Old Bus Photos

Southern National – Leyland Lion LT1 – VE 2143 – 3439

Southern National - Leyland Lion LT1 - VE 2143 - 3439

Southern National
1929
Leyland Lion LT1
Beadle B35R

Before the First World War, the public transport needs in Cambridge were met by the horse drawn Cambridge Street Tramways Company and some small, often short lived, independent motor bus operators, most notably the Cambridge Motor Omnibus Company. In 1907 the assets of the struggling Cambridge Motor Omnibus Company were bought by James Berry Walford who hailed from Egham in Surrey. He relaunched the business in 1908 as the Ortona Motor Company which progressively became the major operator in the Cambridge area, finally seeing off the tramways company in February 1914. In 1913 The BET/BAT group took a initial 50% shareholding in Ortona, to which railway interests were later incorporated, and in 1919 Thomas Tilling set up the neighbouring Eastern Counties Omnibus Company in Ipswich which then became a Tilling/BAT company in 1928. In 1929, T/BAT assumed control of United Automobile Services and took steps to rationalise the somewhat sprawling United territory that covered large parts of Northumbria, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and East Anglia. The Lincolnshire sector became the Lincolnshire Road Car Company, and the East Anglian part was transferred to an expanded Eastern Counties Road Car Company which subsumed the Ortona business on 14 July 1931. The Ortona vehicle livery changed from green to red, and 94 vehicles, 73 of them less than five years old, all with pneumatic tyres, were transferred to the new business. By the 1920s Ortona’s favoured choice of manufacturer had become Leyland, with Titan TD1 double deckers ultimately predominating. Single deck deliveries were more varied, but three Leyland Lion LT1 saloons with Dodson B32F bodies, VE 2142/3/4 arrived with Ortona in November/December 1929. A picture of VE 2144 in original form may be found in Paul Carter’s book, Cambridge 1, to which much of this detail must be credited. These ran with ECOC until 1945, and it is thought that they acquired Gardner engines during that period. In the picture the two inspection holes in the bonnet suggest that a 5LW lay beneath it, probably fitted by ECOC. VE 2143 was sold to Southern National who fitted it with a new Beadle B35R body and a CovRad radiator in 1947 and gave it fleet number 3439. On disposal by Southern National it was acquired by G J Mutton, a showman of Coalpit Heath, South Gloucestershire. This bus was still in use with a showman when photographed in 1961 on Mitcham Common. Behind the Lion may be seen another former Western/Southern National bus, YD 4707, an AEC Regent of the early 1930s rebodied by Beadle around 1943/4, with its upper deck trepanned for fairground duties. Does any OBP expert have more details of this bus please?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/04/22 – 08:13

Just out of interest, between 1925 and 1929 Ortona placed a total of 24 BMMO SOS chassis.
These comprised of 7 “S” types in 1925/6, 7 “Q” types in 1927 and 5 each of the “M” and “ODD” types in 1929.

Eric Bawden


 

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Southern National – Bristol LS – OTT 98 – 1299

Southern National - Bristol LS - OTT 98 - 1299

Southern National Omnibus Company
1953
Bristol LS6G
ECW C41F

Seen heading along York Place, Harrogate at the end of a Trans-Pennine run is Southern National 1299 (OTT 98), a 1953 Bristol LS6G with ECW C41F coachwork. Resplendent in iconic Royal Blue livery, this coach was part of the last batch to be built with the traditional Royal Blue roof-mounted luggage rack, which was accessed by a set of foldaway steps at the rear of the vehicle. It is a fine example of the underfloor-engined Royal Blue fleet operational in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and it is good to see 1299 wearing its original ‘dark roof’ version of the livery once again. (In 1958, with the arrival of the MW coaches, the livery was altered to a half blue/half cream layout, with dark blue up to waist rail level, and cream above). The 1953 batch of coaches for operation on Royal Blue services were also the last to display ‘Royal Blue Coach Service’ illuminated panels above the side windows. Subsequent deliveries of LS and MW coaches sported the more usual curved roof glasses in the cant rail panels instead.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Brendan Smith


12/01/14 – 07:47

Despite the registration there was nothing OTT about this. Rather understated luxury and quality with the 6LW offering a long legged, relaxed, lope in the pre motorway era.

