Old Bus Photos

Manchester Corporation – Leyland PDR1/1 – HVM 914F – 1014

Manchester Corporation - Leyland PDR1/1 - HVM 914F - 1014

Manchester Corporation
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Park Royal H45/28D

One of the famous Mancunians which revolutionised the double deck bus in the late 60s is seen turning into Portland Street in May 1968 when just a couple of months old. The stunning livery brightened up Manchester – sad that they soon succumbed to SELNEC orange and white.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

25/05/20 – 07:24

1014 was one of the vehicles delivered in the cream and red livery based on the scheme previously used on the Panther single deckers. It was displayed in Piccadilly along with 1001 which was in the white version of the livery and the public were asked to comment. The result was a majority in favour of white so 1014 and, I think, 1017 went back to the spray booth.

Phil Blinkhorn

26/05/20 – 06:54

Phil, you are too modest. Part Four of your expansive article, Manchester Buses – A Retrospective, gives the comprehensive story behind the Mancunian double deck design:- Manchester Buses a Retrospective – Article

HVM 903F

Here is another picture, showing the nearside, of one of the early Atlanteans, No. 1003 HVM 903F, taken in June 1970. In 1968 Ralph Bennet moved on to London Transport, later becoming first Deputy and then Chairman. There he came up against the exhibitionist and rabid Thatcherite leader of the GLC, Horace Cutler, who engineered his early removal from office in 1980 on the politically motivated, utterly preposterous grounds that he lacked the necessary managerial expertise. Cutler’s transport legacy of cost cutting, asset stripping and under investment is still felt in London to this day.

Roger Cox

26/05/20 – 06:55

I have a soft spot for these first Atlantean Mancunians. I travelled the 19 route regularly on my journeys from Work, when I was in digs at Debdale Park while working in Denton. Hyde Road also used these on the 169/170 services, to which there is a clue in the destination number box. The 1 has been left, the 6 or 7 wound to 9 and the last last digit the 9 or 0 wound off. Keen drivers would correctly have just used the second and third tracks only, far neater in my opinion. If I could not sit at the front upstairs my second choice was the rear offside seat over the engine to listen to it. The 19 was very convenient for me as the short walk from Victoria Station to Greengate would get me on a 12/31/38 to visit my parents at Little Hulton. To add to Phil’s comments about the colours, perhaps we can add that it was 1044 that later on, suffered a most catastrophic fire. Question to Phil, there was also the first demonstration of a Mancunian in Piccadilly, but that was to demonstrate it against two other operators new buses, neither came near to it.

Mike Norrios

26/05/20 – 06:55

Since my previous comment, I’ve found the record of the deliveries and repaints. There were 7 deliveries for entry into service in March 1968. 1001/03/04/05/10/14/24. Of these 1003/04/14 and 1024 were delivered in red and cream, the rest in red and white. On Saturday February 24 and Saturday March 2 two vehicles were displayed and free rides given in Piccadilly bus station. 1001 in white and 1024 in cream took part with 1014 substituting for 1024 the second Saturday. March deliveries for April entry into service included 1002 also in red and cream but as a result of both the public opinion surveys and previous comments about the cream yellowing on the Panthers – shades of problems to come with SELNEC’s sunglow orange – all five red and cream vehicles were resprayed within six weeks.

Phil Blinkhorn

26/05/20 – 10:53

A Sheffielder, I spent my student days in, and around, Manchester from 1971-1976 – and then stayed to work until December 1980. The Sheffield "standard" PRV body on the 163 Atlanteans and subsequent Fleetlines – and the later London Country/NBC version – is a favourite of mine. However, I always preferred the 33ft Mancunian by PRV/MCW/Roe, but I always felt it was better and more balanced in design as a 33footer rather than this original, shorter, version.

