During a recent holiday in Venice I saw a bus I thought I recognised.
Mrs Busman John and I were travelling in a hotel shuttle minibus on the island of Lido Di Venezia (near Venice) when we saw a distinctly British-looking bus. As we drew closer I thought I recognised the livery – a psuedo Huddersfield Corporation scheme applied to an ex-Leeds Corporation Daimler CVG6 bus. Confirmation came as soon as I could read the registration number 572CNW.
Later the same day we found the bus again, this time on foot so that we could have a closer look and take some photos. The bus was exported to Italy in 2011 after it was sold by Quantock Motor Services, for whom I worked as a conductor for a time.
I conducted on this bus a few times at running days and on private hire jobs so I was rather gobsmacked to see it again! It is a permanent fixture beside a road on Lido, converted for use as a snack bar. The interior has been ripped out and the roof cut off, being replaced with a ‘lid’ which can be raised up on poles as seen here.
It still wears the livery applied by QMS and, if you peer into the cab, you can see the ghost of a former owner still at the wheel!
I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor old girl, especially as she was in operational condition with a Class 6 MOT when sold. If you want to hear about the epic delivery journey from the UK, speak to Martyn Hearson of Reliance Bus Works!
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!
Pictured above is an ex-Northampton Corporation Daimler CV6G in May 2009. Along with many other classic vehicles, it was providing an intensive bus service on routes in and around Minehead, Somerset. Click on the picture for a larger view. Photo © Bob Brimley.
My driver and I were relief crew on that day and the cameraman has caught us as we took the Daimler on its next duty while its rostered crew had a lunch break.