Old Bus Photos

Blue Bus Services – Daimler COG5-40 – GNU 750

 Blue Bus Services – Daimler COG5-40 – GNU 750
Copyright Ken Jones

Blue Bus Services
Daimler COG5-40
Willowbrook C35F

GNU 750 is a Daimler COG5-40 (8485) with Willowbrook (3208) C35F body, and dates from 1939. It is preserved in the livery of Blue Bus Services (Tailby & George) who were based at Willington in Derbyshire. You’ll find more history on this company at Stephen Howarths website.

The above site includes this paragraph
Since the untimely deaths of their spouses in 1955 & 1958 respectively, the company had been run by Mr. Tailby & Mrs. George. Percy Tailby died in 1956 leaving Katherine George as sole proprietor until her death in 1965. Tailby & George Ltd. then passed to Douglas & Bunty Marshall, the latter being the daughter of the Tailbys. By the 1970’s public transport was in a state of serious decline. The railways had been decimated by Beeching and the majority of the bus industry was either nationalised (i.e. Trent) or in the hands of the local council, as in Derby and Burton. Small independent companies like Tailby & George faced fierce competition from the bigger companies. On 1st December 1973, the then proprietors of the company,
Mr. & Mrs. Marshall made the decision to retire. After much speculation the operation of the Blue Bus Service passed from Tailby & George Ltd to the Derby Corporation.
GNU 750_cu

This vehicle was part of The Quantock Motors collection but Stephen Morris is down sizing and selling many of his vehicles. This one was for sale in June 2011 for £25,000. It has been sold to Lithuania. You can see pictures of it in Lithuania here http://fotobus.msk.ru/ It appears that the coach will operate from central Kaunas to Urmas, which is a massive out of town shopping complex.
The above picture was taking in April 2010 when the vehicle was in service on the Quantock Motors gala weekend. It is seen at Bishop’s Lydeard entering the Quantock Motors site. Note the Blue Bus Services badge on the radiator.

Photograph Ken Jones, Copy Ken Jones & Stephen Howarth

25/01/13 – 06:59

What a gem. For English on the link, press the little union flag top right.


25/01/13 – 09:48

What a beautiful coach. Strange, though, that it only had the 5-cylinder Gardner engine. I wish it well in Lithuania, but admit to some qualms about such loving care being lavished on it. Fingers crossed!

Chris Hebbron

25/01/13 – 12:36

The CVD6 was the most common post-war coach, and then the CVG6. How common was the COG6 before the war, though? Until the Regent III/PD2 era, the 7 litre 5LW was thought adequate for single deckers. Only Tilling parsimony allowed the 5LW to flourish after the war.

David Oldfield

25/01/13 – 14:58

It seems a shame that this gem as Joe calls it is no longer in the country where I presume it spent the last sixty odd years, another loss to the UK.
Very nice shot by the way, never seen that done with a bus before.

Trevor Knowles

25/01/13 – 17:27

A couple of other shots of this coach may be found in the 1968 Halifax Parade gallery, when the livery was slightly different. The 8.6 litre Daimler CD6 engine proved to be less than dependable for double deck work, and became instead the standard option for CV saloons up to the early 1950s. Post WW2, the 5LW engine was certainly not restricted to Bristol buses. Daimler offered a CVG5 variant which was taken by several operators. The 5LW was specified for many Guy Arab III machines, single and double deck, and it appeared in Dennis and Tilling Stevens buses also. In addition, this engine was offered in several makes of goods chassis, and for marine and industrial purposes. The 5LW did not depend upon Bristol for its post war survival. In its final form as the 5LW/20 it developed 100bhp at 1700 rpm, though, by that time, it was no longer offered in bus chassis.

Roger Cox

26/01/13 – 06:44

Bullocks of Featherstone (B&S Motor Services) – taken over by West Riding in 1950 – had five of this identical model Daimler (COG5/40), but managed to squeeze 39 seats into their Willowbrook bodies. The first, BWW 475 (202) was in fact a 1936/37 Commercial Show model. They were fine vehicles spoilt by the somewhat excessive engine vibration which necessitated body rebuilds after the war.

