buses in the Newcastle fleet up to 71, the highest number outside Birmingham at that time.

Roger Cox

06/06/12 – 07:52

From the registration number this looks like the same series as the two mentioned in the recently posted fleet list of Llandudno & Colwyn Bay vehicles (Nos. 1 and 2).

Stephen Ford

06/06/12 – 11:38

Bus headlamps are a fascinating topic to study. Several operators in the late thirties decided that low mooted headlamps or maybe fog lamps were more effective for smog conditions in many of the major cities. The first LPTB RT AECs had no main headlamps in the traditional place, and similarly Coventry had some Daimler COG5s with only low mounted lights similar to the Newcastle COG5s.

Richard Fieldhouse

06/06/12 – 11:38

I gather from photos published elsewhere that it was not until January 1949 that legislation specified how the headlights had to be placed. Nottingham favoured low-down "driving lamps" like this from 1935 and only modified them when the law changed. Did it improve visibility in fog? We tend to forget that headlights were not used routinely on (reasonably) well-lit city roads until comparatively recently. I wonder how practical they were when fitted with blackout shutters during the war? I have also seen (possibly on this site – not sure) buses with the two headlights mounted at different heights.

Stephen Ford

06/06/12 – 17:34

I cannot remember where, Stephen, but you are right about asymmetrical headlight siting.
Interesting to see these NCB bodies. They bear no resemblance to those I came to know post-war in Sheffield. They are quite a well balanced design and it seems a pity that they were abandoned after the war.
I have wondered, occasionally, whether the post-war design was deliberately similar to Weymann. (There is a vague similarity, and NCB’s order for about 40 bodies on various chassis was primarily to fill in for the fact that Weymann did not have the capacity to fulfil all its orders at that time.)

David Oldfield

06/06/12 – 19:42

Rather a splendid frontage to the NCB factory, which I’m rather surprised no one in this posting has picked up on.
Don’t suppose it has survived.

Eric Bawden

06/06/12 – 20:02

Long gone I’m afraid, Eric, but the Mill is still there but missing the top

Ronnie Hoye

08/06/12 – 17:15

Headlamp heights: the classic example is the early post war Morris Minor which pictures show with headlamps tucked in at the side of the radiator grille: then they had to be lifted into two fairings in the wings. The early Hillman Imp had excessive toe in on the front wheels to lift the headlamps- it is said: someone miscalculated, I assume.
Those old headlamps (CAV?) really did dip- the outer one just went out, often leaving the inner directed at the kerb. Consequently, the outer lamp was rarely used. Nowadays these would be foglamps, which was possibly the idea- or perhaps it avoided awkward brackets. The mudguards suggest quite some travel on the front suspension!


08/06/12 – 17:16

To try and answer David’s query about post-war NCB body design, one has to look-back to the war period. NCB was designated by the Ministry of War Transport to supply only re-bodies. In late 1944 the LPTB was directed to order 20 bodies for their war-damaged AEC and Leyland trolleybuses. NCB delivered a body similar to the pre-war style of LPTB trolleybus in late 1945 and all were delivered by mid 1946. These NCB bodied trolleybuses had a suffix C after their fleet number.

In June 1946 Bradford Corporation received their first of six NCB re-bodied 1934/35 AEC 661Ts (607, 614, 615, 616, 621 & 622). These bodies closely resembled the London C suffix trolleybuses and the back views were almost identical such as the emergency upper deck window and the platform window. The front windows however were more of the utility body style with opening vents and a result referred to as semi-utility. A rear view of 607 is appended. From this unique NCB semi-utility design emerged the standard NCB Mark 2 body by late 1946. This type was then seen in many towns and cities on both new and old chassis. This NCB body had an improved, more rounded front style and a reduced rear platform window but a similar LPTB rear upper -deck window shape. This may explain the link in NCB design with LPTB MCCW, Weymann and BRCW trolleybus bodies.

Richard Fieldhouse

08/06/12 – 18:00

Thanks Richard. Logical and highly likely.