David Oldfield

26/05/20 – 10:55

Mike, the demonstration you refer to was after the 1968 Commercial Motor Show on October 26 when the show exhibit Mancunian, Fleetline 2048 which had been held back to be exhibited by Park Royal, was shown on Piccadilly alongside Sheffield Atlantean 293, also straight from the Park Royal stand at the show and Newcastle 601 an Alexander bodied Atlantean whose hitherto advanced styling was totally eclipsed by the other two with the Mancunian going on to be the template for future double deck design.
Roger, it’s interesting how a later London leader of the same political kidney and with no real experience in transport, wasted millions in removing vehicles found quite satisfactory in cities large and small around the globe and replacing them with a vanity project which could not be operated as designed, cooked the passengers in summer and were designed to look from the rear to fulfil all the meanings of "like the back end of a bus".

Phil Blinkhorn

27/05/20 – 07:04

Phil, My thanks to you.
My memory seems to recall the Newcastle one, have a reversed nearside staircase, or what the Sheffield one? There was something very peculiar about it, on one of them.

Mike Norris

27/05/20 – 07:05

Who on earth, and what bus, can Phil possibly be referring to?!

Stephen Ford

28/05/20 – 07:12

I guess that Phil Blinkhorn didn’t actually live along one of the routes that the London Bendys actually ran on. Their obstructive characteristics really became apparent where, as they tended to do far more than regular vehicles, they ended up running in tandem. I believe there was an instruction that they were not to overtake one another.
They also had a higher accident record than normal vehicles. I know it’s sometimes presented as no different, but these vehicles paid an additional rate and were only driven by experienced senior drivers who otherwise had a much lower than average accident rate.
Sir Peter Hendy stated there was no loss on the disposal of them because they were leased, and just handed back at a lease break point.
When it comes to "experience in transport", we can possibly start with a manufacturer who states the first one destroyed by fire was a "unique incident", the second one was a "extraordinary coincidence", and the third one was "er … we’re going to do a modification". I can still see where the classic trees on Park Lane were ruined by the 436 which caught fire there.


28/05/20 – 07:14

Mike, it was the Newcastle Atlantean that had the near side staircase – a bit of a Newcastle fad at the time.

Phil Blinkhorn

29/05/20 – 06:52

601 was a conversion by Newcastle Corporation of accident damaged 251(KBB 251D). One of the claimed advantages was that the layout gave the driver a better view of the exit door. I believe Newcastle took two batches of Alexander bodied Atlanteans to this layout. Tyneside PTE, and subsequently Tyne and Wear PTE, adopted this speciation. It appeared on Daimler Fleetline chassis, and Willowbrook built some bodies of this layout for the PTE on long Atlantean chassis.

Richard Slater

29/05/20 – 06:53

No Bill, I didn’t live on a bendy bus route but I have driven in cities on five continents where such vehicles operate and they are no more obstructive than any other long vehicle. Their removal was a toxic mixture of the old LT "not invented here" attitude, political reaction to an innovation by an opposing party and flag waving jingoism. Their very expensive replacements are unable to operate either safely or economically as designed. As for fires, 12 of the articulated vehicles were destroyed by fire and fire has also destroyed a number of the new Routemasters – as it has other hybrids and, going back in time, a good number of Atlanteans, Fleetlines, Panthers and other "conventional" buses.

Phil Blinkhorn

01/06/20 – 07:46

We had the very under powered Wright Ftrs in Leeds which were a bit of a disaster to put it mildly York also had some which the council pressurised First into moving to Leeds. York is also home to a number of Mercedes artics on park and ride service which have no problem in the narrow city centre streets.

Chris Hough


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



E J Deeble, Liskeard – Leyland Tiger Cub – MMR 553 – 4

MWR 553

E J Deeble Liskeard
Leyland PSUC1/2
Harrington C41C

E J Deeble operated some local services in the Liskeard area of Cornwall. In June 1978 this coach originally owned by Silver Star, Porton Down who sold out to Wilts and Dorset in the 1960s was operating a service outside Liskeard Railway Station – a commendable bus/rail link. Note the raised front headboard above the destination boxes where the Silver Star motif was originally fitted. This bus can’t have been ideal for local service work because of its centre entrance.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

04/05/20 – 05:52

This coach and its Silver Star fellow appears elsewhere on OBP: www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/