David Allen

26/01/13 – 06:45

Bodywork was generally lighter before the war than after, and the COG5 was Daimler’s most popular model for both single and double deck vehicles. Manchester’s COG5 double deckers were very successful, and so unsurprisingly their first postwar Daimlers were CVG5s. But with an unladen weight of around 8 tons these were less satisfactory, so CVG6s were then purchased until lighter bodywork became available in the mid-fifties (together with some lightweight chassis features arising from the development of the CLG5). CVG5s were then tried again, but were beaten by changed traffic conditions, so MCTD reverted to six-cylinder engines for the final batches.

Peter Williamson

Michael Elliott

GNU 750 as an example of the COG5-40 had a more compact engine compartment and cab that the standard COG5. The 40 in the designation denoted the ability to accommodate 40 passengers. GNU also had a five speed gearbox. I drove this bus on several occasions during the early 1970s when it was in the ownership of John Horrocks.

Michael Elliott

26/01/13 – 13:57

This is a very interesting view, Ken – thanks for posting. It reminds me of the "selective" tinting of school photographs in my primary school days. They were taken in black and white but could be enhanced on payment of a supplement.
I’ve heard of – but don’t use – Photoshop. Is that program how you achieved this?

Pete Davies

26/01/13 – 15:47

There are several programs that will do this sort of task, Pete. Photoshop is the top of the range product for professional artshops and advertising agencies, and is extremely expensive – around £600. Cheaper alternatives are available, including Photoshop Elements and a free program called GIMP. I have an old Photoshop version and also the latest Serif Photoplus X6, which will do most of the things that most of us will need.

Roger Cox

27/01/13 – 08:06

Thanks for that, Roger. The program I use came with the slide scanner I bought a few years ago when converting my slides to digital. It’s called Photoimpression 6. I still use it for editing the digital photos: no point in buying one when I have one in hand!

Pete Davies

27/01/13 – 08:07

Or you could download the free program Photofiltre or use online photo editor Sumopaint, Pete.

Chris Hebbron

04/02/13 – 11:52

I was present on the 1st of May for this running day at Bishops Lydeard and was delighted to see GNU 750 being started up and brought into the ‘bus station’. The run went to Hestercombe House and Gardens but most of the gentlemen aboard (some eight or so of us) preferred to stand around the coach rather than visit the house and gardens.

GNU 750_2

There was some playing around with the destination indicator and, as my photograph shows, some details of the coach were displayed. Would it have been usual practice – by Daimler, if no-one else – to include such information at the beginning or end of their destination rolls? Much as I enjoyed the run, a ride on the ex-Royal Blue Bristol L coach HOD 30 a little later proved to be a more luxurious affair.

Berwyn Prys Jones

05/02/13 – 07:05

The Daimler message on the destination blind will almost certainly have been added during preservation. In any case, the destination blind would not have been provided by Daimler, who only built the chassis.
Mention of "GNU 750 being started up" takes me back to Battersea Park May 1969, prior to the start of the HCVC London to Brighton run. GNU’s chief supporters were up bright and early, sprucing and polishing. I was tasked with taking the ‘tender vehicle’, ex Samuel Ledgard 2-stroke Foden ONW 2, across the bridge to pick up the rest of the party from their hotel. The only problem was that ONW’s exhaust pipe was pointing straight at the now gleaming GNU, and a cold start in that position would have resulted in a large deposit of soot! So GNU had to be started up and moved out of the way first. Funny how things stick in the mind.

Peter Williamson

05/02/13 – 17:42

A couple of shots of Foden ONW 2 may be seen on the ‘Halifax Parade 1968’ gallery. Sadly, this interesting vehicle has since fallen victim to the breaker’s torch.

Roger Cox

07/02/13 – 17:03

Thanks, Peter, I half-suspected as much, but hadn’t seen anything like it on the other preserved buses in the Stephen Morris collection. One wonders why it was put there and only there.

