Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – Daimler CWA6 – CTP 180 – 179

Portsmouth Corporation - Daimler CWA6 - CTP 180 - 179
Copyright D Clark

Portsmouth Corporation
1944
Daimler CWA6
Crossley H30/26R (after re-bodying in 1955)

The austerity Daimler CWA6 parked behind my earlier posting of Portsmouth Corporation’s Leyland Cheetah provoked some discussion and Chris Barker asked if anyone had a photo of one after re-bodying. Here is a nice one, shiny, shorn of adverts and looking fairly clean, despite the wet day. The bus is parked outside the art deco façade of Southdown’s Hilsea East Depot (outskirts of Portsmouth) and is facing in completely the wrong direction for the suburb of Paulsgrove. This, and the absence of passengers and driver, make me suspect that the bus was being used for business purposes, rather than being in service. Michael Hampton says that grey roofs were repainted white between 1959-1961 and the lack of adverts could suggest that the photo was taken not long after re-bodying. Although the different height of each headlamp slightly spoils the appearance, the design is quite pleasing.
Was this body design unique to these nine buses?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron


Not really a Crossley body at all… just a Park Royal body built at a subsidiary company, a bit like the 30ft. Glasgow BUTs were built by Crossley to Park Royal drawings.
Very nice though!

John Whitaker


Yes, the tiny ventilators in the middle of the upper edge of the top deck windscreens cry out "Park Royal" don’t they?? This body has many outline similarities to the one fitted to the AEC Regent V demonstrator 88 CMV. The Portsmouth Daimler is a very handsome machine and the livery most dignified.

Chris Youhill


As I’ve said, many times before, when Park Royal were busy and needed more capacity for metal framed bodies, they farmed it out to their subsidiaries. Roe benefited from this and it kept the Crossley factory open for about eight years after the last DD42 and SD42 had been delivered. They were not just Park Royal designs, they were built on Park Royal frames.

David Oldfield


Remembering this is 1955, we are still with hinged driver’s door with those funny windows, including one for sticking a leather covered arm out- no trafficators of any sort, even then… and a starting handle…?

Joe


I think the last genuine Crossley rebodies were the 13 for Bradford in early 1952, built on reconditioned AEC 661T and Karrier E4 chassis. These were quite similar in outline to the CWG5 rebodied for Lancaster in (1951?)
Crossley "cleaned up" the body outline circa 1950 by omitting the wavy window features as shown on their designs for Oldham etc. on their own chassis.
I believe that most Crossley bodies from 1937/8, were built on MCW frames, or a variant of these, the original designs being for Manchester on Mancunian, TD4/5 or COG5 chassis. Details would be of interest if anyone knows.

John Whitaker


John, you’re absolutely correct. Crossley bodies – pre AEC/ACV ownership – WERE on MCCW frames.
Manchester were Crossley’s biggest customer and, as much as anything, having MCCW frames was a Manchester idea to help standardise bodies. It didn’t harm them that MCCW were the best quality metal frames available at the time. The peculiar window line was to give structural strength to a body, specified by Manchester Corporation, with a "self-supporting" platform.
[Colin Bailey was poached from MCCW by Leyland when their metal frames proved such a disaster and went on to provide Leyland with world beating design and quality in their bodies.]
Park Royal frames were introduced, and eventually replaced the MCCW, after AEC/ACV took over in 1948.

David Oldfield


I will say that the driver’s door, with its curved glass insert shape is a feature of Park Royal bodies of the period, and also of the immediate post-war Weymann bodies, usually the ones with flared skirts.

