Old Bus Photos

LUT – Guy Arab IV – 534 RTB – 43

534 RTB

Lancashire United Transport
Guy Arab IV 
MCCW H41/32R

534 RTB is a Guy Arab IV from the Lancashire United fleet, once considered by many to be the biggest of the Independents. Regular contributor to this site Neville Mercer, among others, disagrees. It has a Metropolitan Cammell body, to the H73R layout, and was new in 1961. We see it at Duxford on 29 September 1996.

534 RTB_2

Tis second view being of a close-up of the LUT Crest.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

26/01/17 – 10:30

Among my milder teenage dislikes were tin fronts, Orion bodies and (almost) all-over red liveries, but none of these three features detracts from the magnificence of this vehicle. The matchless reliability of this model and its sound-effects obviously also play a big part in its appeal. Sincere thanks to all that preserve and maintain Guy Arabs!

Ian Thompson

26/01/17 – 14:32

Thanks, Ian. The LUT fleet was something of an oddity in that the indicator layout – in the days I paid any attention to the fleet – was similar to Manchester’s while the livery was more or less in the style of London Transport: red and cream then, when LT went to red and a grey stripe, so did LUT. Finding that this has a MCCW body came as a bit of a surprise, too, because almost all the vehicles I’ve ever seen from their fleet (I know, someone’s going to correct me!) had Northern Counties bodies.

Pete Davies

27/01/17 – 06:27

Pete you are right, the majority of LUT’s Guy Arabs had Northern Counties bodies, both rear and forward entrance. I understand the copy Manchester destination arrangement was the result of a senior manager joining LUT from Manchester sometime in the 1950’s. The same gentleman brought preselect Daimlers into the fleet at the same time. The ‘squared off’ type of font was also used on the destination blinds just the same as Manchester. I always thought LUT was a ‘quality’ operation and although an independent had all the features of a big group company. Many of its routes were lengthy trunk services across what was then South Lancashire. Another operator sadly missed.

Philip Halstead

27/01/17 – 11:27

Thank you, Philip.

Pete Davies

27/01/17 – 11:29

Is this the same vehicle that was parked up in a garden at Greenodd, near Ulverston, Cumbria for quite while in the 1980s?

Larry B

30/01/17 – 07:19

Thanks Pete for posting this photograph.
43 was one of three of this batch allocated to Swinton Depot in the early 70’s (of the batch of ten) I have always thought that LUT gave this body order to MCW as a means of keeping NCME’s prices keen, as LUT were making yearly purchases of Arabs.
They were quite a problem to Guard on the heavier turns due to their total lack of handrails between the seat backs and the ceiling on both decks, when all NCME bodied Guys did have them. Later, when I became a Driver, I found them to be pretty much the same as all the other rear loading Guys, but by then, 43, 44 & 45 were on the part day only list, so were generally to be seen in Trafford Park on work services or peak hour duplicates, as their missing handrails proving unpopular at Swinton. Another of the batch at Atherton, 40 was involved in a pretty bad accident mid sixties and was rebodied by NCME as a front loader.
The unofficial notice in the cab read – dwarfs only! – as being an Arab Mk IV with a Mk V.
Style of body severely reduced head height in the cab!

Mike Norris

30/01/17 – 12:43

Thanks for your comments, Mike. As with any others of my photos on this site, if you’d like him to e-mail you a copy for your own records, our Editor has my permission to do so.

Pete Davies

01/02/17 – 17:03

I remember LUT single deckers running into Radcliffe Bus Station on the 25 service, I think it was. They were mostly Bristol REs with a few Seddons, some had Alexander bodywork with dual doors and all were in the red/grey colour scheme by that time (early 70s).

David Pomfret

02/02/17 – 06:24

As a follow-on the Peter D’s comments, Who vied with LUT as being considered the largest independent bus company at that time?

Chris Hebbron

02/02/17 – 08:23

Chris, I’d have said Barton or West Riding. Please note that Neville discounts West Riding as well, and for the same reasons: not owned by a family local to the area of operations (eg Fishwick) and with most directors based in London. On Neville’s reasoning, it’s Barton.