 GNU 750_3
You mentioned starting up. I happened to be inside the depot when another of the Stephen Morris collection was being fired up (almost literally). Just out of sight, a driver had started the engine of the lovely ex-East Kent Leyland Tiger. The whole of the southern half of the shed was gradually enveloped in a fog of white dust (photo attached). As there was no wind, the dust hung round the place creating a rather eerie atmosphere with only the noise of the Tiger’s engine to remind me that I hadn’t been transported to an unhealthy underworld somewhere …

Berwyn Prys Jones

08/02/13 – 06:45

This picture reminds me of Percy Main depot on winter mornings. The garage staff had a cold start technique that required two men and a diesel soaked rag tightly wrapped around a stout piece of wood. The rag would be set alight, one of the staff would then turn over the engine while the other would hold the lighted rag at the end of the canister like air filter. Gardener engines are notoriously smoky when cold, and when you have several of them ticking over at once, the exhaust fumes would be billowing out of the open garage doors giving many a passer by the impression that the place was on fire.

Ronnie Hoye

08/02/13 – 09:07

I recall, in the early ’60’s, going on a fortnight’s course in Brum and staying in digs next to Harborne Depot. Come 4.45am, every morning, there would be the cacophony of bus engines being started, ticking over, then driving out. It’s a wonder I ever succeeded at the course with lack of sleep! I lived near a trolleybus depot for some years – what bliss!

Chris Hebbron

08/02/13 – 16:23

GNU 750_4

At the risk of going severely ‘off piste’, this photo of an ex-Crosville L parked just to the right of the vehicles in my previous photo may evoke the atmosphere at the depot even more vividly.

Berwyn Prys Jones

10/02/13 – 07:45

Berwyn, GNU 750 has been in preservation for a long time under several owners. Here it is in 1979 with the same blind. www.flickr.com/photos

Peter Williamson

08/12/17 – 07:08

In 2011 bought by private person and exported to Kaunas city, Lithuania: http://busphoto.ru/photo/209576/


09/12/17 – 07:33

A nice photograph Andrejs but I note that it’s dated 2014. I wonder if the vehicle looks the same now!

Chris Barker


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Coventry Corporation – Daimler COG5 – EVC 244 – 244

Coventry Corporation - Daimler COG5G - EVC 244 - 244

Coventry Corporation - Daimler COG5G - EVC 244 - 244
Copyright Ken Jones

Coventry Corporation Transport  
Daimler COG5/40
Park Royal B38F

This bus was new in 1940, as fleet number 244, and sold on to Derby Corporation in 1949 where it took fleet number 47. Being non-standard in Derby, it was used mainly for driver training. Passing to Derby Museums, it was off the road from 1979 onwards. In 2009 it was placed on long term loan to Roger Burdett in return for restoration, and it returned to the road in the Spring of 2012. Roger has had the vehicle immaculately restored into Coventry Corporation Transport livery both inside and out and looks as good as the day it was delivered if not better. This is the first time in 63 years that it has carried this livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.

30/10/12 – 15:23

This vehicle is scheduled to be at the Lincoln rally this coming Sunday 04/11 along with Coventry Double Decker 334.

Ken Jones

31/10/12 – 08:49

Coventry = Daimler buses (well, usually!) and Roger Burdett = outstanding restoration. What more needs to be said?

Pete Davies

31/10/12 – 10:23


David Oldfield

31/10/12 – 17:31

What a Wonderful livery, an Excellent paint job makes you feel you could put your hand into it. The interior is just as good with a lovely clean ceiling.

David J Henighan

02/11/12 – 07:30

All of Roger Burdetts buses & coaches all excellently restored to a good finish
Also Ken Jones for his photographs he’s taken of Rogers vehicles.

Steve Jillings

05/11/12 – 15:17

An excellent event at Lincoln yesterday, despite the cloudy and sometimes wet weather.

Geoff Kerr

05/11/12 – 15:55

I meant to say I rode on it into Lincoln. Another website gives the seating as B38F, a high figure for a half-cab; 35 is more usual. but there wasn’t much legroom!

Geoff Kerr

Thanks Geoff I have filled in the ??s, it is a bit high isn’t it.

15/11/12 – 14:57

Coventry were renowned for pushing seating to the limit. The CVAs from 1947 had 60 seats and CVGs in the late 50s were up at 63.
The COG seating is tight 38 seats in a 26ft vehicle is nearly unique. Lack of seat comfort is why I am unlikely to take it to rallies outside the Midlands.