David Oldfield

The links below are to comments that were updated at 18:20

Richard`s explanation is succinct and clear. It was obviously an easier design move, to develop the Bradford Mk1 "semi" design into what became the standard post war style.
What I would also like to know is whether the pre-war style, as used by Newcastle, Aberdare and others , was a metal framed design. If so, there is another reason for going down the "London rebody" route, as the post war style of NCB body, well known in so many fleets, was a composite product.
Another interesting aspect about this company, is their adoption of an "ECW" style about 1950, which superseded the standard type. Trolleybuses for Cleethorpes, and Mark 111s for Newcastle refer.
After the post war boom, aided by the failure of EEC to re-enter the market, NCB collapsed, and were wound up c.1951.
Published literature refers to the company operating in a converted aircraft hanger. Is this the same building as the one shown in the header photograph?

It may be interesting to also point out that NCB built significant numbers of Park Royal designed utility bodies on wartime Guys for London Transport.

John Whitaker

09/06/12 – 07:46

John, the building in the photo was on Claremont Road in the Spital Tongues area, and overlooked Hunters Moor and Exhibition Park, I think the aircraft hanger you refer to was in Cramlington which is about 7 miles north of Newcastle.

Ronnie Hoye

09/06/12 – 07:47

John the reason for the ECW clone – with strangely unbalanced and unequal bays – was that someone from ECW management went to NCB just before they folded. The reason that they folded was that their owner/principal shareholder died and the death duties did for the company. Interestingly, the machinery and raw materials were bought by Charles H Roe – and, one assumes, used subsequently for their own production. Doubly interesting since there is no record of Roe bodies being iffy but the NCB composites had a quite dreadful reputation – especially for the frames sagging in middle and later life. Sad since I thought Sheffield’s last batch, MWB 1950 Regent III, were quite handsome.

David Oldfield

09/06/12 – 07:48

The ‘ECW style’ Northern Coachbuilders bodies supplied to Cleethorpes on BUT trolleybuses and Newcastle on AEC Regents followed the appointment of Mr B W Bramham as General Manager at NCB. Prior to his move to NCB Mr Bramham at been at ECW since 1936 and before that he had been at Charles Roe’s.
I understand that NCB offered both wooden and metal framed bodies. Many of the wooden framed bodies suffered from poor quality timber, which caused them to look ‘down at heel’ in later life.

Michael Elliott

09/06/12 – 12:10

You are correct, David, when you refer to sagging NCB bodies!
Although Bradford`s 1947/8 regent IIIs lasted until 1962/3, I have this abiding memory of curved waist rails! Strangely though, contemporary bodies on the rebodied 1934/5 AEC trolleybuses never demonstrated this feature! But that, perhaps, is an indication of the superiority of electric traction! (half joking!)

John Whitaker

09/06/12 – 17:40

I read somewhere that someone from NCB went to work for Barnard, and that Barnard then produced a few bodies to NCB design. But when was this, and which NCB design? Or did I dream that?

Peter Williamson

11/06/12 – 15:09

Bradford also had 6 1950 Daimler CVD6s, with Barnard bodies, Peter, and I too heard from somewhere that there was an NCB connection. The body plates on Bradford`s Barnard Daimlers referred to "Barnard Norfolk Ironworks"….I remember it well, so whether they were composite or not, I have no idea.
I have not seen photographs of identical vehicles in other fleets, although I understand there were some, and there was a vague resemblance to the NCB design.
Again, I have memories of buses with curved waist rails towards the end of their BCT lives, but all 6 were sold on for further service in 1959.

John Whitaker

22/09/14 – 14:40

The reason for the very low down head lights or fog lights (often NOTEK!) on our lovely old buses was that in the 30s and 40s we had in both the north Newcastle and Leeds etc as well as London extreme smog!
This was a really lethal mixture of coal fire and industrial smoke from foundries and steel furnaces etc (all moved to China now!) with very high levels of soot in it and then heavy fog to hold it down and stop it dissipating easily!
I have experienced smog in Leeds and London where the services were stopped it was so bad and the conductors had to guide the drivers of the buses back to the depots with make shift flares and torches!
That’s the reason for the low down bus lighting to try and prevent glareback and focus what light came through on to the near side kerb!
The clean air act changed all this and then now all heavy industry emigrated to China!

