Old Bus Photos

London Transport – AEC Regent I – AXM 693 – STL441

London Transport - AEC Regent I - AXM 693 - STL441

London Transport
AEC Regent I
London Transport H26/30R

AXM 693 is an AEC Regent (Regent I in some listings but not in all of them) from 1934, new to London Transport with fleet number STL441. Her LPTB body has H56R seating layout and she now resides at Brooklands, following the relocation of the collection from Cobham. We see her during the gathering at Wisley Airfield on 11 April 2010.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

10/07/15 – 06:56

Originally this bus would have been marketed simply as the AEC Regent – no one would have bothered to state ‘Regent I’ until after the improved Regent II had appeared. The same thing happens with monarchs – Charles I was never known as Charles I in his lifetime.

David Wragg

10/07/15 – 06:57

This batch of early STLs had Daimler preselective gearboxes from new, but their petrol engines were replaced with 7.7 diesels just before the outbreak of WW2. I lived in the Croydon area up to the age of four in 1946 (and then again from 1952, though by then the STL was a rarer beast). I remember travelling around south London on buses of this type, and didn’t much like them because of the high level of the lower saloon windows that seriously impeded the outward view of a small boy. In my firmly held opinion of that time, the Chiswick designers had got their priorities all wrong, though I conceded that my services wouldn’t have been available as a consultant when they were built in 1934.

Roger Cox

11/07/15 – 07:23

Thank you for your thoughts about the "order of succession" David. I had guessed that to be the case here, and – one has to suppose – with that wonderful range of products from the Dennis Brothers.

Pete Davies

11/07/15 – 07:24

Morden, then in Surrey, was my stomping ground in the 40’s and 50’s, full of utility ‘D’s and pre-war RT’s. STL’s only appeared on the 118 from Clapham (then) to Raynes Park. I did have two aunts who lived in Norbury and my mum and I would trundle round there, which made a pleasant change from the usual bus types. I agree about the lower deck windows, but usually persuaded my mum to go upstairs, despite the ‘fug’!
Many of these early ‘non-rounded front’ STL’s were overhauled and put back into service with full blinds, briefly, when the last tram conversion was brought forward and merged with the penultimate conversion stage, in 1952. And very smart they looked, too! They were the only STL’s to acquire full blinds post-war. I think it was done to provide passengers with the fullest information on the tram-replacement routes, which didn’t usually coincide exactly with the tram ones and had different route numbers, too.

Chris Hebbron

11/07/15 – 07:24

The excellent ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ website states that STL441 formed one of fifty ‘leaning back’ STL’s which were delivered in 6/34 without engines, then fitted with ‘hand-me-down’ petrol ones from the LT class vehicles, which were being converted to diesel power. AEC’s diesels were, at that time, too big to fit into the STL’s, hence the swap-over. It had a Wilson pre-selector gearbox and was either fitted with a fluid flywheel at that time, or retro-fitted with one in the October. It eventually got its 7.7litre diesel engine in 5/39. Mann Egerton rebuilt its body in 12/47 and it was withdrawn in 9/52. It was sold, in 2/53, for preservation in Holland. It was repatriated from the preservers in 1975 by LBPG and stored at Cobham, being fully restored in 2007. It still bears the wartime ‘scar’ of a two-piece platform rear window, which most LT buses bore, to make the glass, in time of shortage, go further. All-in-all, an interesting life.

Chris Hebbron

11/07/15 – 14:05

I am also a Dennis fan, Pete. A company that deserved greater success but which could also be slow to innovate, which is why it lost the single deck market once underfloor engines became the standard. The Loline was a terrific bus, especially in Aldershot & District livery and specification.
Returning to the point and looking again at the STL, this particular vehicle almost had a provincial (with a small ‘p’) outline.

David Wragg

11/04/19 – 06:13

This bus featured in an episode of Goodnight Sweetheart. which is what led to me googling it which brought me to this site.

David Moth


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Westcliff-on-Sea – AEC Regent I – MV 3394

MV 3394

Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services
AEC Regent I
Metro Cammell H??R

Although it has had a passing mention (in connection with the ex-BH&D Dennis Lances it acquired) Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services has not so far had a mention here in its own right. To rectify that, attached is a shot of one of its more unusual vehicles, AEC Regent MV 3394. I understand this was originally a demonstrator, had an MCW body and was new around 1932/3. If this date is correct, the piano front styling was surely a little dated by then. By the time I new this bus in about 1951/2 it was used, along with Westcliff’s other old crocks, on contracts for workers building the oil refinery at Shellhaven. It is seen here in the yard of Westcliff’s Fairfax Drive, Prittlewell depot, where all the contract buses were based, in June 1951.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Brian Pask

19/01/15 – 09:01

Worrying biff in the piano front! A characterful decker from the period that interests me most—though I’m also fascinated by recent developments in "hybrid" systems. Did it hang on to its petrol engine to the last? A 19-year life was pretty good for an unrebodied bus of that date.