Roger Cox

05/05/20 – 05:54

I have been interested this operator since I first saw a picture of 2 of their Leylands, a Cub and Comet in the book ‘Buses in Camera South West’ by Norman Aish, published in 1977. About 25 odd years ago returning from Cornwall to the Midlands I decided to take detour to Upton Cross, there I found in a Portacabin office a Mr Deeble who explained to me he was the son of the founder. He went on to chat about the company saying where ever possible they bought Leylands . He also related the story of a new Comet chassis that was shipped to a local bodybuilder (non PSV, I can’t remember the name). When the vehicle was complete it was found to be too tall to exit the building. The answer was to remove the wheels and drag the vehicle out on its hubs! (I have no idea if this is true but it is what I was told). Mr Deeble also said that the single vehicle garage next door, was not only built by his father, but he made the bricks as well! I could have chatted for ages but as my wife was waiting patiently in the car I decided it best to resume my journey to the Midlands. So a random detour proved very successful on that occasion.

John Rentell

06/05/20 – 07:21

Further to my post above concerning the Deeble Leyland Comet with a locally built body I have come across the following details in a list kindly supplied by Roger Grimley some years ago.MRL 910, Leyland Comet with a 33 seat Mashford body new on 5/50 and withdrawn on 5/71 after accident damage. As I have not heard of Mashford previously I am wondering if this is the vehicle Mr Deeble was referring to as a local body builder. If anyone has a picture I’d love to see it.

John Rentell

06/05/20 – 07:23

On the hubs? That’s nothing: http://archive.commercialmotor.com

Martin Ingle

07/05/20 – 06:42

John R, no picture, I’m afraid, but apparently Mashford Brothers were boat builders who had a go at building coaches for a while. They were/are based in Cremyll, Cornwall and it seems they are still in business today as boat repairers.

Chris Barker

08/05/20 – 06:19

John, there’s a photo of MRL 910 (when past its best) on flickr – https://flic.kr/p/RMTprx  – new to Deeble 5/50. According to James Taylor in his book A-Z of British Bus Bodies, Mashford built six bodies at their boatyard at Cremyll, two in 1948, two in 1949 and two in 1955. The first two were Bedford OB, ECO 746 and ECO 997 for Millbrook Steamboat and Trading Company. The remaining four are captured by photographs on flickr. MRL 764, Austin for Hawkey, Wadebridge – https://flic.kr/p/xXkkAf  MRL 910 as above and URL 838/9 for Willis, Bodmin – https://flic.kr/p/xYtRjG 

David Williamson

10/05/20 – 06:52

David, thank you for sending these links. When the first Mashford body appeared on my screen I was not sure what to expect, however I think they look pretty good, identifiable by there own style side flashes. The Deeble Comet looks to have suffered serious damage to the off-side front, so understandably it was withdrawn, but apart from that it looks OK for a 20+ year old motor. If I can just master printing from FLICKR I can add these shots to my lists of these operators.

John Rentell


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



Hebble – Leyland PSU1/16 – ECP 500 – 74

Hebble - Leyland PSU1/16 - ECP 500 - 74

Hebble Motor Services
Leyland PSU1/15
Bellhouse-Hartwell C37C

This amazing creation was photographed at the Rotherham rally in August 1976. I wonder what has happened to it since. There are photos on flick-r showing it undergoing heavy restoration but no further details. It would be great to see it out and about again. Makes you wonder how it survived until 1976.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

27/04/20 – 07:31

There is plenty about these if you go onto MDS book sales website and download (its free to do so) the book – 12 Royal Tigers – Its basically the history of Bellhouse Hartwell and Beccols vis-a-vis the battle with Blue Cars, that brought about the demise of the latter.
Its a great read and heartily recommended!

Mike Norris

27/04/20 – 11:23

….. and the last two Bellhouse Hartwell Landmasters ever were a pair of MU3RV Reliances for SUT. They came between about 22 Duple Elizabethan Reliances and the first of SUT’s 30 Burlingham Seagull Reliances.