Stuart Beveridge

13/10/15 – 06:38

Yesterday Purchased Geoff Burrows and Bob Kell’s book on NCB published this year, it is very good. It also answers various of the points here; the utility drawings were originally provided by Park Royal and NCB did assemble and finish some PRV frames on Guy Arab MoS for London Transport.
However the post-war series 1 design was based on NCB’s own wartime frame. When the team working on it were designing it they worked empirically by adjusting the drawings of the initial Bradford trolleybuses, lowering the lower deck waist-rail and then producing a more curved back until somebody in the drawing office realised it was looking almost identical to a 1939 Weymann; that’s when the trademark upper-deck front windows and the LT derived emergency exit were added; the rebodies for Northern were in build as the last of the Bradford trolleys were being completed and the design lasted until 1951.
All NCB bus and coach bodies with a few exceptions were composite, those exceptions being the initial Newcastle corporation Daimler COS4 single-deckers and the Guy Arabs exported to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) although William Bramham would have moved to metal framing had the business continued.
Sam Smith who founded the company also owned Rington’s tea, Smiths Electric Vehicles and a cardboard packaging frim called Cut-Outs (Cardboard) Ltd as well as a stake in Domestos.
The company wasn’t liquidated and the name was used for mobile shops etc built at the Smith Electric Vehicles place on Team Valley as well as coachwork repairs and sign-painting at Haymarket. The Claremont Coachworks building was sold to Newcastle Co-Operative society and the stock in trade and Machinery to Charles H Roe to pay Sam Smith’s death duties; of the staff made redundant some went to Saunders Roe, most notably Mr Bramham.
The Barnard bodies were based on the NCB series one but were even more prone to degradation. The chief designer and his head draughtsman left NCB after an order for BET single-deckers ended up being badly delayed leading to a partial cancellation and also ended up costing NCB money.The Leyland Tigers for Yorkshire Traction and Stratford Blue were due in 1947 and the last did not arrive until 1949. The people concerned joined Barnard in 1948. It was not so long after the ECW was nationalised; resulting in a sales ban and Mr Bramham joining NCB.
The draughtsman ended his career as managing Director of Bus Bodies South Africa.
The low-level driving lights were also used by United and the Northern Group

Stephen Allcroft

14/10/15 – 07:15

Apologies, a slight misreading of Messrs Kell and Burrows’ book and thus an apology. The Ceylon Guy Arabs were composite but teak rather than the usual oak and ash employed by NCB which would have been eaten away in months.
They were however built in an attempt to establish an export trade which would have then given them permits for steel and aluminium.

Stephen Allcroft

15/10/15 – 07:15

The mudguards maybe something to do with brake cooling which became an obsession with Manchester post war.

Phil Blinkhorn

16/10/15 – 06:02

There was something really obscene with death duties if it forced companies into liquidation, throwing employees into unemployment! I realise it was unwise for privately-owned companies like NCB and Ledgard not to become Ltd companies, but that’s not the point, for even smaller companies that didn’t warrant becoming Ltd companies would also have suffered.

Chris Hebbron


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



Hants and Sussex – Leyland Titan PD1 – FCG 526 – LO55

Hants and Sussex - Leyland Titan PD1 - FCG 526 - LO55
Copyright John Turner

Hants and Sussex
Leyland Titan PD1
Northern Coachbuilders L55R

The above shot of the Silentnight (Barnoldswick) works bus appeared for identification on this websites DYK page from John Turner. Pat Jennings did correctly identify it as FCG 526, it was one of nine Leyland PD1s bought new by Basil Williams in 1947 for his Hants and Sussex fleet. FCG 523/4/5 had Northern Coachbuilders H56R bodies, FCG 526/7 and FOR 837 had Northern Coachbuilders L55R bodies, and GAA 179/180/181 had Leyland H56R bodies. Interestingly, the fleet numbers LO52/3/4/5/6/8/9/60/1 were applied to these vehicles in sequence, which raises the question – what happened to number LO57? I remember seeing examples of the NCB highbridge PD1s in Fareham as a child in 1949 (though possibly it was always the same bus – a picture of FCG 523 on the Fareham service may be found in Alan Lambert’s definitive book on this operator, which is the source of much of my note here), when I assumed, as Basil Williams always intended the public to believe, that Hants and Sussex were another of the large territorial companies. I do not know what financial arrangement Mr. Williams entered into when purchasing these buses, but they all arrived new in 1947 and were all gone by 1949, several having been on loan to other operators within those two years. It seems very likely that the outturn finances of the Hants and Sussex group did not meet its proprietor’s optimistic expectations by 1949, and, indeed, the greater part of the business collapsed at the end of 1954.

