Some Samuel Ledgard Gems

Some Samuel Ledgard Gems

I hope the members find it of interest - of all the thousands of Ledgard pictures, literally, I tried to select just a few with something special about them.

Chris Youhill

Pausing for refreshments on an arduous day excursion from Leeds to Blackpool, these charabancs are in Gisburn and include Mr. Ledgard's initial fleet from 1912 - U 2706 in the lead. Believe it or not this part of the main road through Gisburn is unaltered to this day.

AKW 849 registered in Bradford, one six Leyland TS7s with Ribble pattern English Electric bodies ready for delivery. The practice in those days was for one new vehicle from a Ledgard subsidiary to be in the colours of the acquired operator, in this case B & B Tours. The Ledgard quintet of the batch were CUG 841 - 5.

One of many smaller firms taken over by Ledgard was G.F.Tate of Woodhouse, Leeds. Mr. Tate's final purchase was this beautiful all Leyland TD5 awaiting delivery - sadly he died in 1943 and the fleet and the two stage services were taken over by Ledgard. Mr. Tate's livery was rich red and cream as seen here.

One of my own very favourite pictures taken in 1953 and showing the remarkable family resemblance in the 1940 TD7 Leyland body and the 1952 PD2 version. The scene is New Brook Street Ilkley on a Saturday lunchtime and both buses would be full on the way to Leeds, departing at 13:22 for Grandad and 13:25 for plump Junior.

One of six AEC Regent Vs delivered in August 1957 - 1949 U waits at the Roe factory. The registration number was specially selected to commemorate Samule Ledgard's first charabanc U 1949 in 1912.

A lovely unique and fine vehicle in the Ledgard fleet was ex Felix, Hatfield was AEC Regent III/Roberts GWY 157, bodywork built to fascinating and unashamed prewar standards. Pulling out of Templar Street Leeds into Vicar Lane on the way to Rawdon on one of the former G.F.Tate routes. WYRCC and LCT buses show contrasting colours.

Six new all Leyland PD1s were bought in 1946, JUM 373 - 8. Here is JUM 378 in Bradford Road Otley en route for Harrogate. I love all PD1s, but this one has a special place in my heart. At Armley depot in 1961 I reported for my "All types" PSV test with the harshest of all Ministry examiners, I was quaking at the knees as the gentleman concerned had reduced many an experienced heavy goods driver to tears as he failed them - but 378 fresh from a peak hour duplicate and in silky smooth order behaved like a lamb and I emerged an hour later with the licence that was to unlock the door for forty plus years of happy driving in my chosen career.

One of five ex Red and White Albion Valkyries with BBW bodies bought from Red and White. These incredibly comfortable and quiet running buses were chiefly employed on Ledgard's longest route from Bradford to Harrogate. Here FAX 308 waits in the West Yorkshire bus station to depart for the "Wool city."

Here we have two former Guy demonstrators which were taken over with the stage service of J.W. Kitchen of Pudsey. JJW 239 had originally been GUY 3 in the heyday of its sales campaign but had then given way to the larger bus seen. GUY 3 is seen leaving Otley on the Yeadon depot route to Horsforth while JJW 239 rests in the Yeadon depot. Guy 3 had preselector transmission but with a full size gearlever, causing much puzzlement to inquisitive passengers!!

Former Daimler Freeline demonstrator LRW 377 whose dual doorways had the Otley estate passengers totally baffled throughout its stay. On board battles were commonplace as those insisting on using the wrong door wrestled with the opposition. It carried 36 seated and 28 standing and it was genuinely intended to help the clients on the two services - journey times around ten minutes each way - by eliminating the need to climb to the top decks of the normal vehicles. Eventually it was transferred to Bradford depot with normal 8 standing conditions, and after that was deport to Bere Regis who promptly removed the back door and increased the seating to 42 - in general, a very unhappy machine.