David Oldfield


12/01/14 – 11:12

Thanks for posting, Brendan. I have read in different places of the shape caused by the presence of the rooftop luggage rack as being "Camel Back". Rather flattering to a camel, perhaps!

Pete Davies


12/01/14 – 13:04

There was always something special about Royal Blue coaches and these last-gasp versions of the traditional style are no exception. One point, were the roof racks ever used?

Chris Hebbron


13/01/14 – 08:44

OTT 43

I thought you might like to add this picture to the current OTT 98 thread as it shows a similar preserved vehicle but in the cream roof colours.

Ken Jones


13/01/14 – 08:44

The roof luggage carriers were used – I have a copy of a picture (not my copyright though!) of the driver loading luggage on LS car 1292 – in the ‘cream roof’ era, so post 1958.
The reason for the livery change was not ‘cosmetic’ but a practical one – I will look out the exact details in next day or two !

Peter Delaney


13/01/14 – 09:46

I’m wondering whether this is 1297, OTT 96. Both 1297 and 1299 are preserved but 1297 went to the Netherlands at some stage.

Geoff Kerr


OTT 98_2

Close up of registration and fleet number of posted shot.


13/01/14 – 11:25

OTT 98_3

I thought this photo may be of interest. It is OTT 98 after sale to the dealer W. North, Sherburn-in-Elmet, seen at their premises during the Summer of 1970.
It was quite a shock to see this here, as I had shortly before been on holiday in North Devon and seen these LS’s still working hard for a living. It was still in splendid condition here and I remember hoping that it would find a suitable. sympathetic new owner. At the time it seemed far too modern to be considered for preservation. Fortunately OTT 96 is still with us.

John Stringer


13/01/14 – 13:45

Thanks – it does look a bit like 96 though!

Geoff Kerr


I must admit I did have to go back to the original shot to be sure.


13/01/14 – 15:17

Both 1297 (OTT 96) and 1299 (OTT 98) are still with us. The former is in The Netherlands as part of the Leek collection at Monickendam, and OTT 98 is now part of the West Country Historic Omnibus and Transport Trust collection, having had a complete engine rebuild in 2007 and was hand painted back into original 1953 livery in 2009. I am delighted to be 1299’s current custodian and sponsor.
I look forward to reading Peter’s explanation as to the reasons for the change in roof colour in 1957.
Incidentally all this 1953 batch, 1293-9 and 2200-2, were down-seated to C39F following mid-life refurbishment at ECW Lowestoft, in 1961, and 1299 remains so.

John Grigg


13/01/14 – 16:42

Just a reminder you can see a picture of OTT 98 and one of OTT 43 from 2012 on this site at the Royal Blue Run gallery.

Ken Jones


13/01/14 – 17:40

OTT 98_4

I attach a photo of 1299 taken in the early 70’s which was taken on Madeira Drive Brighton following a HCVC London-Brighton run. This shows it with a blue roof as it is now preserved so it seems that the roof has changed colour a number of times over the years, I agree that the blue roof looks better but this is purely a personal preference I know.