Copy contributed by Roger Cox

There are three good sources of information available on Hants and Sussex, Alan Lambert’s book, PSV Circle PK14, and Alan’s article in the 2009 issue of the Leyland Journal on the company’s post war Leyland double deckers.
FCG 528 [LO57] was registered to Basil Williams personally, and thereby remained with him after the demise of the various limited companies in 1954/55. It was originally bought for the Midhurst group of routes, but after the "crash" it was used on the Thorney Island route. It was also used on the Sunday afternoon run to the Alton hospitals. It was sold for scrap in 1960 when the Tiger Cub, and Bedford SB1 were bought.

Pat Jennings

27/11/11 – 15:29

Of the ten PDIs delivered new in 1947, seven with NCB and three with Leyland H56R bodies, this is the only one that remained in the personal ownership of Basil Williams. The other nine were sold elsewhere in 1949 after only two years with Hants and Sussex, well before the 1954 collapse of the group.

Roger Cox

19/12/11 – 06:19

On the following website devoted to Bere Regis & District may be seen a photo of this very bus in 1953, which, with its fellow PD1/NCB L55R FCG 527, remained in the service of Bere Regis until 1960. It is the third picture down from the top. //www.countrybus.co.uk/

Roger Cox

19/12/11 – 11:01

It looks very proud, garlanded up for the 1953 Coronation. This is an old tradition which has sadly died out, too!

Chris Hebbron

24/10/12 – 12:40

You mean, having Coronations?

David Call

24/10/12 – 17:45

You’re as bad a pendant as me, David. But even we pedants can slip up sometimes, as I did here! I should OF known better!

Chris Hebbron

01/07/13 – 10:55

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m immune from making ‘dopey’ comments myself – check out my one about tram wires in Hebden Bridge on the Todmorden Titan dated 18/09/12 – 07:31

David Call

02/07/13 – 07:29

Er, quite!

Chris Hebbron

03/07/13 – 06:48

I appreciate that this question has probably been adequately answered by one or more of the above sources of information, but these, unfortunately, I do not possess. I wonder if anyone has subsequent ownership details for
FCG 523/4? I can come up with at least one subsequent owner, in some instances two, for all the other Hants & Sussex PD1s (except FCG 528, of course).

David Call

21/02/15 – 07:08

FCG 524 was acquired 10/49 by the Griffin Motor Co, thence to Red & White and was disposed of in 1961. GAA 179-181 went to United Welsh in 1949 and also lasted until 1960/1.

Richard Smith

31/08/17 – 05:04

With absolutely NO knowledge pre-1970, the name of Basil Williams was still one that surfaced from time to time in our corridor of Southdown House, which we shared with Fares & Licensing. I recall that there was a bank of filing cabinets for all the companies Southdown dealt with on licensing matters – but Basil had a complete drawer to himself! Henry Frier, that Roger Cox mentions in the article on Bere Regis, sat just across the corridor from me. Did the notorious Basil continue post-1954 in another guise?

Nick Turner

01/09/17 – 05:40

Richard Smith’s post of 21/2/15 must have passed me by at the time. When I tried in 2013 no subsequent owner details for FCG523/4 would come up for me, but there are plentiful references now. In respect of FCG 524, there are at least four relevant photos accessible on the web. three of it when with Red & White, and one of it subsequently with Contract Bus Services of Llanwern. Here’s a shot of it with Red & White, together with other ex-Griffin double-deckers. //richardsmith.webplus.net/
There are at least two shots available of FCG 523, when with Stonier’s of Goldenhill.