Chris Hebbron


The picture shows the bus at Hilsea Southdown Garage, and it is at the southern terminus of route 21, shown on the screen as "Hilsea Lido". Passengers have alighted, the screen has already been changed for the return to Paulsgrove, Hillsley Road, but the bus has yet to turn to face northwards to take up its next journey. The 21 route was first introduced in 1955 as a feeder service from a newish area of the Paulsgrove estate to Hilsea, where passengers could change to other services onward into Portsmouth city. These Daimlers were frequent performers on it (although all 9 certainly would not have been required!). The bus is certainly working the route shown on screen. The route was the first Portsmouth Corporation motorbus route to have a number identifier (rather than a letter), and the first for many years to be the same in both directions. From c.1930, tram/trolleybus routes were numbered, eg outward "1", return as "2", and motorbus were lettered outward as "A" and return as "B". When the trolleybuses finished in 1959-1963, all motor bus routes were redesignated from letters to numbers, although a significant amount had the paired numberings continued (e.g. G/H became 9/10). This was helpful in order to identify the direction of the several circular or loop services which were a feature of Portsmouth operations, given its geographical location as an island. I suspect that the picture shown was taken not long after both the introduction of route 21, and the return to service of the rebodied Daimler. The final clue to that is the gilt-edged fleet number on the front dash. This is to a large style, standard on early post-war to 1950’s. By c.1958, the same style gilt-edged numbers were being applied, but in a smaller size. The 21 route was absorbed into a converted trolleybus route (3/4) in September 1960 when this was converted to motorbuses, and extended from Cosham to Paulsgrove. The all-Leyland PD2/10s (58-82) then became the most frequent performers on this route. First Hampshire still operate a route 3 (uni-directional numbering) from Southsea to Paulsgrove via Fratton, but it serves a different area of Paulsgrove now. Sorry, lots of minute detail here, but some might find it of interest.

Michael Hampton


Many thanks to Chris Hebbron for posting this, I knew instantly that I have never seen a picture of one of these before. It is indeed a pleasing design but I’ve always felt that any bus so treated, not just Daimler but some others, would have benefitted from improved front wings to cover the dumb irons/springs in to give them a much more ‘post war’ look. In fact, one wonders why some manufacturers didn’t offer full width bonnet conversion kits!

Chris Barker


Thank you David for your Crossley clarifications, Much appreciated…I always thought the "funny windows" were just a fashion fad.
Amazing too, the difference in Leyland build quality after Colin Bailey was poached from MCCW. As well as with EEC metal bodies, Burnley C and N joint committee had all sorts of problems with their Leyland "V" fronts, and Ledgards had to rebody theirs as you probably know.
Which other fleets had severe problems with these early Leyland bodies…do we know?

John Whitaker


More to the point, John, who didn’t have problems with their Leyland V front metal-framed bodies?
Ironic, therefore, that Portsmouth was a rare example of a fleet keeping such bodies until the vehicles were withdrawn. [I cannot, however, remember whether there was any substantial rebuilding of the original bodies to keep them going.]

David Oldfield


I believe that the cost of rebodying resulting from the defective Leyland products was, quite rightly, borne by the manufacturers themselves – I cannot imagine the immortal Mr. Samuel Ledgard settling for anything less !!

Chris Youhill


Further to my last post ref: Leyland "V" front metal bodies, but still on the Portsmouth theme: PCT had batches of "V" front and EEC metal bodied TD4s.
Both of these types had given other operators problems of some magnitude, which is well documented elsewhere. Strange then, that PCT got such long lives from theirs!
Were PCT involved in major overhauling these buses in their early careers?
They certainly did not return to English Electric, or Leyland in pre war years , changing to Cravens, where a previous post hinted at body problems on the Titans. The AEC trolleys lasted well though (Craven).

John Whitaker


David Oldfield’s statement that Park Royal frames replaced MCCW when ACV took over is completely at odds with the information in the "Crossley" tome by Eyre, Heaps and Townsin, according to which ALL Crossley postwar bodies used Crossley’s own frames until the Park Royal design was imposed in 1954/5.
The Crossley metal framing system, which had been in slow development since 1937, came to fruition in 1944, when a prototype body was produced to a one-off design. This was intended to be fitted to the prototype DD42 chassis, but in the event a body swap took place and it ended up in obscurity atop a prewar Mancunian chassis in the Manchester fleet. Meanwhile Manchester was working on a new body design, with help from MCCW in the area of the platform supports as mentioned by David. The two things came together from 1946 onwards, with Crossley building more than half of Manchester’s 710 postwar standards using their new framing system, as well as adopting the Manchester design as the basis of its offerings to the outside world.
In 1948 Crossley produced a new design for Liverpool, and with further development and customised variations this became Crossley’s standard offering until 1954, again using Crossley frames.