Pete Davies

02/02/17 – 13:37

I had always heard that Barton was second to LUT, but logically, I would suggest that "independent" had nothing to do with where the owners lived, but whether control was separate from the large groups – e.g. THC, BET. Obviously there was a large element of government control in these groups (and local government in municipal operators), but in today’s scenario I would also exclude the major groups like First, Stagecoach etc. as independents, even though they are free of government control.

Stephen Ford

03/02/17 – 06:12

Hello David,
You are correct about the 25 service to Radcliffe. The 25 and the 13 service to Whitefield were worked by Swinton depots RE,s in the main, both the Plaxton and the Alexander bodied Bristols were always first choice for these routes ( and the 11 and 17 too) their easy steering (in pre power steering made them so) they were just that little bit more nimble on the estate work around Harper Green. I enjoyed these routes as the stretch beyond Ringley was usually quiet and relatively scenic within the bounds of what scenery there was to see in South Lancashire ! Don’t get me wrong, I loved our Seddon RU,s but an RE was the master of these routes.

Mike Norris

03/02/17 – 14:12

Do I read this correctly, Mike? Someone claims to have LOVED the Seddon RU. I knew I shouldn’t have gone to that firm of opticians!!!!! It’s almost like one of the Hamble locals admitting to have watched ‘Howards Way’.

Pete Davies

04/02/17 – 07:15

Hello Pete,
Someone has not been keeping up with LUT and their Seddon RU,s!
Very definitely a great tool for us for on the hardest, longest, busiest one man route the 84. So highly considered that if one became faulty, the union had an understanding with management that if no other RU was available, a maximum of one round trip only was worked before another RU was found. Swinton depots were highly prized if you got one on any other route, great seat, great driving position, strong engine and good brakes.
LUT, were different from most others, with front radiator and full length cardan drive shaft hence their 31 foot six length. If you find a rear view, you will see the body extension. My particular favourite was 339, I would shunt others to gat that one out in the mornings! Yes there is lots in print, especially the Crosville ones, but ours were great.

Mike Norris

04/02/17 – 09:23

Well, as they say, one lives and learns!!! Thanks, Mike.

Pete Davies

05/02/17 – 07:40

Unfamiliar with all the variants on the Orion theme, I don’t know whether this example was significantly lighter than the NCME bodies and therefore chosen to help fuel consumption, as well as for the interesting reason Mike Norris gave: reminding NCME that they weren’t the only fish in the sea!
If the bodies were indeed true lightweights, the buses must have returned nearly 13 mpg.

Ian Thompson

05/02/17 – 09:31

Presumably this bus had the 6LX engine. The 6LW Dennis Lolines of Aldershot & District gave a fleet average of 13.5 mpg, and could turn in almost 16 mpg on the long rural runs, but A&D maintenance was of a very high standard. On the subject of the Orion body and its derivatives, I agree with Ian T – they’re horrible. The straight inward taper of the body sides gave the result a pin headed appearance exacerbated by the deep lower deck/shallow upper deck windows, and the crudity of the front/rear domes. The best examples by far were (again) the Aldershot & District examples which benefited from the lower build and the equal depth of the windows on both decks, and, unlike many (most?) Orions, the interior was equipped to a high standard. Nevertheless, MCW had earned a good reputation over the years for its metal bodywork framing, so presumably the Orion held together reasonably well in service.

Roger Cox

05/02/17 – 12:06

You raise an interesting point, Roger, with your comments. After Alder Valley was formed, from two opposite sides of the fence, one of which always ploughed its own furrow, which of the two management and maintenance regimes dominated?

Chris Hebbron

06/02/17 – 06:43

Chris, when Alder Valley was cobbled together by NBC in 1972, control and ‘management’ was concentrated at Reading. Thus, the worst and scruffiest of the Tilling operators, Thames Valley, subsumed the best of the BET companies, Aldershot & District. Standards didn’t just go downhill, they fell over a cliff. Mercifully, I moved away from Farnborough in 1975, and wasn’t present to witness the continued degeneration in the local public transport scene.