Diesel Dave


14/01/14 – 08:22

The ‘incident’ which led to the change in colour of the roof of Royal Blue cars was as below:-
On August 2nd 1957, the 2.35 pm summer only service from Plymouth to Bournemouth, was a Bristol L coach – probably car 1239 – being driven John Whitlock when its roof was grazed by a plane landing at Exeter Airport. The undercarriage hit the top of the coach, breaking both skylights. He drove to the control tower, with the somewhat shaken passengers on board, and reported the incident. The pilot apparently had not seen a coach, and following his reporting the incident, there was an official enquiry, which John was asked to attend.
The incident was reported in the local Exeter newspaper, the ‘Express and Echo’, on 3rd August 1957, under the heading "Bus roof ‘skimmed’ by plane" and "Observers ‘saw nothing unusual’". From the newspaper account we learn that the coach was going along the Exeter – Honiton road, when the roof was "’skimmed’ by a twin engined Mosquito going in to land at Exeter Airport. The plane landed without a mark on it and the coach had a slight dent in the roof. The bus driver felt a slight bump. As there were no other cars on the road at the time he assumed it must have something to do with a plane that had passed low over him. Wing Cmdr. R J B Pearse, manager of the airport, said that a slight dent was found in the roof of the bus, but when an inspection was made of the Mosquito there was not a mark to be found, either on the tyres or the paintwork. The pilot said he had felt nothing at all. ‘We can only assume that the plane did touch the bus’ said Wing Cmdr Pearse. The pilot’s name was withheld".
The subsequent enquiry resulted in an accident report card being filed with the RAF, and that adds further information. The aircraft was a Mosquito Mk 35, number TA724, of the 3/4 CAACU, part of 61 Group, Home Command. The accident occurred at 16.55 on 2nd August 1957, at the end of a 2 hour 10 minute flight out and back from Exeter. This particular flight had been for Army firing practice. The pilot, 35 year old Flt Lt K Munson, was experienced, with 195 flying hours on Mosquitos, and 1567 flying hours overall. The lighting conditions were described as ‘dull’. At the end of the exercise, the pilot had joined the circuit and landed, but he was totally "unaware that his aircraft had struck the single decker bus (sic) travelling on the A30 road which runs adjacent to the airport". The report also records that "damage was caused to the roof of the bus. No damage was sustained to the aircraft."
It was considered that the organisation ‘at station level’ was at fault, as they knew of the danger of a collision between aircraft and vehicles, but had "made inadequate efforts to have remedial action taken." The A30 passed across the approach to runway 13, at a distance of 50 yards. There were no traffic signals or warning notices on the road, and there was a tall hedge bounding the road which "would effectively prevent the pilot seeing the bus and vice versa". No blame was attached to the pilot (who was making a low approach in order to touch down early on a short runway) or the driver.
As a result, 150 yards of the runway 13/31 were ‘sterilized’, and a local flying order issued to warn pilots of the dangers likely to be met on the approach to runway 13, whilst the roof of Royal Blue coaches was changed from dark blue to cream, to make them more conspicuous from the air.

Peter Delaney


14/01/14 – 11:48

I’ve just checked my original his-res image, and it definitely is OTT 98, confirmed by my notes taken at the time I wasn’t aware that it was also preserved – that’s nice to know.

John Stringer


14/01/14 – 12:27

OTT 98_5

The give away in the photo that it can only be OTT 98 is that the words "Dorset Transport Circle" are shown in the "via" part of the destination display. DTC owned this coach for well over 30 years and rallied it extensively for most of that time before generously donating it to WHOTT in 2006.

John Grigg


 

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Southern National – Dennis Ace – YD 9533 – 3650

 Southern National – Dennis Ace – YD 9533 – 3650
Copyright Roger Cox

Southern National
1934
Dennis Ace
Dennis B20F

Few of us realise just how major the task of bus preservation can be in terms of effort and expense. Back in the late 1960s I was a member of a group that bought 1934 ex Southern National Dennis Ace YD 9533 with Dennis B20F body, which had by then suffered the indignity of serving as a mobile fish and chip shop. The work and costs became increasingly prohibitive, even for this small vehicle, and, as Brian Lunn with his South Yorkshire Titan also discovered, those prepared to roll up their sleeves for hard graft became conspicuous by their absence. Ultimately, we sold YD 9533 to another owner, and, happily, this delightful little vehicle is now a regular on the rally scene in superbly restored condition. Here it is, as it was when bought in 1969, on the forecourt of Reigate LT (CB&C) garage, alongside face lifted Green Line RF 61, LYF 412.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


22/06/12 – 07:06

Roger, did you take this bus on the HCVC London Brighton run about 1970? I used to go every year with Geoff Lumb and his 1938 Llandudno Guy Wolf JC5313 and one year we were parked next to a Dennis Ace. All I can remember is that I think it was painted all over white and had large pieces of plastic sticky tape over a rust hole on the rear offside corner.
Or am I thinking of something else? It comes to my mind, as I type this posting, that perhaps it was a forward control half cab version of the Ace. (Mace perhaps)?
If this isn’t going too far off topic (grin), can anybody confirm what is a fading file in my "memory banks"?