Peter Williamson


The bodywork on the Portsmouth Daimler closely resembles the bodywork of Rotherhams last Crossleys delivered in 1952. It is both pleasant to look at and a comfortable ride. One of the Rotherham Crossleys is at the Science Museum collection at ?Wharton. It was for a number of years in the care of Leicester and was used on their open day in 1982 when they withdrew their last rear loaders. Also used was an ex JMT Leyland TD1 in Halifax livery and re-registered MJX 222J (I think but I may be wrong on that one)

Chris Hough


In my defence, Peter, what I said was "…..eventually replaced the MCCW, after AEC/ACV took over in 1948."
This comment is true. I didn’t say, or mean to imply, that it happened immediately. If that it how it was read, I apologise for the ambiguity. I am very aware of the Liverpool variation as Sheffield had four of a "Liverpool" batch of Crossleys diverted to them in 1949 – and of course there were numerous Regent IIIs to this design.

David Oldfield


Apology unnecessary, David. I was just rather concerned that John might get the idea that there were no Crossley-framed Crossley bodies at all, whereas in fact they accounted for most of the postwar output. I am very interested in Chris’s observation of a resemblance between the Portsmouth rebodies and the last Rotherham Crossleys, because (according to the Crossley book) the former are Park Royal designed and framed, and the latter are Liverpool-style bodies with Crossley frames. I suspect some cross-pollination of features, with late Liverpool bodies incorporating PRV rear domes, and possibly the design of certain PRV (and Roe-built) upper deck front windows having come from Crossley/Liverpool practice.

Peter Williamson


Thank you, Michael H, for supplying the supplementary information of which I was unaware. At Hilsea, even then, it must have been a challenge for the driver to cross from nearside to the third lane within a 100 yds, then turn around into the 3-lane Northern carriageway and work his way across to the nearside lane again!
I said on the Leyland Cheetah submission that photos of the Portsmouth’s Daimler CWA6’s with their austerity Duple bodies are very rare. However, I have come across a rear-view photo of one in the North End Depot, showing that PCT retro-fitted a rear blind display sometime before 1949/50. Here is the link to view it. 

Chris Hebbron


In the previous comments, John Whittaker asks if PCT were involved in rebuilding any of its EEC or Cravens bodied vehicles. The answer is yes, they certainly were.
My main source of information is the Portsmouth fleet list produced in 1964 by the Worthing Historical Commercial Vehicle Group. Here are some details –
Leyland TD2/EEC of 1933. Batch of 12 (16-27). Two withdrawn for tower wagon conversion, 1952, and three withdrawn 1953 for open-top conversion but never carried out, and scrapped later. The other seven remained in service until 1958, a very creditable 25 years’ service. The WHCV list does not mention CPPTD rebuild for this batch, but a photo in "Fares Please" (Eric Watts, 1987) p.78 shows TD2 No 25 stripped down for rebuild alongside one of the TD4/EEC (115-126 batch) on which renovation has been completed. The caption dates the photo to 1950.
Leyland TD4/EEC of 1935 Batch of 12 (115-126). Again, the WHCV list does not mention any rebuilding of this batch (apart from the 4 converted to open-top, which served until 1971/72, and all believed still preserved). But the photo in Eric Watt’s book above certainly shows that one, perhaps some were rebuilt. The intersting thing is that those that remained covered top were withdrawn 1955-56, before the TD2s! Two years newer, but out of service two years earlier, rebuilt or not.
Then there are the Cravens bodied vehicles. Portsmouth had 30 Leyland TD4s and 76 AEC 661T trolleybuses bodied by this company, as only this builder could offer such a large quantity at the time (they were for final tram replacement).
The WHVC List shows that of the 76 trolleybuses, 51 were rebuilt in the period 1948-1956. Of these rebuilds, one was withdrawn as early as 1953! Withdrawal of unrebuilt trolleybuses with Cravens bodies had begun in 1951, but were stored at the depot, perhaps pending rebuild decisions. I have read in another fleet history (The Trolleybuses of Portsmouth, Reading Transport Soc. 1969), that this caused controversy in the local paper when "expensive motorbuses" were being ordered, but these efficient vehicles were in store out of use!
Similarly, nine of the 30 Cravens bodied TD4s were rebuilt by CPPTD between 1949 and 1953. The rebuilds were withdrawn 1958-59, whereas withdrawal of unrebuilt ones started in 1955. But the last withdrawal of the batch (No 146 in 1960) does not feature in the rebuild list!
Then there are the four vee-front TD4s, Nos 127-130 of 1935. As other contributors have said, who didn’t have problems with this design! The BCVM and the PSV Circle produced an excellent study of this design (subtitled "The Great Disaster") in 1997. The Portsmouth four were built just before the arrival of designer Colin Bailey, who instigated a re-design of the weak bulkhead which was incorporated into the final production of 1935, before his "new design" came on stream in the next year. But the Portsmouth batch would appear to have been built with the original design structure, and the WHCV list states that the bodies of all four were "rebuilt by Leyland" later in 1935 – no doubt at Leyland’s expense. They then continued to serve as a complete batch until 1958, when one was withdrawn. Two others (127-128) were then rebuilt by CPPTD itself that year, 1958. A very late rebuild, considering their age and history. One obvious change was the incorporation of the standard CPPTD destination screen layout. The other fleet member No 130 was not rebuilt, and continued in service to 1962 – a very creditable 27 years. It was sold for preservation but unfortunately scrapped later after vandal damage. Of the two rebuilt TD4s, No 127 (by then renumbered 129 – RV6370) survived until 30/06/1964 – 29 years. By this time, it was the last vee-front bodied Leyland in service anywhere.
Portsmouth usually got the most out of its purchases. I mentioned in an earlier contribution that Portsmouth persevered with it’s turbo-transmitter Crossleys longer than most, and the Reading bodied six (11-15/28) retained this until the end in 1964 – again another "last in service", probably. The noteworthy exception was the batch of 14 Leyland Nationals of 1976, which were withdrawn at the outcome of the MAP exercise in 1981 – just five years. This was a shorter life than certain Karrier 6-wheeler motor buses of the late 1920’s – ‘Nuff said?