Roger Burdett

15/11/12 – 15:51

Is it not a COG5/40, the variant single deck Daimler with a very compact cab/engine section, so designed to gain maximum (40 = 40 seats) seating capacity, and only fitted with a Gardner "5"?
Coventry had finalised the design configuration for a 60 seat 4 wheel double decker by 1939, although Daimler were also developing a 6 wheel double deck chassis, the COG6/60 as a 60 seater (plus) for Leicester, when war broke out.
Back to the COG5/40 this was readily identified by its vertical radiator, when the contemporary deckers had sloping radiators, and was represented in several fleets, Lancaster being one.
One of the most attractive preserved buses I have ever seen, and I am still sorry I could not make the recent Lincoln event to see it!

John Whitaker

15/11/12 – 16:52

A good number of North Western pre and immediate post war Bristols previously with 31 and 35 seats were rebodied by Willowbrook in the early 1950s and received 38 seats in their new bodies. Though the chassis were lengthened to 27ft 6ins they were hardly the most comfortable of vehicles.

Phil Blinkhorn

16/11/12 – 15:42

In answer to John’s question it is a COG5/40 but I am not sure the 40 referred to seat numbers

Roger Burdett

I have changed the code adding /40.

17/11/12 – 07:08

John Whitaker is correct. According to the ever reliable Alan Townsin in his book on the Daimler marque, the ’40’ did refer to the potential seating capacity of the COG5/40, but this optimistic figure was achieved only by two buses built for Lancaster Corporation in 1936, which had a rearward facing seat for five at the front. Several bodybuilders achieved a capacity of 39, however, though one imagines that legroom would have been decidedly constrained. As John has accurately stated, the engine was always a 5LW behind a vertical radiator which lacked a fan (the Gardner was always a cool runner), and the engine bay and bonnet assembly was thereby reduced in length to 3ft 11.5inches, a full 8 inches less than that of the COG5 double decker.

Roger Cox

17/11/12 – 08:45

Derby Line up

I thought Roger and others might like to see the attached photograph of a vintage line-up.
It was taken at Derby’s Ascot Drive depot on 29th November 1970. We had travelled down in preserved Oldham Crossley 368 (FBU 827) – a vehicle I was to later own for some years – to collect Derby Crossley 111 (CRC 911), which had just been bought for preservation by Mike Howarth. This was, with the possible exception of Joseph Wood’s example, the last Crossley double-decker in service and also had one of the last Brush bodies built.
A small hand-over ceremony was arranged with the Fleet Engineer at Derby, John Horrocks, who was himself an enthusiast and preservationist and owned Derby Daimler 27 (ACH 627), which is the fourth vehicle in this line up after Roger’s Coventry Daimler.
Happily all four vehicles still exist today although it saddens me greatly that Oldham 368 hasn’t been on the road since about eight months after this picture was taken. Fortunately for a 1950 bus I believe it has yet to spend a first night outdoors, remarkably it has always been kept under cover. The corrosion in this case started bottom up, with combatting the effects of road salt being the main focus of all the work I did on it.
Incidentally, the chassis numbers of these two Oldham and Derby Crossleys were just three apart.

David Beilby

17/11/12 – 14:34

A splendid picture, David. I have a tremendous respect for those such as you who take on the huge task of bus preservation. Only those who have tried it can truly appreciate the effort, expense and dedication involved. We are all the richer for the results.

Roger Cox

17/11/12 – 16:05

…..and so say all of us, Roger.

David Oldfield

EVC 244_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

06/02/14 – 08:35

What a joy it was to see the photo’s of Coventry buses. As an ex employee before nationalisation, I’m now retired and moved back to COV after spending time with Midland Red and East Kent (Office & Platform) I am trying to obtain a fleet list for Coventry Transport for the period 1955 to when it became West Midland. If anyone can help I would be most grateful.
I will be posting an article on Pool Meadow in the 50’s and 60’s, which was where all bus enthusiasts of every age spent there leisure time. Anyone who was around at that time,I would be pleased to share our memories.


07/02/14 – 06:47

You can find a complete list of every CCT bus from 1914 to 1974 at http://www.cct-society.org.uk/corporation/buses.htm.



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Newcastle Corporation – Daimler COG5 – HTN 222 – ?

HTN 22_crop_lr

HTN 222_lr
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Newcastle Corporation
Daimler COG5
Northern Coachbuilders H56R

What looks like a pre delivery photo of three Daimlers for Newcastle Corporation, “note the blue light to the side of the destination blind” this has been commented on before on this site. Going by the registrations I would say they were built in the late 1930s, and to be honest if I were shown a picture of one of these in a different location I wouldn’t be able to say who the bodybuilder was, but I think the name on the building may be a clue.


