Old Bus Photos

Samuel Ledgard – Guy LUF – DCN 838

Samuel Ledgard - Guy LUF - DCN 838
All three shots from the Stephen Howarth collection

Samuel Ledgard
Guy Arab LUF
Picktree C35F

DCN 838 was new to Samuel Ledgard in 1963, it was one of 35 second hand vehicles added to the fleet in an attempt at some sort of standardisation, in order to reduce stocking a wide range of spare parts.
It was new to Northern General Transport in 1954 as their 1538. A Guy Arab LUF – Chassis No LUF 72189 it had a Picktree C35F body.
It passed to West Yorkshire Road Car Company on 14th October 1967, upon the takeover of Ledgards by that company. It was never operated by WYRCC.
Samuel Ledgard - Guy LUF - DCN 838

Samuel Ledgard - Guy LUF - DCN 838

The three pictures show it in a sorry state in July 1968 being used as a Site Office with William Press at Leathley, not far from its home ground.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Stephen Howarth


19/08/12 – 12:05

If my records are correct, Northern had 13 of these, they were fitted with Gardner 6HLW engines, and you’ve said they were built by Picktree coachworks, which was more or less next door to Northern’s Chester Le Street depot. They were designed by Doug Pargeter who had previously been with Northern Coachbuilders. I don’t know of any others of this type, so they may well have been unique to Northern General. Unlike most of the coach fleet which were predominantly cream, these were all red, but looked very smart and were always well turned out. They were built mainly for continental work, and the off side emergency door was designed to allow easy access to to vehicle whilst it was being used in Europe. I’m not aware of any survivors

Ronnie Hoye


20/08/12 – 07:53

It seems that Picktree Coachworks was founded on 6th September 1947. The coach building side of the business tailed off in the mid 1950s – possibly these Guys were the last Picktree bodies of all – and its latter day activities consisted of the sale of motor vehicles. It closed down in November 1996, being fully wound up in April 1998. As far as I can gather, the bulk of Picktree’s output went to Northern General, who also had some curious Picktree bodied AEC Regals known as "kipper boxes" whose chassis incorporated components from older machines. It is certainly probable that the Guy LUF coaches carried over much of the design expertise from Northern Coachbuilders, and they were generally considered to be high quality vehicles. We certainly need Chris Y to give us his valuable insight into their life with Samuel Ledgard.

Roger Cox


20/08/12 – 07:54

What a sad end for a fine coach These were my favourite Ledgard coaches. They had well appointed interiors complete with aircraft style drop down tables in the seat backs. I had a number of trips on various members of the batch and they were a very smooth riding machine with a very melodious transmission.

Chris Hough


20/08/12 – 07:55

Just as a footnote to my previous comments. I don’t know when it closed, but Northern had a booking office in Pilgrim Street Newcastle which was just round the corner from Worswick St Bus Station. As a youngster I remember that in the centre of the window they had a model of one of these on display in a glass case. I don’t have a clue what scale it was, but to a boy of about 8 or 10 it looked huge, I wonder what happened to it?

Ronnie Hoye


20/08/12 – 11:46

What very sad but inevitable pictures Stephen, and so close to the operating area of these fine vehicles too. I am somewhat puzzled though by the theory that they were purchased with "standardisation" in mind, and with respect I don’t think that this was the case. Rather, I think they will have been snapped up as an absolute bargain in mid life highly luxurious coaches on well proven and reliable chassis, and from an operator with high maintenance standards too. There is no doubt at all that they were in superb order when they arrived, and they gave impeccable service. I was a devotee of the old Ledgard original livery of dark blue, cream and black for coaches, and the "DCN"s looked majestic and dignified so painted. The final ivory and pale blue colours were just "not them" and didn’t suit their traditional and individual styling at all I’m afraid.
We had eight of them, DCN 831/4/5/6/7/8/9/40, and DCN 832 was bought from Wood’s of Pollington for spares only. DCN 831 was at Otley from Day One and was a joy to drive – Chris Hough so rightly says that they were smooth riding (exceptionally so) and the transmission was quietly melodious – in fact these coaches simply oozed refined quality. I was once sent to the Morley Street stand in Bradford to work a half day excursion to Bridlington (such outings were legion in those happy days) where the manager, Mr. Tom Kent, was supervising the loading. Any prospective passengers viewing the chrome and glitter of the opposition companies were quietly informed with a gesture to 831 and "Nice seats here." By departure time the Guy was full and off we went – all without exception commented on what a lovely vehicle to travel in, and were very impressed by the Gardner’s competent and swift ascent of the notorious Garrowby Hill twixt York and Bridlington.
Returning briefly to the "standardisation" theory, I wonder if this perhaps arose from the purchase in 1963 -5 of the thirty four London RTs and five RTLs – certainly standardisation was the aim there, and they formed by far the largest class of identical vehicles in the Company’s history – sadly our "swan song" in view of the impending doom of October 14th 1967.

Chris Youhill


20/08/12 – 11:47

DCN 831_lr

I have been having another look through a box of pictures and came across this one. It is of similar coach DCN 831, again in a state of disrepair, hope it does not upset you too much seeing it this way Chris.

Stephen Howarth


20/08/12 – 14:05

Well Stephen, the entire saga of the demise of Samuel Ledgard upsets me but we just have to put up with it I suppose. The almost unreal proceedings in the week leading up to Saturday 14th October 1967 are still a sore point with enthusiasts and passengers, the latter never having had a truly satisfactory and reliable service since that date. DCN 831, in your latest picture of the near deserted roof of Armley Depot, was of course the vehicle which was always allocated to Otley Depot and, yes, I suppose I am still sad but there we are – the whole nature of the bus industry has altered out of all recognition and that’s that isn’t it ??

Chris Youhill


20/08/12 – 14:09

Sad to see this view of DCN 831, Stephen, as it captures its early demise on the Armley depot roof in June 1967, just a few months after it received a full repaint. This premature scrapping was because of badly decayed body pillars discovered during the repair of two accident-damage off-side panels (one of them seen missing in this picture?). I was fortunate enough to photograph it at Otley when freshly repainted two months earlier – see this link www.sct61.org.uk/

Paul Haywood


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