David Call

01/09/17 – 05:42

Yes, Nick. Basil most certainly did continue beyond his 1954 cataclysm. After one distressing experience in which the transfer of road service licences from an acquired operator to his own business was refused, Williams always retained the company names of acquired operators, resulting in a bewildering profusion of separate companies that collectively operated under the Hants and Sussex name. Some services, however, were licensed to Williams in his own name as sole proprietor, and were technically not a component of the Hants and Sussex group, although they operated under that banner. By the mid 1950s, rural bus services were in terminal decline, and independent operators who were largely dependent upon such mileage began to experience financial pressures. In December 1954 the company’s bank and other creditors, who collectively were owed some £74,000 (around £650,000 today) applied for the liquidation and asset sale of Hants and Sussex. The Midhurst area services personally licensed to B.S. Williams remained in operation under his control, together with the Blake’s Tours business at Plymouth. From this somewhat shaky basis he gradually built up an operation that, from 1962,he named Southern Motorways, based mainly at his Emsworth depot. The implementation of the NBC local companies MAP (Market Analysis Project) route economies saw Williams picking up work that NBC reduced or abandoned, a curious reversal of the 1940s/1950s scenario in which Aldershot & District, Southdown and London Transport had (in collaboration) fought every expansionist move by the former Hants and Sussex business. Basil kept going right up to the end until he sold his Southern Motorways operations to Solent Blue Line in late September 1987. He died during the 1990s. The definitive book on this fascinating operator is "Hants & Sussex" by Alan Lambert. On a personal note, when, on leaving school in 1960, I took up a clerical position with London Transport (Country Buses & Coaches) at Reigate, I discovered some pretty fat files on Hants and Sussex in the attic, and gleaned much from their perusal. Sadly, I didn’t make off with them, and they undoubtedly perished under subsequent "tidying up".

Roger Cox

01/09/17 – 06:52

Thanks for that, Roger. I’d forgotten the Southern Motorways name but, sitting in the next office to Southdown’s Fares and Licensing Officer, Len Cole, with paper thin walls, I heard a lot. Road service licensing was something of a minefield, took up loads of time and money, and ultimately showed that it could be done without. I recall sitting through two whole days of a Met enquiry, waiting to be called as a witness opposing an Asian application for a Southall – Smethwick service. The applicant suddenly said he’d moved his depot up the road and the whole process had to start again. Like you and LCBS, I wonder what happened to all those SMS files in the end?

Nick Turner

01/09/17 – 15:17

Roger, may I query the date you offer for Basil Williams’ sale of his operations, which you state to be September 1987 to Solent Blue Line? I have a note copied from Bus & Coach Preservation magazine April 2012 issue which shows the last bus to carry the Hants & Sussex name. This is a Leyland National AAE 653V, and it was pictured at Havant in 1997, "just after H&S sold out to Southampton City Bus, and not long before SCB became part of First Group". Also, in Buses magazine Jan 2002 issue, there was a fleet focus on Emsworth & District (founded 1977). This article states that E&D ran Hants & Sussex for a few weeks in 1998, but found it to be beyond saving. Another Bus & Coach Preservation magazine photo in March 2016 issue shows ex-London Transport AML605H, and the caption includes the note that this ran for Basil Williams’ Hants & Sussex in 1993-94, before going to scrap in 1994. Was there a slip of the finger (1987/1997) in your input, or is there another explanation? With the history of Basil Williams fleets, anything is possible! I agree that Alan Lambert’s book on H&S is a marvellous piece. Published in 1983, it would be great if someone could write and publish the remaining history from 1983 to the end, with all the developments during the deregulation era which would also be fascinating reading.

Michael Hampton

02/09/17 – 06:26

I think Michael Hampton is right about the end of Basil William’s operations. When I was on holiday in Bognor Regis in the late 80’s or early 90’s I went to Emsworth and rode on an ex LT Swift. I also went looking for the Head Office at Hollybank House, Emsworth which turning out to be Williams’ house, well more of a mansion than a house. His son Vivian now runs it as an upmarket B & B, see www.hollybankhouse.com
The Williams family still own Glider & Blue Motor Services Limited although it hasn’t traded as an operator for many years.
I think Basil Williams died in 1999.

Nigel Turner

06/09/17 – 06:16

Michael and Nick, I yield entirely to your greater knowledge about the latter days of Southern Motorways. I haven’t ventured back to the Hampshire area from my East Anglian retreat for many years, and I can’t now recall where I acquired the idea that the end of Southern Motorways came about in the late ’80s. Thanks for the correction.

