Wilts & Dorset photo archive, part 2

Here are some more images from my collection of historic Wilts & Dorset photographs.

This is a 1946 Bristol K5G, of which there were many in the Wilts & Dorset fleet in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Note the early design of ventilator on the side windows. Eastern Coach Works was soon to change this to the more familiar all-aluminium design as seen below. Also caught in the shot is the rear end of a Vauxhall Wyvern (or Velox), one of those sit-up-and-beg cars from the 1950s that resembled the American design style of the time. My grandfather had one.

Shown here is a 1947 Bristol K5G, seen either when brand new or fresh from a re-paint.

At the other end of its life, I photographed Bristol KSW6G in the yard at Salisbury’s Castle Street depot in 1973, shortly before withdrawal. I suspect it was having battery troubles, hence the starting handle being inserted through the radiator. However, I wouldn’t fancy being the chap with the job of swinging the heavy Gardner lump with a handle! I remember seeing these old Bristol Ks on country services, en-route to such far-flung places as Hindon. As seen above, they were also put out on Private Hire runs. I clearly recall being taken to Sunday School on one of these, which was hired by the Elim Pentecostal church in Salisbury town centre. I enjoyed the lengthy ride all round the city, gathering up children from the suburbs.

Another numerous type operated by W&D was the Bristol L, this being a LL6B variant (Bristol ‘L’, long wheelbase, 6 cylinder Bristol AVW engine). This one was photographed on a service to Romsey, which is in neither Wiltshire or Dorset but in neighbouring Hampshire. Apparently the Service 83 ran from Andover, via Horsebridge and Stockbridge.

The Bristol L is still surprisingly numerous today, thanks partly to various building and farming contractors who found these vehicles ideal for transporting staff from site to site and bought them cheaply when they would otherwise be scrapped. This ensured that many survived long enough to be preserved. No less than 107 are listed as being survivors including a 21-strong Crosville contingent.

Next time I will look at some of the more unusual vehicles featured in the Wilts & Dorset collection.

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