Along with the two Guys from Kitchens we acquired two Atkinsons with Burlingham bodies which had been bought new. Here is NWW 806 (the other was 805) leaving Otley with a heavy load for a short duplicate to Yeadon. There was much expensive duplication on this very busy route in single deck days and ultimately the nettle was grasped and lowbridge double deckers took over - the obstacle was the low railway bridge in Henshaw Lane Yeadon but with centre of the road care it could be safely negotiated and in the event there were never any incidents.

Ilkley depot after the closure of the Ledgard business in 1967. This fine nine bay building, which had been heightened in the early 1950s to accommodate double deckers, was finally reduced to a depot for the Ilkley Urban District Council dustbin lorries and other vehicles.

AUB 489 awaiting delivery from the Leyland works. It was a Titan TD3 and was one of those with the notorious defective metal framed bodies which had to be repaired under warranty. It appears that the "no nonsense" Samuel was having none of it and in the event all five of his affected bodies were replaced with new ones!!

A bit of appalling lorry driving in Bondgate Otley as Leyland TD4 AUM 990 innocently arrives from Leeds, to be struck by this unbelievable projecting pole.

UB 5746 awaits delivery from Leyland. It was one of the second quartets of Lowbridge TD1s with enclosed staircases. They were UB 2386 - 9 and UB 5746 - 9 and were the first double deckers in the fleet. Most were painted khaki during WW2 as the Firm did many journeys to the vulnerable A.V. Roe aircraft factory at Yeadon, and to many other vital engineering concerns helping the War effort.

Here is another fine machine taken over with the G.F. Tate business. WN 4759 was an AEC Regent 1 with Brush lowbridge body and petrol engine ex South Wales. It ran for Ledgard for a few years in Tate's red and cream and is seen here at West Park Leeds en route for Otley in WW2 conditions. The stone bus shelter on the opposite side (out of sight behind the bus) remains in use to this day but sadly WN 4759 does not!!

In Otley bus station Guy Arab FD1 carries its lamentable Pickering utility body - surely the very worst of all the WW2 utility offerings. At is first C of F in 1950 the Guy was relieved of this ugly and unsound burden and treated to a super new Roe body - no further comment necessary on that - and twin JUA 762 had the same improvement.

By contrast with the Guy, Otley depot's Daimler CWA6 JUA 916 retained its Roe utility body for nigh on twenty years and was a sparkling and comfortable performer on the busiest of routes. Seen here at Bramhope Church no doubt making good time from Leeds - almost at the end of its long career - the condition speaks volumes!!



12/02/16 - 12:32

As usual Chris Y has excelled himself with his Ledgard knowledge and enthusiasm, thank you.
I remember one day being in the garden at home, at Ilkley. Bus stop outside, possibly called Mayfield Avenue, or Lakeland laundries. My dad was cutting the front grass, day off from West Yorkshire, when 1949 U pulled up at the stop. It was on its first run to Ilkley. On the bus was a Ledgard Inspector, I think they called him Templeman?
He saw my dad and shouted ‘How about this then Ted, beats the old Bristols’.
Dad went to the wall and had a quick look before ding ding and off it went.
Within the next few days I saw the other new ones on the same route.

Roy Dodsworth

12/02/16 - 16:45

Thank you Roy, and you are spot on in every memory. The stop by your house was called Mayfield Avenue, and the Ledgard inspector was Ernie Templeman - an absolute gentleman like your Dad - Ernie's wife had a greengrocery and fruit shop in Burley Main Street just opposite the top stop.
1949 U and the other five entered service on 1st September 1957. Attached is another picture of 1951 U at the terminus in New Brook Street same day. They took the clientele by storm for sure, and their power and ease of driving made very light work of the arduous Leeds to Ilkley routes.
Just before they arrived Mr. Tapscott, the Otley manager and a canny "Brummy", confided triumphantly in me that "They've tried to pull a fast one at Armley and only allocated us two, so I whipped up some "average age of fleet figures" and now we're getting four!!"