Roger Cox

06/09/17 – 06:18

There is a certain irony that the delightful Hollybank House boasts that all its rooms have flat screen TVs/DVDs, when one remembers that Basil Williams once claimed that Television was the single biggest cause of the collapse in bus use.


08/09/17 – 06:33

My apologies to Richard Smith, I hadn’t realised that the Red & White fleet list was on his own website.

David Call

24/09/17 – 14:30

In my contribution back on 01/09/17, I said it would be great if Alan Lambert and Sussex of 1983 could be updated. What do I find? In an e-mail bulletin from a publisher of transport books, there is just that book, by A Lambert! The brief review calls the author Adam Lambert, but from the script, it looks like it is Alan himself who has written this, and is published by Bowden Publishing at £40. Apparently there’s no fleet list, but I shall nevertheless be an eager purchaser as cash flow permits. So it’s good news that we will have the complete story to study and enjoy, and congratulations to author and publisher.

Michael Hampton

23/10/17 – 06:00

Having sold a few vital organs to finance the purchase of Alan Lambert’s new book, I can say that it is well worth the cost. Hard backed, with over 200 pages, it contains the detailed history of around a dozen companies who formed the group together with details of their predecessors.
I imagine that it has been a lifetimes work for Alan Lambert to write this book and I would say that it is a job well done.

Nigel Turner

16/11/17 – 06:52

I’ve just ploughed my way through Alan Lambert’s tome on Hants & Sussex, and it really is riveting read: it’s the financial side of things which I found interesting – hardly any part of the group made a profit and the whole organisation seemed to be kept afloat on a raft of bank loans, personal loans from Basil, and loans between companies. My understanding was that the group was sunk by a combination of interest charges on new vehicles at a time when passenger numbers started to fall and fuel duty rose sharply – but truth seemed to be that he kept on buying "pig-in-a-poke" companies from all-too-willing sellers, and then wasted money in battles in the Traffic Courts and appeals to the Ministry in an effort to expand their licenses. Even if you’re not particularly interested in H&S or bus operations in that area, it really is a fantastic read: I must admit though that I found keeping a copy of Alan’s earlier work close to hand quite useful – because of the amount of detail the latest book treats each strand of the business separately, and its useful to have the chronological text of the earlier book available to be able keep happenings within the perspective of the rest of the group.

Philip Rushworth

17/11/17 – 07:39

Phiip, my reactions on reading Alan Lambert’s new volume mirror yours exactly. To your list of curious "business decisions" may be added Basil’s over eagerness to grab wartime and postwar contract work seemingly without any concept whatsoever of costing, so that massive contracts requiring much hiring in from other operators, who assuredly got their pound of flesh, ended up earning him little more than pocket money. The Hants & Sussex conglomerate was a classic example of a precarious business run by the seat of the pants, totally lacking any proper commercial costing system. In 1988, after leaving Kentish Bus when Proudmutual (aka Northumbria) got its paws on it, I was asked to undertake a survey of the Southern Motorways Midhurst operations. I found these to be of decidedly marginal value and made a number of recommendations, all of which were subsequently ignored. Right through from 1937 to the end the B.S. Williams saga was one of extreme financial fragility, yet the proprietor continued to plough his lonely furrow regardless of reality.

Roger Cox

18/11/17 – 07:35

Am I alone in seeing a parallel between Basil Williams and Colonel Stephens of light railway fame.

Malcolm Hirst

25/11/17 – 08:05

Malcolm. Ref your mention of Col Stephens I can claim no knowledge of Basil Williams other than what I have read in this thread. From that limited base I would say the two are worlds apart. Stephens knew the value of everything to the last penny and never spent a penny where a ha’penny would do. By dint of very strict financial control, he ran his empire of very marginal railways for around 30 years and noticeably, once he was gone, the empire disintegrated, which is not to say that it would not have done had he still been there. I can’t imagine any undertaking run by Holman Fred Stephens buying 8 brand new double deckers – it would have been 20 year old TD5s or surplus trolleybus bodies fitted to old chassis like Silcox did. I can’t imagine him going for expansion at all cost without having a very good idea of the costs and likely income to be had or quoting for work without knowing the costs to the last penny.

Peter Cook

25/11/17 – 14:54

I wasn’t referring to business sense but more the general penury of running a widespread operation with no money.
Also common to both is the attempt to continue to operate when any sensible person would have thrown in the towel considerably earlier.