Roger Cox

06/02/17 – 06:44

This was the third and last order for Orion bodies by LUT. In 1955 Cyril Charles Oakham took over as General Manager. Coming from Manchester Corporation where he had been Chief Engineer, he was to make a number of changes, the first of which to order 24 Daimler CVG5s which arrived in 1956 with 61 seat Orion bodies. Obviously Oakham did not share his former boss’s antipathy to the Orion. These appeared in a revised livery of all over red apart from a single cream band above the lower deck windows, as was soon to appear at MCTD, and with the Manchester style number, via and destination box layout. His next change was to order PD3/4s and Daimler CSG6/30s as trolleybus replacements, the former with Orion, the latter with NCME bodies. The last Leyland, 657, was the highest fleet number used by LUT as the system started again at 1 with the first of six Plaxton bodied Reliances. The batch illustrated by the example above gave LUT a rare distinction of operating Orion bodies on chassis from three of the then major manufacturers. In between times, and thereafter, NCME continued to be favoured with orders for bodies and Guy predominated with Daimler later picking up some Fleetline orders which, had the Wulfrunian lived up to its billing, would not have been built. Why did Leyland, Daimler and MCW win the front engined vehicle orders from LUT? The evidence is that initially Oakham wanted a second string supplier for double decker chassis a la Manchester and NCME’s tenders were not always the most competitive.

Phil Blinkhorn

11/02/17 – 06:32

I like Seddon RUs so much I own one…
The LUT Arab at Greenodd was 166 I believe, it was painted as a Laurel and Hardy Museum bus and is stored at St Helens Transport Museum presently.

Paul Turner


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PMT – Guy Arab IV – SVT 942 – H542

PMT - Guy Arab IV - SVT 942 - H942

Potteries Motor Traction
Guy Arab IV
Weymann H32/26R

These vehicles were ordered by Northern General and diverted to PMT. The destination blind boxes were quickly converted to PMT spec. A very poor bus in performance and ride quality having a Gardener 5cyl engine. Best part about them was light steering and in the summer you could drive with the cab door open. Although reliable they never strayed far from the depot. I managed to do 42 mph once in one.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Michael Crofts

09/12/13 – 09:26

These had all gone by the time I was at PMT. Being highbridge I would imagine they were allocated to Newcastle Depot. I well remember the poor performance of the 1956 Daimler CVG5s but those later fitted with a 6LW were a much better bus.

Ian Wild

09/12/13 – 14:40

I think the Orion looks better on a traditional-radiator Guy Arab IV than on any other chassis. Michael: when you spoke of poor ride quality, was that just the vibration from the 5LW, or did they give a choppy ride as well? I’m curious because Aldershot & District had Orion bodies on one batch of their Dennis K4s and found that the spring settings that suited the heavier East Lancs batch very well had to be modified for the Orions.
Good to know that you found the steering light. I’ve read elsewhere that some drivers found Arab IV steering heavy, which in view of the excellence of Guy design at that time surprised me. A maintenance issue? Or was the light steering of this Potteries batch attributable to the lightness of the 5LW+Orion combination?
42 mph sounds pretty spectacular, by the way. I wonder whether these machines had a high final-drive ratio, which would yield wonderful fuel consumption on long, flat runs, but would certainly contribute to the impression of sluggishness on start-stop work.

Ian Thompson

09/12/13 – 17:32

Ian, I’ve just seen the photo and your comment about how the Orion looks and couldn’t agree more. I remember seeing these in the Newcastle areas (both Tyneside and the Potteries) as a boy and they always looked impressive. Somehow the solid colour scheme helps.

Phil Blinkhorn

09/12/13 – 17:55

Just a thought: I have read elsewhere that differences in steering characteristics between buses of the same type with different operators were sometimes caused by the fitting of different tyres.

Peter Williamson

10/12/13 – 06:44

Peter, different tyres certainly would make some difference.

Phil Blinkhorn

10/12/13 – 06:44

At PMT a white steering wheel denoted a highbridge bus. Did the NGT buses of this type have normal black steering wheels?

Ian Wild

10/12/13 – 06:45

The harsh ride was down to the suspension. At the time I think we were running on Firestone tyres at Newcastle Depot.

Michael Crofts

10/12/13 – 15:18

Does anyone know the location in this picture? I think the destination blind reads Newcastle via Garner Street.