Chris Youhill

12/02/16 - 16:46

In the case of the charabanc picture one has to ask how long it would take each way and thus how short a time they would have to enjoy the sands and the pleasure beach.

John Lomas

13/02/16 - 05:28

What an amazing collection, CY. Thanks for posting.

Pete Davies

13/02/16 - 05:29

Thank you for posting such a fascinating collection of photos and informative text Chris. Gems indeed, every one. Samuel Ledgard was a well regarded operator right up until the very end in October 1967. A friend of mine, Jane, who has lived in Guiseley all her life still remembers Sammie's fondly, saying you could literally "set your watch by their buses". She mentioned once that as a young girl she would sometimes be put on a Sammie's bus by her Mum, and the conductor was asked to make sure Jane got off at a certain stop a few miles away, and that her Grandma would be waiting at the stop. Such was the trust in the Company, it's employees, and its wonderful blue buses.

Brendan Smith

13/02/16 - 05:30

....and gems they really are, Chris Y! I've really enjoyed absorbing myself in them! I love the first one and marvel that the scene is virtually unchanged 107 years later SEE:
The Roe-bodied CWA6 is quite the most handsome of the utility-style bodies, with its extra sloped top deck front and the Roe-bodied Regent V's also the most handsome, rather than the usual boxy products on that chassis. Thx, Chris. SL certainly had an eclectic fleet, which must have suited you down to the ground! Nothing boring here!

Chris Hebbron

14/02/16 - 05:55

Wonderful gallery, Chris Y, for which many thanks. The sheer variety of chassis and bodies is one of the many reasons why Ledgard's had almost the same status among us southern enthusiasts as it had on its home territory. A pal and I would pore over the latest issue of small-format black-and-white Buses Illustrated and often wished we could be spirited up to distant Yorkshire.

Ian Thompson

14/02/16 - 05:56

Chris, regarding your comments relating to poor old JUA 673, "In Otley bus station Guy Arab FD1 carries its lamentable Pickering utility body - surely the very worst of all the WW2 utility offerings". Would the term 'Futility body' be more accurate?

Brendan Smith

14/02/16 - 13:03

Indeed Brendan, that would be the most appropriate of the alternative descriptions - the printable ones at least, there were others !! Just discernible on the pitiful destination blind is "BURLEY." This was required only once daily Monday to Friday only for the 5.52pm "running in" trip from Ilkley to Burley RAC Box after working the very hectic 4.57pm duplicate from Leeds King Street to Ilkley via Guiseley. The ill fated RAC box eventually succumbed in a heap of splinters after one of far too many attacks from vehicles. Fortunately there was no smart patrolman on duty at the time.

Chris Youhill

14/02/16 - 13:04

Fascinating article Chris. If you look at my article on Tyneside (see link below), there is a vehicle you may be familiar with, GTY 169, one of nine Orion bodied Leyland PD2/12's delivered to Tyneside in 1954. GTY 169/177 - 39/47 The photo must have been taken when it was relatively new, shortly after delivery the front registration plates were moved to the panel under the windscreen. The whole batch went on to a second life, in 1966; 39 went to Ledgard, and 40 to Wells of Hatfield Perevel 1967; 41 became an NGT group training vehicle, and 43 went to Paton Bros of Renfrew; 1968; 44 also went to Paton Bros. 1969; 42/5&6 became training vehicles and 47 went to Bensham, initially as an engineering/towing vehicle, but it was later converted to a tree lopper. I started at NGT Percy Main depot in January 1967, and we borrowed Tyneside buses on a regular basis. I've driven most of that batch, but not 39 or 40.
The Tyneside Tramways and Tramroads Company Limited

Ronnie Hoye

15/02/16 - 05:29

Thank you very much Ronnie H for the interesting data on the rest of that Tyneside batch of PD2s. GTY 169 was at our Otley depot throughout its stay with Ledgard's - it arrived from "Binnsland" in fine condition and was a grand motor, smart and "crisp" in every way.

Chris Youhill



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