Ian T

19/01/15 – 16:17

This is an unusual design for a Metro-Cammell body, but then it was really the mid-1930’s onwards when many of us became familiar with their designs. I wonder if the bus pictured was a metal-framed prototype? If so, this might account for it’s long life, as Met.Cam bodies seemed to last well in this era. It bears no resemblance to the designs produced for Birmingham or Coventry from c.1934 onwards, nor to the Leyland design of 1936 after Leyland "pinched" Colin Bailey from Metro-Cammell at that time.

Michael Hampton

19/01/15 – 17:00

OV 4492_1

OV 4492_2

I beg to differ with Michael H. The Birmingham Regents (Met Camm) did have different window design, however, there was a striking resemblance to the ‘Westcliff-on-Sea’ piano front.


It is fortunate at least one of these Regents survives, and, after a long hard road is nearing the end of a complete restoration. This Birmingham example – OV 4486 should look great in the original BCT colours. The following link may help explain the history of 486. www.wythall.org.uk/vehicles/ 

Nigel Edwards

20/01/15 – 06:37

Thanks to Nigel for his information. Although familiar with pictures of Birmingham’s AEC Regents of that era, I had not realised they were bodied by Metro-Cammell. So the similarity is quite clear, as he states. It’s good to know that 486 is making good progress in it’s restoration.

Michael Hampton

20/01/15 – 06:37

A remarkable survivor, Nigel.
Birmingham also had some 1930 AEC Regents with rare Vulcan bodies, also with piano fronts. They are so similar to the Met Camm design, they might well all have been built to Birmingham’s specification.

Chris Hebbron

20/01/15 – 12:03

Chris, I had forgotten the Vulcan’s (7) – OG 409-443, H27/21R. 1930 seems to have been an ‘experimental’ year for BCT with Bodies by Guy, MCCW, Short and English Electric!

Nigel Edwards

20/01/15 – 12:48

I risk boring the socks off the more knowledgeable among us, but, further to my theory that 1930 was an ‘experimental year? I did a bit more digging. Indeed there were three strange vehicles loaned to BCT which were allocated 94, 96, 98 fleet numbers : Crossley Condor, Crossley Body. Guy FCX66, Hall Lewis body, and Vulcan Emperor with Brush Body. I had not realised BCT had been so adventurous!

Nigel Edwards

21/01/15 – 11:36

Further to Ian’s comments, I don’t know about the engine, but I think it likely that it had an oil engine latterly. Although it is still basically the original body I am sure that it had some refurbishment after the war as did most of Westcliff’s older vehicles. The sliding ventilator will not be original, and I would think these will date from the refurbishment.

Brian Pask

21/01/15 – 15:09

It has to be said, Brian, that those upstairs ventilators are enormous, taking up half the window space!

Chris Hebbron


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Sheffield Corporation – AEC Regent I – DWB 27 – 27

Sheffield Corporation - AEC Regent I - DWB 27 - 27
Copyright Unknown

Sheffield Corporation
AEC Regent I
Weymann H55R

Quite a few of Sheffield’s Regent 1 intake of 1937/8 with both original and rebuilt bodies survived up to around 1960 with the majority being withdrawn in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. One such survivor was No. 27 registration DWB 27, a Weymann bodied H55R example. This machine was new in 1937 and survived until 1958 in original form. To achieve 21 years in normal service in Sheffield’s hilly terrain was no mean feat and unsurprisingly at the time of withdrawal, 27 was one of Sheffield’s oldest service buses albeit probably mainly used on peak time extras and school runs in later life.

Sheffield Corporation - AEC Regent I - EWB 657 - 357
Copyright John Darwent

More Regent 1 examples of a somewhat more modest lifespan were No. 357 registration EWB 657 and 353 registration EWB 653 both of 1938 vintage with Cravens H55R bodywork pictured here in 1953 at Sheffield Midland Station between duties. I am unsure whether 353 had been modernised in some way as there is a difference in appearance between the vehicles and I have another image of 353 showing sliding toplights on both decks of a later era than the drop down windows of other Cravens vehicles of the batch.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Darwent

21/08/14 – 09:08

With the exception of the war-time Corporation (Queens Road) bodied Regents, these were the only pre-war Regents not bodied by Weymann. I was eight in 1960 but do not remember seeing any pre-war AECs in service – apart, possibly, from the Roe re-bodies. 657 is a Cravens in original condition, 653 at the very least has a modified front if not totally rebuilt.
This area in front of Midland Station was until the early 1950s used by C fleet routes (out of town) and possibly some B fleet as well. Buses awaiting service were parked, like 653 and 657, against the pavement which divided the area from the road.