Chris Barker

10/12/13 – 15:21

The means of indicating height or width to drivers (and bus wash operators) is a subject in itself. Sheffield and Chesterfield buses carried a letter W on the dash to indicate 8 feet width, but for whose benefit? Preserved Chesterfield 225 has a yellow steering wheel, which I was told indicated highbridge. Some Southend vehicles carried a red one – was this to indicate height or width?
Bristol Tramways/Omnibus fitted white steering wheels to their 8-foot wide buses to warn drivers not to take one over a narrow bridge across the harbour. ECOC and several other Tilling Group companies did the same but it cannot have been general Group policy as Thames Valley KSWs had a black one.

Geoff Kerr

10/12/13 – 15:21

I disagree, Michael, in my opinion the harsh ride was due to the poor construction and extreme lightness of the early Orion bodies. The second batch we had a Percy Main, FT 9003/7 were an improvement on the first ones, FT 7893/6, however, the 1956 Park Royal bodied Arab IV was a superb vehicle in every sense bar one, NGT still specified the 5LW rather than opting for the 6LW. Having said that, they could scale the North face of the Eiger if asked to do so. As for speed, I think they must have had a high ratio diff, as they could get up to around the fifty mark. White steering wheels? The only ones I can remember at Percy Main were on the Daimler Fleetlines.

Ronnie Hoye

11/12/13 – 07:04

SVT 942_2

Here is a picture of the Guy H542 when brand new

SVT 942_3

and also a picture of same having had a bit of a hard life.
(I do not own either picture)

Michael Crofts

11/12/13 – 08:09

Michael’s second photo reminds me that PMT’s vehicles in the mid to late 1960s often had a care worn, shabby look.

Phil Blinkhorn

12/12/13 – 07:13

The red Steering Wheels at Southend was to warn that the bus was a highbridge and therefore banned from services 7/8 which had very low railway bridges.

Philip Carlton

09/12/15 – 06:04

Chris Barker asked about location. This image is Trinity St in Hanley, opposite the then Odean Cinema. I regularly travelled this route in late 50s/ early 60s. Little did I know that a decade later I’d be driving for PMT, though from Stoke Depot.

David Knight


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Oldham Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – NBU 508 – 408

Oldham Corporation - Leyland Titan PD2 - NBU 508 - 408

Oldham Corporation
Leyland Titan PD2/20
Crossley H33/28R

This picture shows Ashton-under-Lyne Corporation Transport XTC 855 and Oldham Corporation Passenger Transport NBU 508 in Oldham’s Wallshaw Street Depot.

NBU 508_2

The photograph shows the cast fleet number plate that was a feature of the Oldham fleet at that time.
In this view 408s Coat of Arms is on the lower deck panel, until, like Ashton, they were moved to the front upper deck panels. This was to save the costs of replacement when damage occurred due to accidents.
The Service 3 was Middleton to Rushcroft.
408 was renumbered as 5308 in the SELNEC fleet in November 1969.
The picture shows the vast expanse of the roof of Wallshaw Street depot. The Garage roof having only 3 stanchions, supporting girders with spans of over 200ft.
Ashton XTC 855 was one of the Guy Arab IVs with Bond H32/28R bodywork delivered as No. 40 in 1956. Here it has Fleet No. 68 which it received in 1964. It was renumbered 5468 at the formation of SELNEC in November 1969.
It can be seen that the Corporation crest and lettering is in the normal position before being moved to the upper deck front panel (as shown in the photograph of No. 19 in Part One – Ashton under Lyne article by Phil Blinkhorn and Roger Cox).
It is in Oldham Garage, showing Service 8 which was the joint Oldham, Ashton, & SHMD service between Oldham and Stalybridge via Hurst Cross.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Howarth

12/09/13 – 16:30

Oldham 408 was numerically the first of five Leyland PD2/20 with Crossley bodies built to Park Royal design, after the takeover by the ACV group. Similar bodies were supplied to Ashton-Under-Lyne and Stockport Corporations at this time Crossley ceased body building soon after, although not before they had built the prototype Bridgemaster, which had many similarities to this body design. The Manchester independent A. Mayne and Son had three AEC Regent V with Park Royal bodywork to the same basic design (although in 30ft length.)
These bodies proved inferior to their contemporaries of other makes, and after takeover by Selnec PTE, 409 was overhauled and lasted in service until 1973, the rest of the batch were withdrawn in 1970.
Ashton-Under-Lyne Corporation was a Leyland User, and had only the one batch of Guy Arab IV’s. These were unusual in having exposed radiators and 5LW engines, as well as the relatively rare body make. I enjoyed several rides on these interesting buses from Ashton to Mossley, this route being their usual home.
I wonder why an Ashton bus was inside Oldham’s depot? At first I wondered if it was one of the many buses hired from other operators as a result of the disastrous visit by Ministry of transport inspectors in October 1965. However David Wayman’s book on Oldham buses states that there were no Ashton buses involved. Perhaps it had broken down in Oldham.