Michael Hampton


I’ll throw in some irrelevant trivia – which I have mentioned before elsewhere.

Portsmouth and Crossley! Leyland National was a dormant company (from a previous take-over) reactivated by British Leyland. Which one? Crossley, of course.

David Oldfield


Thanks Michael for the PCT detail which explains a lot. I referred to the 1935 EEC bodied TD4s, as I believe they were metal framed 5 bay bodies, the earlier 6 bay ones being composite. They were therefore contemporary with the Burnley ones, and others, and PCT and BCN both then shared the double misery of problems with Leyland "pre Bailey" and early EEC bodies. MCCW seemed to be the only reliable metal framed bodies in the period 1933-6. Good old Charlie Roe and his teak framing!

John Whitaker


Thank you, Chris for the link to the North End Depot scene, showing a utility Daimler – and also a utility Bedford, star of another entry on this site.

Michael Hampton


Michael Hampton, on the subject of frail vee-fronted EE bodies, mentions the chequered history of the batch of 12 (16-27) 1933 TD2’s. Only seven remained in service until 1958, a very creditable 25 years’ service, after renovation. A photo of one of these wonderful vehicles, No. 24, taken about 1950, can be found here, looking very chipper!

Chris Hebbron


11/02/11 – 07:02

Route 21 ran via Collington crescent and Colesbourne road, Blue Admiral would nip buses thru’ Collington on rare occasions and First have diverted buses thru’ there when the Paulsgrove Carnival is on, but route 21 would of had clear roads in those days, I have seen a picture of a Southdown bus in Hillsley road on route 21 on a joint mileage journey

Stephen Macdonald


11/11/11 – 07:43

There was talk above about the longevity of Portsmouth Corporation buses. Here is a link which shows 1932 Leyland TD1/EE-bodied bus crossing Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. 92 (and 94) were not withdrawn from service until 1952, a creditable 20 years! The shots are right at the beginning. (A trolleybus (300-series) creeps under Portsmouth & Southsea Station bridge). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxGi7tvNMhE

Chris Hebbron


CTP 180 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


22/04/15 – 07:18

I’ve just seen a photo of Southdown’s Hilsea East Depot (standing behind the Daimler CWA6 subject bus above) in its final stages of demolition in 2013, with not even the centre art-deco part of the building being retained.

Chris Hebbron


23/04/15 – 07:00

I have just visited Portsmouth for a weekend with friends, and drove past the site of said depot building. A new modern building is now nearing completion – sorry, not sure about new building’s purpose (residential, commercial, etc). Friend’s comments went on the lines of, "a vast improvement on the old building that was there". However, they were thinking of the depot’s recent past, post Southdown/NBC etc, when it really did become run down looking. In it’s heyday, of course, it was an enthusiast’s delight!

Michael Hampton


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 19th October 2019