Old Bus Photos

Kirkby and Sons – Commer Avenger – KWR 931

Kirkby and Sons - Commer Avenger - KWR 931

Kirkby and Sons
Commer Avenger
Plaxton C33F

Kirkby and Sons of Harthill bought three Commer Avengers new in 1950, two Plaxton-bodied examples and one Churchill example. They were swiftly followed by this, another Plaxton thirty-three seater in February 1951. Churchill would build another – A Mark II – in 1953 and Duple were chosen for a Mark III in 1956.
From the mid-fifties onwards Kirkby would mostly choose Bedfords but had never been afraid to try other makes including Crossley and AEC!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

08/02/19 – 11:52

Where was the Kirkby depot based, and how big was their fleet in the 70s.

Mr Anon

09/02/19 – 06:00

Kirkby were based at Harthill near the Yorkshire / Derbyshire border.. Despite collecting information for the last six decades my own fleet list for Kirkby, Harthill contains only 58 vehicles so far. The earliest on my list was bought new in 1947. There must be someone out there who can give us the full story about this under-reported operator?

Les Dickinson

12/02/19 – 05:18

Kirkbys premises at the end of a residential cul-de-sac in Harthill became the first premises for Stuart Johnson’s Scania bus and coach dealership in the early 80s before their move to purpose built premises in Worksop

Tim Presley

13/04/22 – 08:24

Am I correct in thinking that in addition to operating their own coach fleet, Kirkby’s of Harthill also acted as a dealer in second hand PSVs?

Chris Barker

17/04/22 – 05:51

Kirkby’s were dealers in brand new coaches. Through a succession of owners, they became Plaxtons (South Anston). Although greatly expanded, this is the same site as originally owned by Kirkby’s. They also had a Vauxhall dealership in Rotherham. Kirkby’s were a class act, latterly with a rich blue livery, who took ownership of J O Andrew of Sheffield. After they closed down the operating side – concentrating on the dealership – the manager, by the name of Laking, continued under his own name from the Pryor Mede address. Ironically, Andrew’s became a PSV driving school and then, under deregulation, became the basis of Stagecoach’s Sheffield operations. Plaxton’s became part of ADL, with Brian Souter a major shareholder. Thus Andrew’s and Kirkby’s came back together – after a fashion.

David Oldfield

20/04/22 – 06:22

David O, thanks, going back to a previous age, my very old PSV Circle fleet history of East Midland details the vehicles of an independent, Wass Brothers, which EM took over in 1957. One of the coaches, MTJ 721, Regal IV/Transun, is said to have come from Kirkby of Harthill with the word ‘fleet’ underlined, suggesting that it came from their operational fleet rather than by way of an alternative role. It got me wondering if, at some time in the past, Kirkbys had dealt in second hand coaches.

Chris Barker

22/04/22 – 06:43

What I failed to mention was that, in the end, the operational fleet came under the ownership of Redfearn (of Mansfield) with a green based livery. In the last years of "independence", at least three 6U3ZR Reliances were bought brand new. After Redfearn’s take over, this was supplemented by a number of fairly new, secondhand, examples of the same.
Kirkby’s was, of course, well known as a Bedford dealership but, reading between the lines, there seems to have been a strong connection with Commer in the early ’50s.
A local history site seems to indicate that secondhand coaches were also stored in the Harthill (operational) yard until at least 1959.

David Oldfield


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 25th February 2024