Don McKeown

13/09/13 – 06:30

An interesting photo of a neighbouring municipality’s vehicle interloping into the home fleet’s garage. I would venture this was a relatively rare occurrence in its day unless someone can enlighten us. The photo has made me realise what an attractive design the Bond bodies were in a fairly understated way. The Guy radiator looks a bit old fashioned and puts about 10 years on the body design though. The Birmingham tin front would have made them into really stunning buses. Bolton of course had similar bodies on exposed radiator Leyland PD2’s but somehow the Leyland radiator seemed to age much better and still looked good right up to the end of Titan production.

Philip Halstead

13/09/13 – 08:30

A number of points regarding Don’s comment. The Stockport PD2s with Crossley bodies to the same design didn’t have the same problems as the Oldham batch and some were sent to Oldham after SELNEC took over. As I’m away from home at present I can’t confirm actual vehicles used and the dates but the Stockport vehicles outlasted the Oldham and Ashton batches.
The Ashton Guys were specifically bought for the Mossley route – see my article on SELNEC Part One. They appeared on the 7 and 8 from time to time, both being regular Guy turns, more frequently operated with rebodied austerity Guys sporting 7 foot 6 in versions of the Crossley body shown in the picture.
What the bus is doing in the depot is a matter of conjecture. It certainly wasn’t a 1965 swap vehicle. A breakdown is possible but as there was always one of the batch spare and it may have been filling in for a broken down Oldham vehicle which came to grief in Ashton’s territory and would have been taken to Mossley Rd. Most of the joint services in the Manchester conurbation had vehicle swap arrangements should a vehicle come to grief in the territory of another operator.

Phil Blinkhorn

13/09/13 – 08:30

I know exactly what the Ashton Guy was doing in the Oldham garage and I even have the negative of this photo (although I didn’t take it). I’ve had to look very carefully as it is quite likely that very similar photographs were also taken.
Ashton 68 was on a tour organised by the Buckley Wells Bus Enthusiasts Society. It operated on 9th July 1967 and visited several locations in north Lancashire. Thanks to Stan Fitton, who organised the tour, I have photographs of the Ashton Guy next to Todmorden PD2s, a BCN Guy and an Accrington Wulfrunian. I hope in time to put these in a gallery recounting the history of the Society as I think many will find it an interesting story.
Although both these vehicles were allocated SELNEC fleet numbers neither carried them and in fact the Oldham PD2 had been withdrawn some time before SELNEC was formed.

David Beilby

13/09/13 – 16:30

I wonder why the blind was set for route number 8? Has David thwarted a ruse set 46 years ago to confuse future enthusiasts and historians? The date was my 20th birthday and I spent the day riding buses – far away from Oldham however.
They were two shades of green, exclusively single deck and carried a coat of arms containing the letters SPQR and a crown. I have in mind an article covering my wanderings on the city and country buses I used around Rome but am having problems finding relevant photos and accurate references to exact types.

Phil Blinkhorn

14/09/13 – 06:24

XTC 854

To quote Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, "Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder". I consider the elegant and timeless Guy radiator on the Ashton Arab IVs to be much superior in appearance to the bulbous Birmingham style tin front. The best version of the Birmingham front was that fitted to the Dennis Lance K4 which had vertical chrome strips instead of the crude sausage shaped slots. Did these Ashton Arabs really have the 5LW engine? Hitherto, I understood the power plant to be the 6LW. Gardners were always cool runners, an effective oil cooler being an important feature of the engine design. The handsome Bond bodywork exhibits several similarities with contemporary five bay East Lancashire products. Perhaps Bond used the East Lancs frame. Then again, the Harkness bodies of the period had much the same appearance, and these used MetSec frames.