What on earth were they thinking of with the front wing and the headlights? They look as if someone remembered them about ten minutes before they were due to leave the factory and they were stuck on as an afterthought, for me they completely spoil the look of what is otherwise a rather handsome vehicle. I don’t know anything about them, maybe someone can provide information for the ‘?s’. But if I’m right about the date they would almost certainly ‘or the chassis would’ have still been around until about the early to mid fifties.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

06/06/12 – 07:50

Yes, good looking vehicles, spoiled by the apparent afterthought of where to place the headlamps. Then again, perhaps they did omit the headlamps entirely, as these are where most folk would expect the fog lights.

Pete Davies

06/06/12 – 07:51

HTN 231, 233, presumably from the same batch of 1939 NCB bodied COG5s, finished up in 1956 with the LCBER bus fleet.
See my recent post, and fleet list on the subject

John Whitaker

06/06/12 – 07:52

This picture appears in Alan Townsin’s book "Daimler", where it is credited to the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Libraries. The photo was taken in June 1939, and shows the first three of a batch of 18 COG5 machines with Northern Coachbuilders bodies, which were followed by two more with Northern Counties bodies. This batch of 20 brought the total number of COG5 buses in the Newcastle fleet up to 71, the highest number outside Birmingham at that time.

Roger Cox

06/06/12 – 07:52

From the registration number this looks like the same series as the two mentioned in the recently posted fleet list of Llandudno & Colwyn Bay vehicles (Nos. 1 and 2).

Stephen Ford

06/06/12 – 11:38

Bus headlamps are a fascinating topic to study. Several operators in the late thirties decided that low mooted headlamps or maybe fog lamps were more effective for smog conditions in many of the major cities. The first LPTB RT AECs had no main headlamps in the traditional place, and similarly Coventry had some Daimler COG5s with only low mounted lights similar to the Newcastle COG5s.

Richard Fieldhouse

06/06/12 – 11:38

I gather from photos published elsewhere that it was not until January 1949 that legislation specified how the headlights had to be placed. Nottingham favoured low-down "driving lamps" like this from 1935 and only modified them when the law changed. Did it improve visibility in fog? We tend to forget that headlights were not used routinely on (reasonably) well-lit city roads until comparatively recently. I wonder how practical they were when fitted with blackout shutters during the war? I have also seen (possibly on this site – not sure) buses with the two headlights mounted at different heights.

Stephen Ford

06/06/12 – 17:34

I cannot remember where, Stephen, but you are right about asymmetrical headlight siting.
Interesting to see these NCB bodies. They bear no resemblance to those I came to know post-war in Sheffield. They are quite a well balanced design and it seems a pity that they were abandoned after the war.
I have wondered, occasionally, whether the post-war design was deliberately similar to Weymann. (There is a vague similarity, and NCB’s order for about 40 bodies on various chassis was primarily to fill in for the fact that Weymann did not have the capacity to fulfil all its orders at that time.)

David Oldfield

06/06/12 – 19:42

Rather a splendid frontage to the NCB factory, which I’m rather surprised no one in this posting has picked up on.
Don’t suppose it has survived.

Eric Bawden

06/06/12 – 20:02

Long gone I’m afraid, Eric, but the Mill is still there but missing the top

Ronnie Hoye

08/06/12 – 17:15

Headlamp heights: the classic example is the early post war Morris Minor which pictures show with headlamps tucked in at the side of the radiator grille: then they had to be lifted into two fairings in the wings. The early Hillman Imp had excessive toe in on the front wheels to lift the headlamps- it is said: someone miscalculated, I assume.
Those old headlamps (CAV?) really did dip- the outer one just went out, often leaving the inner directed at the kerb. Consequently, the outer lamp was rarely used. Nowadays these would be foglamps, which was possibly the idea- or perhaps it avoided awkward brackets. The mudguards suggest quite some travel on the front suspension!