Eric Bawden


22/06/12 – 07:07

Perhaps a little more refined and not so open to the elements, but this Dennis seems to have a bit of a French influence about it, i.e. the driver is behind the engine but the wheels are set back from the front, not exactly the norm for UK vehicles

Ronnie Hoye


22/06/12 – 11:19

I think the idea was to shorten the wheelbase as much as possible to make them more manoeuvrable in tight country lanes. The Ace was as a result absolutely ideal for these situations.
The set back front axle on commercial vehicles was quite the fashion in Britain for a while in the 1930’s, even heavyweights like AEC, Leyland and Albion joining in. Often almost the entire bonnet was ahead of the front axle, protruding like a long snout and looking really odd. Then the reason was to provide better engine accessibility and removal/installation, but it was short lived, though Dennis persisted with the idea well into the postwar period on the Pax model (of which I seem to recall Jersey Motor Transport had a few as buses). But that’s another topic really.

John Stringer


22/06/12 – 11:20

I wasn’t at the event, but this sounds like the Dennis Mace that returned to the UK for preservation after service with Joe’s Bus Service on Jersey. Memory is failing me here, and I can’t find a published source, but I think that it was a former ENOC machine and ended up being scrapped after the restoration task proved to be too much for amateur enthusiasts to handle. Another loss of a significant asset while hundreds of thousands of pounds are lavished on scores of identical London Transport types. Even for the pleasanter LT types such as the RT and the GS (yes, I hate Routemasters!) their ridiculous over-representation in the ranks of preserved vehicles is little short of a self-indulgent disgrace. Are there any Maces left??

Neville Mercer


22/06/12 – 15:08

That does make sense, John, on the subject of manoeuvrability on narrow roads, some years ago I seem to remember reading an article somewhere about some second hand buses being sold to an operator on the Channel Islands, but before he could use them they had to be split lengthways and made narrower, can anyone confirm if that’s right, or is my memory playing tricks?

Ronnie Hoye


22/06/12 – 15:08

There is a photo of a preserved Southern National Mace BTA 59, taken in 2007, at this site: //www.bus-and-coach-photos.com

John Stringer


23/06/12 – 05:41

Ronnie, I seem to remember reading the same report, but I can’t quote chapter and verse on it.

YD 9533 appears in the new PSV Circle listing of preserved buses.

Pete Davies


23/06/12 – 05:44

Eric, whilst the Ace was in our care, it was never repainted, so I think that Neville has hit upon the answer. Dennis specialised to some degree in small buses for one person operation (formerly known as OMO) during the twenties and thirties, introducing a bewildering array of models – G, GL, Dart, Ace, Mace, Pike, Arrow Minor, and (ultimately) Falcon, which superseded all the earlier designs and re-emerged post war. John is right about the reason for the set back front axle on the Ace/Mace, but this feature did not appear on the other small Dennis buses, though it did on the post war Pax goods model, a few of which were bodied as buses. Post war the maximum capacity for an OMO vehicle was raised from 20 to 26 seats, but, with the eventual legalisation of OMO operation on standard sized single deckers, the market for small buses withered away, and with it the Falcon. The standard power train for the "Flying Pig" Ace was the 3.77 litre side valve petrol engine coupled with a four speed gearbox, which, in usual Dennis style for the period, worked upwards from right to left. To further increase the fun, the Ace had a centre accelerator. A very few Aces were fitted with the early Perkins "Wolf" diesel, and it was also offered with a Dorman diesel option. I am glad that I played a small part in saving this little gem for posterity. Today it is immaculate:-

Roger Cox


23/06/12 – 05:45

I think that the vehicles Ronnie Hoye refers to were a number of Bristol LH’s which came from Western National or associated fleets. As they started out as 8ft wide they were indeed split down the centre and reduced to 7ft 6in width, I think in fact they went to Guernsey.

Diesel Dave

PS. The LH’s I commented about were in fact fitted with Plaxton Elite coach bodies.


23/06/12 – 05:47

Ronnie, I too seem to have a hint of this long ago, and Guernsey springs to mind – or what’s left of the old mind !!

Chris Youhill


23/06/12 – 05:48

Following on from Neville’s question, Eric B’s memories and John S’s link, I seem to recall that this Mace was rescued from its life as a caravan, painted white. I believe it’s the only survivor. From some front angles, the Mace looked decidedly odd, with the radiator seemingly off-centre, which I’m sure it wasn’t. However, I do recall two wartime RAF Dennis military lorries, mouldering with snow ploughs on their fronts, having their metal grill radiator covers definitely off-centre. There was also Dennis military lorry, with a snout like the post-war Falcon, seen here: //miliblog.co.uk/?cat=441

Chris Hebbron


23/06/12 – 05:50

BTA 59_lr

This photograph shows BTA 59 as it looked about 1970 so you can see if it rings any bells. It’s fair to say it looks a lot better now, although I haven’t seen it in the flesh!
If I can dig out my early rally programmes I’ll see if I can confirm whether it was likely to be this or another one.