Roger Cox

14/09/13 – 16:19

Roger, as you are aware, I’m away at present but my memory and the references I can find on the Net all point to the 5LW engine. Bond used various frames inc Burlingham but I’ve no knowledge of any use of East Lancs frames and I’d doubt that the Blackburn concern would have supplied frames given just about every batch built by them in the 1950s and 1960s was unique, though I take your point about resemblance, especially the frontal appearance.
The Park Bridge service was an oddity. It followed the Oldham Rd to almost the boundary with Hathershaw then turned right down a winding road to Park Bridge, a hamlet established in the 18th century around an iron works. Its timings on weekdays were based around rush hours and a late evening service. Saturday saw an enhanced daytime service for shoppers but, until the closure of the Oldham to Guide Bridge and Stockport rail services in the Beeching era, the halt at Park Bridge provided a more frequent service though Oldham Rd station at Ashton was a good ten minutes walk from the market and shops, the final 200 yards back to the station being up a quite sharp gradient. The hamlet is now a heritage site with beautifully restored houses in a rural setting.

Phil Blinkhorn

15/09/13 – 07:25

Phil, your knowledge of the operators in the Manchester locality is rewardingly comprehensive, and, as you indicated in the Ashton article, these Guys must have been purchased for a specific reason. Nonetheless, it does seem extraordinary that Ashton should specify the 7 litre, 94 bhp 5LW engine to meet a situation that distressed a 9.8 litre, 125 bhp Leyland. The Gardner would assuredly climb a proverbial brick wall without overheating, but progress must have been decidedly sedate. On the subject of the body frames used by Bond, a contributor to the following website, named T W Moore (surely the well known bus photographer) suggests that Bond was an associated company of East Lancs (see the last post on the page):- http://cwk205.freeforums.org/  
Do you think that this was the case?

Roger Cox

15/09/13 – 09:36

XTC 855

The attached photo shows the Ashton Guy at the start of this tour (and all the other Buckley Wells Bus Enthusiasts tours), Manchester Victoria station. 68 has as a backdrop the long-demolished buildings on Hunt’s Bank. The coach behind is unusual as it is a Setra from the Somme Département in France, as shown by the registration which ends with the number 80. Continental coaches were a rare sight in those days.
The blinds were set to all sorts of displays during the tour (it was an opportunity to practice this much-desired but usually not permitted activity). At Ashton it showed 159, certainly not an Ashton route, and a lot of time it showed the perennial favourite but incorrect Ashton display, "10 Downing Street", which unfortunately came out as Downing St 10. Downing Street was a short working on the 5 to Droylsden via Littlemoss.

David Beilby

15/09/13 – 14:02

On the face of it the use of the 5LW looks odd but there may have been a very logical reason – at least in the minds of the members of the Transport Committee and the General Manager. The order was placed in the period in the 1950s when diesel prices and wages had escalated rapidly putting up costs against a background of increased availability of cars, an increase in home entertainment with a widening of TV output and a resistance against increased fares all of which produced a marked decline in passenger numbers.
Small and reduced output engines were not a rare phenomenon in the area and whilst the route to Mossley may have seemed to demand a large engine, a slow plodder which completed the journey, on what was a fairly relaxed schedule, was preferable to an enforced cooling stop or even a breakdown, which had become a regular and expensive enough occurrence. No other route in the system had such demands and the 5LW would have had a more racehorse like performance on the other routes to which Ashton’s Guys were allocated and to which the vehicles would eventually be tasked. I rode on both the Leylands and the Guys and whilst I was under ten at the time the Guys took over, I have memories of their stately progress compared to the rather raucous progress of the Leylands, which included much gear changing and stuttering starts from some of the bus stops on the steeper parts of the route, not to mention the overheating.
With regard to Bond, the posting linking the company to East Lancs contains a major nonsense in so far as it places the latter in Bridlington, not once but twice – hardly a typo. Apart from its own bodies Bond did finish bodies for other manufacturers and may well have taken the strain for East Lancs with the Coventry job but, as far as I have understood the rather obscure history of the company, it was totally independent of any other bus body builder, its demise in Wythenshawe coming about after protracted labour disputes between craft unions.