08/06/12 – 17:16

To try and answer David’s query about post-war NCB body design, one has to look-back to the war period. NCB was designated by the Ministry of War Transport to supply only re-bodies. In late 1944 the LPTB was directed to order 20 bodies for their war-damaged AEC and Leyland trolleybuses. NCB delivered a body similar to the pre-war style of LPTB trolleybus in late 1945 and all were delivered by mid 1946. These NCB bodied trolleybuses had a suffix C after their fleet number.

In June 1946 Bradford Corporation received their first of six NCB re-bodied 1934/35 AEC 661Ts (607, 614, 615, 616, 621 & 622). These bodies closely resembled the London C suffix trolleybuses and the back views were almost identical such as the emergency upper deck window and the platform window. The front windows however were more of the utility body style with opening vents and a result referred to as semi-utility. A rear view of 607 is appended. From this unique NCB semi-utility design emerged the standard NCB Mark 2 body by late 1946. This type was then seen in many towns and cities on both new and old chassis. This NCB body had an improved, more rounded front style and a reduced rear platform window but a similar LPTB rear upper -deck window shape. This may explain the link in NCB design with LPTB MCCW, Weymann and BRCW trolleybus bodies.

Richard Fieldhouse

08/06/12 – 18:00

Thanks Richard. Logical and highly likely.

David Oldfield

The links below are to comments that were updated at 18:20

Richard`s explanation is succinct and clear. It was obviously an easier design move, to develop the Bradford Mk1 "semi" design into what became the standard post war style.
What I would also like to know is whether the pre-war style, as used by Newcastle, Aberdare and others , was a metal framed design. If so, there is another reason for going down the "London rebody" route, as the post war style of NCB body, well known in so many fleets, was a composite product.
Another interesting aspect about this company, is their adoption of an "ECW" style about 1950, which superseded the standard type. Trolleybuses for Cleethorpes, and Mark 111s for Newcastle refer.
After the post war boom, aided by the failure of EEC to re-enter the market, NCB collapsed, and were wound up c.1951.
Published literature refers to the company operating in a converted aircraft hanger. Is this the same building as the one shown in the header photograph?

It may be interesting to also point out that NCB built significant numbers of Park Royal designed utility bodies on wartime Guys for London Transport.

John Whitaker

09/06/12 – 07:46

John, the building in the photo was on Claremont Road in the Spital Tongues area, and overlooked Hunters Moor and Exhibition Park, I think the aircraft hanger you refer to was in Cramlington which is about 7 miles north of Newcastle.

Ronnie Hoye

09/06/12 – 07:47

John the reason for the ECW clone – with strangely unbalanced and unequal bays – was that someone from ECW management went to NCB just before they folded. The reason that they folded was that their owner/principal shareholder died and the death duties did for the company. Interestingly, the machinery and raw materials were bought by Charles H Roe – and, one assumes, used subsequently for their own production. Doubly interesting since there is no record of Roe bodies being iffy but the NCB composites had a quite dreadful reputation – especially for the frames sagging in middle and later life. Sad since I thought Sheffield’s last batch, MWB 1950 Regent III, were quite handsome.

David Oldfield

09/06/12 – 07:48

The ‘ECW style’ Northern Coachbuilders bodies supplied to Cleethorpes on BUT trolleybuses and Newcastle on AEC Regents followed the appointment of Mr B W Bramham as General Manager at NCB. Prior to his move to NCB Mr Bramham at been at ECW since 1936 and before that he had been at Charles Roe’s.
I understand that NCB offered both wooden and metal framed bodies. Many of the wooden framed bodies suffered from poor quality timber, which caused them to look ‘down at heel’ in later life.

Michael Elliott

09/06/12 – 12:10

You are correct, David, when you refer to sagging NCB bodies!
Although Bradford`s 1947/8 regent IIIs lasted until 1962/3, I have this abiding memory of curved waist rails! Strangely though, contemporary bodies on the rebodied 1934/5 AEC trolleybuses never demonstrated this feature! But that, perhaps, is an indication of the superiority of electric traction! (half joking!)

John Whitaker

09/06/12 – 17:40

I read somewhere that someone from NCB went to work for Barnard, and that Barnard then produced a few bodies to NCB design. But when was this, and which NCB design? Or did I dream that?