David Beilby


23/06/12 – 10:17

David B, your photo of BTA 59 almost certainly confirms in my memory that this was the one we were parked next to in Brighton around 1970

Eric Bawden


23/06/12 – 14:26

Whilst I agree with Neville that there seems to be a disproportioned number of RM’s and RML’s in preservation, that’s hardly surprising ‘with the possible exception of some Bristol/ECW’s’ that particular chassis/body combination was probably built in far greater numbers than any other half cab, it should also be remembered that by the time the Routemaster was finally withdrawn from service half cabs of any type had become a distant memory in most area’s, consequently you have a whole generation of youngsters living outside London who’ve never been close to a half cab, much less ridden on one. We can all think of examples of things that were once produced in vast numbers that we just took for granted and sadly no longer exist, that’s why places such as Beamish in this area, Chric, Sandtoft, Bealieu and many others too numerous to mention, should all be looked upon as educational assets rather than curiosities. I apologise if that seemed to be a bit like a sermon rather than a comment.

Ronnie Hoye


23/06/12 – 21:14

Yes, well Ronnie, I’m glad you made that point. I’m a fan of Neville but I’m also a big fan of the RM – having driven many and regularly still driving a preserved RML. I do have to agree with Neville, in one sense. I am actually more of a coach fan and lament the fact the are not half so many preserved coaches as buses. I am, however, painfully aware why. Until recently, composite construction was the norm and many have/had frames that had rotted away. Because of the minority interest, not so many people are/were willing to put in the painstaking work that has gone into so many superb bus restorations. I always felt, as a kid, that the standard of build and finish of LT buses was above the norm – cf 1966 RM/RMLs and Sheffield Park Royal bodies could have come from totally different origins, so different was the finish. Add to that, as Ronnie says, the size of the gene pool and it is quite understandable, if regrettable, that there are so many LT vehicles in preservation.

David Oldfield


23/06/12 – 21:16

Chris H, the Dennis Lancet II and III, and the utility Max lorry, all had the radiator slightly offset to the nearside. The slightly eccentric appearance of the forward control Ace, and the slightly heavier Mace that superseded it, is an optical trick that results from the effect of the standard normal control radiator that marries up rather incongruously with the front dash panel. The forward control Falcon has a similar odd appearance.
Stepping (cautiously) off subject on the question of preserved London buses, Ronnie has hit upon a matter that continues to influence certain opinions today. Many times I have come across the view that the Routemaster was "the best bus ever built". In part, this (almost exclusively Metropolitan) opinion derives from the fact that, as Ronnie points out, the RM was for many years the sole representative of the half cab double decker, and was thus, in the eyes of many, a unique type of vehicle. Those holding this view have no knowledge of Titans, Regents, Arabs, Lodekkas et al. To my mind, the RM was simply a competent half cab that was designed to be dismantled like Meccano to suit the Aldenham overhaul system. The London Routemasters were rebuilt regularly to achieve their long service lives. The Northern General RMFs, which were notably purchased to match the passenger acceptance standards of the United Lodekkas, and which did not receive the expensive cosseting from Aldenham, achieved a service life of some 15 years, consistent with other types of half cabs.

Roger Cox


24/06/12 – 05:20

I don’t begrudge the preservation of any number of the RM family. Obviously it was the last of the half-cab breed and was therefore eminently worthy of all the preservation efforts that have taken place. I only regret that we didn’t all wake up a bit earlier and preserve some other stuff too – vehicles that were perhaps more nationally representative, rather than almost exclusively London. Having said that, I remain amazed and delighted at the number and variety of buses that do survive.