David Oldfield

27/04/20 – 12:55

Sadly Ian, you won’t be seeing it out again.
ECP 500 had passed to Frank Cowley (dealer), Salford in 12/66 and then to Talbot House Special School, Glossop who had a wheelchair lift fitted into the rear, but fortunately set into the existing rear dome. It lost its chrome bumpers, Royal Tiger badge and ornate Standard Vanguard Phase II front grille but otherwise remained fairly original.
It passed to John Hinchcliffe of Huddersfield in the mid-1970’s for intended preservation, at which time I was told by him that the bodywork was extremely sound. However with a lot of work to do on it and other projects in hand he decided to sell it to a preservation group based at Liversedge, who I’m told loaned it to another group with YWD connections, and whose apprentices were supposed to be restoring it and it did appear at a number of rallies in the condition depicted in Ian’s photo. This project appears to have failed and it then passed through a variety of would-be preservationists in Lancashire, until it eventually ended up in a serious state of deterioration exposed to the elements. It was advertised for sale in about 2001 and it is said that despite its extremely parlous condition Ensign acquired it as a major restoration project, but that even they had to admit defeat as it was just too far gone. Sadly it was scrapped. One of the more regrettable losses to the preservation movement.

John Stringer

27/04/20 – 12:57

The company began in the 1800s as the dye works Bellhouse Higson which became incorporated as a limited liability company on 10 July 1914 and changed its name when A.W. Hartwell joined in around 1932. For much of its later existence the company specialised in subcontracting to the aircraft industry, but entered the psv bodying business in the post WW2 boom period. Initially bodying conventional front engined chassis, the firm is best remembered for its flamboyant styling of bodywork for underfloor engined chassis from 1951, of which the Hebble coach is an example, which possibly suggested inspiration derived from the spaceships in the Dan Dare comic strip. As David states above, the last psv bodies were delivered in July 1955, after which the firm reverted to concentrating on aerospace industry work. In 1964 the business was sold to the Hampson Jig Tool company, and it finally closed its doors on 13 November 2002. The first link below gives a potted history of the firm in the Bolton News, which differs in minor detail from James Taylor’s account in his A-Z Of British Bus Bodies. The second link illustrates a splendid array of various Bellhouse Hartwell bodies.

Here is a later, rather sad picture of this coach. www.flickr.com/photos/

Roger Cox

28/04/20 – 06:25

John – sad to hear that it has been scrapped. Such an unusual coach.

Ian Wild

30/04/20 – 06:06

I had the privilege of travelling on this or a sister beast from Burnley to Blackpool at a date I would estimate as being around 1964. Certainly, it was after the new Burnley Bus Station came into use. This was a journey that I made with my parents at intervals during the year, having relatives living in Blackpool. As a 12-ish year-old, I had an interest in buses, and from experience expected that we would end up a on a Ribble operated J1 or J2 duplicate, probably an already elderly Royal Tiger with Leyland or Burlingham bodywork, or maybe even one of their less-appreciated Tiger Cubs with later Seagull bodies. In the past I had seen Ribble half-cab coaches duplicating these services and had always hoped one would show up for me, but it never happened!
I think that I had seen these Hebble vehicles once or twice previously in Burnley Bus Station and been fascinated by their already dated but exotic appearance, so different from anything that Ribble or other familiar operators ran. So, imagine the excitement when this beauty pulled into the stand, and we were allowed to board! I remember being able to bag the seat right behind the driver, so close that there was basically nothing between my seat and the panel of lights and switches to his right. To my mind that ride was a major “cop” that I still remember 55 or more years on!
I have wondered since which service this would have been on. The most frequent Yorkshire – Blackpool routes (of the ones that passed through Burnley) were the J1 and J2 via Keighley and Colne, but these seemed exclusively Ribble or West Yorkshire operated, though I suppose that Hebble could have provided a duplicate from Leeds or Bradford. I was aware from timetable leaflets of other J services that took the route through Halifax and Todmorden, and that might have been a more logical route for a Hebble vehicle to appear on. However, I very rarely spotted workings of these services on local roads and believe that they were seasonal and/or weekend operations (which may well have applied to the journey I described).



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 Wednesday 3rd June 2020