Phil Blinkhorn

15/09/13 – 16:50

Roger’s information with respect to the suggestion that the S.H. Bond concern was an associate of East Lancs. would go a long way towards explaining why the remainder of a batch of nine pre-war Bristol saloons of Rotherham Corporation, of which I think four had been rebodied by East Lancs. at Bridlington when the decision was taken to wind up the seaside operation in 1952, ended up being taken to Bond at Wythenshawe for the work to be done.

Dave Careless

15/09/13 – 16:51

Ashton’s Guy Arab IVs had 6LW engines. I get this information from a very detailed fleet list published by Ashton themselves about 1968 when the buses were part of the current fleet. As (I believe) the only Ashton buses ever fitted with a 6LW it is most unlikely they would have got that wrong. The fleet list shows withdrawn vehicles and the utility Guys are shown correctly with a 5LW engine.
Bond bodies were built on Metal Sections frames and were as good as anybody else’s. The closest connection they had to any other coach builder was Brush as the head of their bus operation had come from Brush when they moved out of the business.
One of these Guys was earmarked for preservation in early SELNEC days but a significant chassis defect meant that project was stillborn. It’s a shame as one of these would have been a fine testimony to a local coachbuilder, the sole representative being a contemporary Ashton trolleybus.

David Beilby

15/09/13 – 18:05

Phil, East Lancs did have a subsidiary business at Bridlington as the following web page confirms:- www.ebay.com/itm/  
I do, however, agree with your assessment of the situation in that any connection between Bond and East Lancs occurred purely in the course of business; there was no inter company control. I am grateful to David for endorsing my belief that these Ashton Guys had 6LW engines. The revelation that the Bond bodies were built on Metal Section frames also ties in with the visual and quality similarities to the fine Harkness products of that time.

Roger Cox

15/09/13 – 19:19

Dave, I’m a little surprised that either Coventry or Rotherham accepted tenders from the Bridlington operation of East Lancs as I always understood this arm of the operation was to be wound down from the end of 1951, thus my thought that the reference to Bridlington in the link posted by Roger was in error. If the operation was still functioning in 1952, as seems to be the case, then it’s demise must have been delayed then brought on in very short order for vehicles to be moved to Bond, implying a hasty decision and that the Blackburn operation was operating at capacity.
Again, the movement to Bond doesn’t imply any legal connection or association. As mentioned before, Bond completed orders for a number of body builders, including three of the 1953 Royal Tiger half decker airport coaches for Manchester for which Burlingham supplied the frames, the Blackpool concern completing the other three itself.
David, as I mentioned previously, I’m away from home at the moment so can’t access my own records. If 6LW engines were fitted, they would certainly have been the only ones in the fleet and from a power point of view the bigger engine, as Roger points out, would be more logical though the references I can find say 5LW. The fleet list to which you refer has long been on my "must have" list but seems to be as rare as hens’ teeth.

As a rider to the above, the Commercial Motors’ archive which often can clear up seemingly contentious issues with contemporary news items is silent on both the demise of the Bridlington operation and the Ashton order for the Arab IVs.

Phil Blinkhorn

16/09/13 – 06:28

Bond were initially active in rebuilding before they turned their hand to building new bodies. Ribble was a big customer and most memorable were the early SLT trolleybuses that were given a new lease of life at Wythenshawe.
Significantly it appears from the fleet list elsewhere on this site that the Rotherham Bristols that went to Bond were also lengthened to (almost) the recent 30-foot limit, whereas the others were rebodied and remained the original length.

David Beilby

NBU 508 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

17/09/13 – 05:06

Phil, the story of East Lancashire Coachbuilders (Bridlington) Ltd., and sister company, Yorkshire Equipment Company, is a most interesting one. Apparently the latter built school furniture, desks and cupboards etc., and even constructed a furniture van body on an old Rotherham Bristol JO5G chassis with which to deliver the items to schools around the country.
Unfortunately, as orders for bus bodies and school desks inevitably dwindled, and commitment from owners wavered, the search for a buyer was unsuccessful, and both companies went into voluntary liquidation in mid-1952.

Dave Careless

19/11/13 – 18:04

In the comment above you make reference to Yorkshire Equipment being a subsidiary of East Lancs and being a school furniture maker. I had my own website back in Gocities days and had a page for makers. In doing research for Mann Egerton of Norwich, I found a US site that had school desks made by them. At one time they also made radios! Varied markets for many!

John Turnbull


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