Stephen Ford


24/06/12 – 11:01

My real concern – and one that makes me a bit unenthusiastic and despondent about the bus preservation movement generally nowadays – is who is going to keep on preserving them all in future years?
It seems to me that with only a few exceptions, Bus Enthusiasts are a disappearing breed. It was a generation thing, most that I have ever known were born between the 1930’s and the 1950’s and those who are still around are, let’s face it, getting on a bit. We have often beeg seen by others as maybe a bit oddball, but we were tolerated. Later generations increasingly see the transport enthusiast – whether bus, train or plane – as ‘sad’, definitely having something wrong with them and probably in need of treatment. Just try pointing a camera at a bus nowadays in any public place and note the looks and hear the rude comments I used to feel a great sense of relief when I read in ‘Buses’ or the PSV Circle newsheets that a bus had been secured for preservation. One somehow imagined naively that its future was automatically assured for ever more.
Lots of vehicles have had many years of hard work and tremendous expense lavished on them, but will there be similar dedicated people in the future to keep up to them? People who are too young to remember them running.
The thing about ‘our’ generation of enthusiast was I believe that although they obviously revered the buses of their youth first and foremost, they had a broad interest in the periods before and after also.
The younger enthusiasts that do exist tend, as with most other aspects of life, only to be interested in things that they can ‘relate’ to, and shun everything else.
(A bit of a rant starting now – another generation thing – I’d better stop !)

John Stringer


25/06/12 – 07:43

Not a rant: a very sound point, well made.
Only this afternoon, I went to the Stroud RE Meet and Running Day and pondered the average age of the men (and some wives) who populated the event, not to mention the rides. And like those who keep old rail locos/aircraft going, their ‘intimate’ skills with their charges are dying off, as they do. Most of the children were children/grandchildren up to about twelve.
And, unlike cars and the like, the ‘charges’ are big beasts not easily accommodated under cover and ever subject to constantly encroaching ‘elf’ & safety demands. And even museums are having problems, like the RAF one and other military ones, where the younger generation don’t have that connexion with WWI or WWII and have not served in the Forces as National Service and have an affinity. True, road transport museums/meets are working ones, which keeps more of an interest going with youngsters, but will not make them give of their time, the vital ingredient.

Chris Hebbron


25/06/12 – 07:43

John. Rant? Generation thing? Yes of course, but sadly you make very pertinent points.

David Oldfield


25/06/12 – 07:44

John, I can relate to everything you say, I’m in complete agreement. It’s a bit like many of the bus pioneers who were young at the time of the 1930 Transport Act, when their businesses became firmly established. When the 1970’s arrived, many of them simply wanted to retire and many didn’t have anyone to pass the business on to. The majority of vehicles in preservation today are owned by and restored by people who remember them, travelled on them, drove them, but who will they be passed on to? As you say, the younger enthusiasts will have no knowledge, memories or experience of such vehicles so will they be able to relate to them at all.
When I visit rallies now, it’s wonderful to be able to travel on vehicles I remember as a lad, but will future generations have the same enthusiasm for something which will mean nothing to them. It will be a sad day when no one appreciates anymore, that we used to make lovely buses in Britain!
Oh dear, I didn’t set out to spread gloom and despondency!

Chris Barker


25/06/12 – 17:02

Gentlemen..you have all said exactly what I have feared in recent times. Young people will never relate to "old things" except via a computer screen.
Here in Bristol we have the recently opened "M Shed" which is an original dockside warehouse that has housed museum exhibits, mainly transport based for many years. It was old, dusty, atmospheric and filled with the aroma of the dockside steam railway which still runs, old oil and the originality of the building and it’s long past. Then came the decision to "restore it" using Lottery money and after a staggering £27 million pounds was splurged it opened with much noise and showmanship. However, it is now a big set of cardboard display cards, a few cleaned exhibits and a host of LCD information screens. It looks like something constructed by infant school teachers and set up in a shopping Mall. Filled with holidaying, screaming children and "yummy mummy’s" because entrance is free, the place is nothing like it was as regards history just a theme park…and in the middle is a rather tired Bristol Lodekka that was still running but now ensconced in a cardboard display jungle. It made me heart sink to hear someone telling a group of barely interested children.."It’s an old bus that really old people used to ride on..i’ts like a London bus but green like you see in pictures"..they then moved on.
I do hope that there will be better places and many transport museum are wonderful but the message of what the exhibits meant, how and where they were made, who used them, what they are like to ride on and why they feel different must be passed on in some way. Sadly with modern Health & Safety and litigation fears, few children have ever picked up a hammer, nails, spanner, painted anything or been involved in manual work. We old grey hairs grew up in a different world and now tap these keys as a new skill but 10 year old Johnny will only seek a museum full of I-pods in 2060 and a surviving Lodekka will be of very little interest as it sits dust covered and seized.
I don’t have any family but if you do..spread the word to them AND to their friends..please.

