Wilts & Dorset photo archive

A few months ago I inherited a photograph collection devoted to the buses and coaches of Wilts & Dorset Motor Services Ltd, whose head office and centre of operations was in Salisbury. The photographs have been collected by my father, who grew up in Salisbury and followed the development of the company and its vehicles until the early 1960s.

Here is one of the early photographs, showing a 1929 Leyland TS single decker wearing the pre-1948 livery and fleetname. The collection is spread over three volumes and contains several hundred photographs. I haven’t counted them all yet! Most are postcard-sized black and white prints, published for collectors and enthusiasts by distributors such as Haynes, Simpson and Pennels. A few of my father’s own shots are included too.

Prior to the standardisation of the state-owned Wilts & Dorset, when ECW body on Bristol chassis became the norm, W&D ran buses and coaches from all the major manufacturers such as Leyland, AEC and Daimler. Shown above is a 1931 Leyland TD1 passing the Style & Gerrish department store in Salisbury. Fleet number 97 has a Leyland body and wears the pre-war livery of red and grey.

One of the last photographs in the collection is of this 1967 Leyland Leopard PSUR1/1R, acquired in 1971/2 from Maidstone & District.

I photographed the fleetname on this bus after it had been withdrawn in 1973 and was languishing in the dump at the back of the bus station in Castle Street, Salisbury.

This reflected my interest, not only in the buses of Wilts & Dorset but also in letterforms because I began training for a career in graphic design in the same year.

These are just a few examples of the many photographs in this wonderful collection. Maybe I’ll share a few more of them later!

Bristol Omnibus Lodekka – just like new

Apologies for featuring yet another Bristol Lodekka. Other bus manufacturers did exist, I promise.

Yesterday I visited Crosville Motor Services for an informal chat and a freebie conducting duty just for fun. This is a relative newcomer to the world of heritage bus hire but the staff have many years of operational experience between them. I was invited to conduct on a wedding hire job on what was possibly the hottest day of the year. This was bizarre, given that yesterday was the first day of October!

My first surprise of the day came when I walked into the spacious garage where no less than 8 heritage vehicles were lined up. And I’d already passed another on its way to a private hire job as I approached the garage! After I’d retrieved my jaw, which had just fallen to the floor, I took the picture below. It was rather shadowy and I only had my phone camera so please forgive the blurriness. Some of these vehicles are being garaged on behalf of a local collector.

Continue reading