David Oldfield

21/08/14 – 10:57

Lovely photos of the Regent I which always make my heart beat a little faster! Why is there a space fillet between body and rad on 27? Was a slightly shorter body fitted later or what? I imagine it wasn’t re-engined with a Gardner 6LW engine!!!
Photo 2 shows the typical unmatching front wings, so prevalent at this time! I also notice that the matching height headlamps lf 353 do not apply to 657.

Chris Hebbron

21/08/14 – 12:45

Sheffield continued to specify the 8.8 litre engines after the "7.7" had become standard. Maybe this explains the space fillet.

David Oldfield

21/08/14 – 15:28

FWA 900
Copyright Unknown

I think the radiator fillet was a general feature on all the Regent 1’s Chris, even the Roe rebuilds.

John Darwent

22/08/14 – 06:42

The extended bonnet as seen on these Sheffield Regents was standard for the 8.8 litre engine. This originally was the A165 indirect injection unit, but later, under pressure from the LPTB, became the A180 direct injection motor with Leyland style pot cavity pistons. The 6LW was even longer than the AEC 8.8, as may be seen on pictures of the London LT types and Huddersfield Regals so fitted. I suspect that the Sheffield examples were of the 8.8 indirect injection variety. Incidentally, I am intrigued by the picture of the two Regents parked side by side. How on earth did the driver of EWB 653 get out of the cab?

Roger Cox

22/08/14 – 08:20

Aye, there’s a bit of Sheffield black magic there, Roger.
The Roe re-build bodies replaced Cravens bodies – which were, I would guess, of suspect build quality. This might also explain the modification/rebuild of 653.

David Oldfield

22/08/14 – 18:11

Good point re the driver’s door Roger. I have examined the original photo taken with my highly unsophisticated Brownie 127 way back when and there is no trickery. Another photo of 353 reveals an ordinary opening door – no sliding conversion – of course, if the cab had similar characteristics to my old Austin Mini, then the driver could have exited through the floorpan!

John Darwent

22/08/14 – 18:11

Well, either he got out before EWB657 reversed into place (people sometimes do that to me in supermarket car parks!) – or, to misquote the famous Yorkshire tale, "Ee, ‘e were thin!"

Stephen Ford

23/08/14 – 16:32

CWJ 406
Copyright Unknown

Here’s an eclectic selection of Sheffield Corporation gems dominated by Regent 1’s, seen on the Pond Street bus park in the early 50’s.
306 – 1938 Regent 1/Weymann CWJ 406
471 – 1941 Regent 1/Northern Counties HWA 51
496 – 1944 Daimler CWA6/Duple
    4 – 1938 All Leyland TD5c EWJ 304
438 – 1940 Regent 1/Weymann GWE 658
474 – 1942 All Leyland TD7 HWA 384

John Darwent

29/08/14 – 15:25

I used to live by Brammall Lane, but went to school at Anns Rd. Heeley. To go to school I had a choice of 33 Hemsworth, (Regent 3 Cravens bodywork), 34 Graves Park, (Regent 3 Northern Coachbuilders), 35 Hollythorpe Rise, (Regent 3 Weymann). All had pre selector gearbox.
However, there was a duplicate route 36 to Heeley Green. This was the original route of 1913, extended to Graves Park in 1926. You could have single, double decker’s or lowdeckers, pre or post war. It did not have a destination name, as these were all removed in WW2, & after that, there was no such route.
The reason I loved this route so much, was it had to make a steep hill start at Anns Road stop. If it was not a pre selector box but a crash box, I would stay on the bus to Heeley Green. They would set off in 1st, but by the time they engaged 2nd,the bus had come to a stop. They then repeated the process many times to get to the top of the hill. I chuckled inside, many of the conductors also, as the driver got more & more frustrated. It made me late for school. Of course I blamed the buses for making me late, but it was worth it.
Would someone explain how the pre selector box works please?

Andy Fisher

29/08/14 – 15:28

Andy To start with try this. it may be a bit slow to load.



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