Richard Leaman


26/06/12 – 06:33

About four years ago, I took my grandson to the Natural History Museum in West Ken., to see dinosaurs, which was quite good, mainly through the moving, realistic, models. After, I suggested we went to the adjacent Science Museum, where I’d gone as a child – all sorts of things for boys and model locomotives and other things in glass cases with handles you could turn to see how they worked. About ten years ago, it was still quite good with an excellent ‘steam’ section, both reciprocating and turbine engines doing their stuff, amongst other things. At this last visit, it was as Richard said, all trendy stuff, dark lighting and shallow content. The car section comprised five cars on shelves above each other, that gave you neck strain to survey. Most kids just flitted and my g’son was very disappointed, after my bigging it up! All very sad. I’m waiting for the British Museum to update, with floating fossils and artefacts, amid flashing lasers and fireworks! That’ll grab their attention and educate them!

Chris Hebbron


29/06/12 – 11:23

I have an undated press cutting showing YD 9533 in Southern National livery at the Bristol Bus Rally. Standing with it is Mr Bernard Davies the Assistant Commercial Manager of LCBS who is described as a part owner. Does this add to the history of the vehicle?

Paragon


29/06/12 – 17:10

All may not be lost my 24 year old daughter is a keen observer of the transport scene often texting me with the latest nonsense by our local operator. She also enjoys riding on old vehicles especially the Crich trams indeed she even follows the tramway blog! She also is happy to photograph interesting vehicles for me on her phone.

Chris Hough


30/06/12 – 05:25

In response to Paragon, Bernard Davis (no"e") was one of the group, of which I was another, that saved the Ace in the state as shown. He and I were the only two that put any real work into restoration before it was sold on.

Roger Cox


24/09/12 – 17:33

Pleased to say that there is another ‘Ace’ alive, if not well at present. Ex ECOC/Bickers Ace CAH 923/ECW B20F is in the Ipswich Transport Museum – and started the collection in 1965. Re-restoration has recently commenced with a view to getting the bus on the road for 2015 – its 50th year in preservation…….. Some parts have gone missing over the years and any info on bits and pieces welcome.

Eric Mouser


25/09/12 – 07:07

What Eric Mouser omitted to say in his comment was that the pioneering preservationist who acquired CAH 923 from Bickers of Coddenham in 1965 was a Mr. E. Mouser. I’m sure we all look forward to seeing it on the road in 2015 whether in Bickers green or Eastern Counties red.

Nigel Turrner


25/05/14 – 11:08

The sale and cannibilisation of these buses didn’t finish with their journey to the ECOC graveyard of Ben Jordan, Coltishall.
A. C. Bickers of Coddenham, Suffolk bought 5 of the remnants and the complete wooden framework of what would have been D20, DVF 520, subsequently completed as a service lorry.
Alfred Bickers then purchased withdrawn Dennis Ace dustcarts from Ipswich Borough Council and used the mechanicals to rebuild 4 of the Aces as petrol engined 20 strs.
The later DVF XXX registered buses were about a foot longer, and were 22 strs.
I first met G. C. Bickers, son of Alfred, in 1965 and bought CAH 923. The body was in poor condition, so I also acquired the body of DVF 519, which had been bought, but never used by Bickers. The body was stripped off D3 and the body of D19 re-fitted – which is when we found out the difference in body lengths!
Initially the restoration went well, but then the Ipswich Transport Preservation Group had been formed, and a 1939 Leyland Cub Fire Engine, a 1914 R. S. & J battery electric truck, an Ipswich tramcar body to name but a few came onto the scene.
The collection moved around various sites before becoming the Ipswich Transport Museum and many other projects took priority over the Ace. The moves and changes of personnel over the years has taken its toll on the Ace and a number of vital parts have been lost.
However the 50th anniversary of the Ace in preservation is rapidly approaching and work to return the Ace to the road has begun in earnest.
It will be something of a mongrel – long body, short chassis with petrol engine – but it will be painted in ECOC livery so that we can demonstrate our collection of ‘tin bibles’ PSV Circle records show pre-war livery as ‘Foochow Red and off white’ as opposed to postwar Tilling red and cream. Any info or colour pictures welcome!