Peter Williamson

11/06/12 – 15:09

Bradford also had 6 1950 Daimler CVD6s, with Barnard bodies, Peter, and I too heard from somewhere that there was an NCB connection. The body plates on Bradford`s Barnard Daimlers referred to "Barnard Norfolk Ironworks"….I remember it well, so whether they were composite or not, I have no idea.
I have not seen photographs of identical vehicles in other fleets, although I understand there were some, and there was a vague resemblance to the NCB design.
Again, I have memories of buses with curved waist rails towards the end of their BCT lives, but all 6 were sold on for further service in 1959.

John Whitaker

22/09/14 – 14:40

The reason for the very low down head lights or fog lights (often NOTEK!) on our lovely old buses was that in the 30s and 40s we had in both the north Newcastle and Leeds etc as well as London extreme smog!
This was a really lethal mixture of coal fire and industrial smoke from foundries and steel furnaces etc (all moved to China now!) with very high levels of soot in it and then heavy fog to hold it down and stop it dissipating easily!
I have experienced smog in Leeds and London where the services were stopped it was so bad and the conductors had to guide the drivers of the buses back to the depots with make shift flares and torches!
That’s the reason for the low down bus lighting to try and prevent glareback and focus what light came through on to the near side kerb!
The clean air act changed all this and then now all heavy industry emigrated to China!

Stuart Beveridge

13/10/15 – 06:38

Yesterday Purchased Geoff Burrows and Bob Kell’s book on NCB published this year, it is very good. It also answers various of the points here; the utility drawings were originally provided by Park Royal and NCB did assemble and finish some PRV frames on Guy Arab MoS for London Transport.
However the post-war series 1 design was based on NCB’s own wartime frame. When the team working on it were designing it they worked empirically by adjusting the drawings of the initial Bradford trolleybuses, lowering the lower deck waist-rail and then producing a more curved back until somebody in the drawing office realised it was looking almost identical to a 1939 Weymann; that’s when the trademark upper-deck front windows and the LT derived emergency exit were added; the rebodies for Northern were in build as the last of the Bradford trolleys were being completed and the design lasted until 1951.
All NCB bus and coach bodies with a few exceptions were composite, those exceptions being the initial Newcastle corporation Daimler COS4 single-deckers and the Guy Arabs exported to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) although William Bramham would have moved to metal framing had the business continued.
Sam Smith who founded the company also owned Rington’s tea, Smiths Electric Vehicles and a cardboard packaging frim called Cut-Outs (Cardboard) Ltd as well as a stake in Domestos.
The company wasn’t liquidated and the name was used for mobile shops etc built at the Smith Electric Vehicles place on Team Valley as well as coachwork repairs and sign-painting at Haymarket. The Claremont Coachworks building was sold to Newcastle Co-Operative society and the stock in trade and Machinery to Charles H Roe to pay Sam Smith’s death duties; of the staff made redundant some went to Saunders Roe, most notably Mr Bramham.
The Barnard bodies were based on the NCB series one but were even more prone to degradation. The chief designer and his head draughtsman left NCB after an order for BET single-deckers ended up being badly delayed leading to a partial cancellation and also ended up costing NCB money.The Leyland Tigers for Yorkshire Traction and Stratford Blue were due in 1947 and the last did not arrive until 1949. The people concerned joined Barnard in 1948. It was not so long after the ECW was nationalised; resulting in a sales ban and Mr Bramham joining NCB.
The draughtsman ended his career as managing Director of Bus Bodies South Africa.
The low-level driving lights were also used by United and the Northern Group

Stephen Allcroft

14/10/15 – 07:15

Apologies, a slight misreading of Messrs Kell and Burrows’ book and thus an apology. The Ceylon Guy Arabs were composite but teak rather than the usual oak and ash employed by NCB which would have been eaten away in months.
They were however built in an attempt to establish an export trade which would have then given them permits for steel and aluminium.

Stephen Allcroft

15/10/15 – 07:15

The mudguards maybe something to do with brake cooling which became an obsession with Manchester post war.

Phil Blinkhorn

16/10/15 – 06:02

There was something really obscene with death duties if it forced companies into liquidation, throwing employees into unemployment! I realise it was unwise for privately-owned companies like NCB and Ledgard not to become Ltd companies, but that’s not the point, for even smaller companies that didn’t warrant becoming Ltd companies would also have suffered.

Chris Hebbron


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 20th June 2018