Malcolm Hirst

04/07/20 – 07:29

As a child in the early 1950’s use to catch a Hants and Sussex Coach at it’s Portsmouth depot located at Cosham on Saturdays and Sundays for a visit to the Trelords Hospital at Alton. I remember one trip where the bus broke down at Fareham and the Driver was threatened by the passengers that if he didn’t carry on they would drive the coach. There fleet was not in very good condition. I believe Glider Coaches of Bishops Waltham had a connection to Hant’s and Sussex.

Keith Ray


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



Newcastle Corporation – AEC Regent III – NVK 341 – 341

NVK 341_lr                Copyright Ronnie Hoye

Newcastle Corporation
AEC Regent III 9612A
Northern Coachbuilders H30/26R

Not a very good picture I’m afraid. I got my PSV licence in 1967 with Tynemouth & Wakefields (Northern General). By the time of the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977 I was with Armstrong Galley, the coaching division of Tyne & Wear PTE. The PTE decided to commemorate the Jubilee by using two buses that were in service at the time of the Coronation in 1953. This 1950 Northern Coachbuilders bodied AEC was one of them, the other was a 1948 Leyland Titan. The Leyland was in its original livery of blue and cream, and I think it was part of the last batch to be delivered before the colour’s were changed to livery seen here in the picture. The route ran between Newcastle City Centre and Gosforth, however, by 1977 the PTE had a shortage of drivers with an any type licence, so on occasion drivers from the coaching division were drafted in to fill in gaps. I don’t know who the vehicles belonged to at the time, but they’re still around and belong to a member or members of the North East Bus Preservation Trust Ltd.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

17/10/11 – 07:34

Thx, Ronnie, for the nice photo. The body is very nicely proportioned, although it does give the air of being a lowbridge vehicle for some reason.
Newcastle corporation’s livery was very attractive. I refreshed my memory only a couple of weeks ago when I visited the East Anglia Museum and 501 (LTN 501), on loan from Beamish, was doing the rounds.

Chris Hebbron

17/10/11 – 07:35

The post war NCB bodies were, like many others, notoriously badly built (structurally) and this was partly the reason for their folding up in 1950/51. At the last gasp, someone from ECW came along to try and resurrect the fortunes – hence the looks of these, NCB’s last, bodies. Alas to no avail.
After NCB closed, Roe bought machinery and timber from the receivers. They did not buy the company itself which disappeared.

David Oldfield

13/10/15 – 06:41

Dave Oldfield’s a little unfair. NCB had problems with green timber but so did Massey to a Much larger extent and even (whisper it) ECW.
It wasn’t because of failures with the product that NCB’s coachworks, machinery and stock in trade was sold, it was to pay death duties on the estate of the founder Sam Smith, the Smith family had to let go of one of their interests and rightly saw the coachwork boom coming to an end.

Stephen Allcroft

01/03/20 – 06:32

I was looking at the last bus from the Newcastle Transport and which was for Gosforth Park and would like to get the information of the route number which the buses was during those period of the 1970s and this help will be welcomed to get this route destinations onto my models required for the layout system.

Christopher Norris

02/03/20 – 06:49

Christopher, the commemorative route numer this bus and LVK 123 were used on in 1977 was Route number 44

Ronnie Hoye

03/03/20 – 06:31

Christopher, I’ll give you the full route inbound from Gosforth Park, as its easier to explain.
South from Gosforth Park into Newcastle City Centre, was a straight run down The Great North Road, which until the Tyne Tunnel opened in the late 60’s was still the A1.
As I said, it was a straight run, but it went through several name changes.
For about the first three miles, it was the Gt North Road, then for about two miles, it became Gosforth High Street, then back to the Great North Road.
On entering the City, it first became Barras Bridge, then Northumberland Street, and finally Pilgrim Street.
At this point the 44 turned right, into Market Street, which lead into Grainger Street.
At the bottom of Grainger Street, it turned right into Neville Street, where it stopped outside the Central Station, it would then turn right into Bewick Street, which was the terminus.
From there, it would turn right in to Clayton Street, then right again into Westgate Road, then left into Grainger Street, and then the reverse of the inbound route.

Ronnie Hoye


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

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