Eric Mouser


27/05/14 – 06:39

In the 1960’s there was a well known motor cycle scrambler from East Anglia called Dave Bickers. Was he connected with Bickers of Coddenham?

Paragon.


28/05/14 – 07:57

Yes, Dave Bickers is a member of the eponymous Coddenham family. Dave’s exploits took place at a time when we still had a motorcycle industry, when names like Dot and Greeves were ascendant in the competitive world of motocross/scrambles. As one time Scott and Velocette owner, I find the present day offerings of the almost wholly foreign motorbike industry as mind numbingly tedious as ‘modern’ buses.

Roger Cox


28/05/14 – 07:58

Paragon. You must be as old as me! My dad took me to motorcycle scrambles in the 1960s where Dave Bickers was a leading rider. He was and is David G. Bickers of Coddenham, son of Geoffrey C. Bickers of Coddenham and grandson of Alfred C. Bickers of Coddenham.

Nigel Turner


28/05/14 – 15:59

Roger and Nigel-thanks for your replies.Yes, I am three score years and ten and more!
Roger-I have owned a number of Velos over the years and still have a water cooled LE on which I purr round the Wiltshire lanes when the sun shines. When much younger I considered buying a Scott but then sanity prevailed (no offence).
I am not totally against modern buses.There are some interesting developments with people like GKN and BAE endeavouring to make more efficient transmission systems.Like you modern motorcycles leave me cold.

Paragon


29/05/14 – 07:49

Among a clutch of motorbikes I owned, when young, was a post-war Velo KSS which was rather fast! It served me well on my longest ever run, from Portsmouth to Morpeth!
I agree that, like so many things, character is missing so much from modern things. However, I found that girls were more attracted to cars than motorbikes and cars were more romantic!

Chris Hebbron


29/05/14 – 09:35

Chris, I had a KSS engine for some years, but never found a frame etc for it. The KSS and KTT were overhead cam machines which, as you say, were fast for the times, but notoriously difficult to keep in tune. Paragon, I envy you. The LE was a superbly engineered sophisticated machine, incredibly quiet and stable, with very good weather protection. The master at my last primary school had one, and sometimes used to run me home on the pillion seat. The Police took a large number, the "Noddy" bikes of fond memory, but Velocette never really recovered the development costs. Having burnt their fingers a bit with that, they then went on to pour funds into the Viceroy scooter, again, well in advance of anything else, but too late and too big for the market. They never got their money back. The story is a bit like Guy with the Wulfrunian, except that the Velocette machines were utterly reliable. When the Goodman family (originally Gutgemann from Germany) decided to stop making motorbikes in the early ’70s, they paid off all their creditors in full. On Chris’s final point, their was once a bus photographer who always endeavoured to include a member of the fair sex in his bus pictures, but his name now escapes me (like at lot else these days!).

Roger Cox


29/05/14 – 11:33

Roger, are you thinking of Robert Jowitt?

Eric Bawden


29/05/14 – 17:45

That’s him, Eric. He must have had rather more charisma than I ever did to entice those attractive "extras" into his bus pictures.

Roger Cox


05/07/14 – 07:17

I am using this thread as a flimsy excuse to return to a more recent one, the use of megabuses around our streets when bus use is meant to be declining- but yet they carry 50 per cent more passengers than the old 55 seaters which fitted better into the urban scene.
Arriva Yorkshire (aka Deutsche Bahn) have just launched what I think are some Dennis Darts with obviously short wheelbases for presumably town use- in a new livery. One is reminded, you could say, of the principle behind Ace and Mace? It all comes around…

Joe


08/07/14 – 14:54

Further to earlier comments, I sadly have to report that Dave Bickers of Coddenham passed away on Sunday July 6th 2014 aged 76. His passing was covered in a full page spread in the East Anglian Daily Times and I believe that it also made the local television news.

Nigel Turner


09/07/14 – 07:50

A tribute to Dave Bickers may be found here:-
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk

Roger Cox


YD 9533_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


24/07/14 – 06:05

The Dennis Mace refered to above appears to have been preserved. it is listed by the Dennis Society with a photo and another photo link on Google shows it at a show in 2007.

John Lomas


 

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