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  WEB NEWS 42  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief at the days before accessible buses and Greensaldes.

  The Days before accessible buses - The powers of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) allowed the Government to define regulations to enable land-based public transport vehicles to be accessible to disabled people, including those who need to remain in wheelchairs. The regulations that govern access to service buses and coaches are known as the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR). There are numerous key-dates contained in these regulations  which will ensure that by 1st January 2017 all buses will be fully accessible. Throughout the West Country, the majority of bus services are already operated by low-floor fully accessible vehicles. However this selection of views depicts the era when coaches with steep steps, many with narrow entrances and some with an engine protruding into the space next to the driver were commonplace in everyday service.  
ATT877L – Go with Gordon Ltd., Exbourne - a 1972 Bedford VRQ Willowbrook Expressway bodywork acquired from Okeridge Motor Services Ltd. Okehampton in May 1980 waiting to return to Okehampton on the 626 service from Bretonside Bus Station in Plymouth. DTA826L – Sleep, Bere Alston – a 1973 Bedford YRQ with Duple Dominant Express bodywork seen in Tavistock having just arrived on the regular service from Bere Alston. ERO679G – Bruce and Parker, Okehampton t/a Born’s Tours - a 1968 Ford R226 with Plaxton Panorama I bodywork acquired in September 1974 is seen in Launceston.

Greenslades -  The coaching business of Greenslades Tours, based in Exeter, and the bold promotion of The Silent Guide on the rear of their vehicles remained a familiar site for many years. With a fleet of about eighty coaches working from Exeter, Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Dawlish and Teignmouth they were a natural choice for many discerning day-trippers on which the business was largely built. However, it all started in a very small way and like a lot of other businesses succeeded through hard work and determination, plus a little luck thrown in when least expected. Samuel James Greenslade came from Shobrooke near Crediton and worked on the railway as a signalman at nearby Hele and Bradninch Station. He and his wife had five children, three boys and two girls. The eldest son, William, was born in 1894 and upon leaving school was sent to Exeter to train as a cycle mechanic with Daveys in Cowick Street. His youngest brother, Percy, also followed him and by 1912 they had learned enough and were confident to set up their own business in Bradninch. Here they hired out bicycles for 3d an hour or for 6d with tuition! Bradninch required a transport link to the closest railway station at Hele so the Greenslades brothers bought a second-hand Ford model T van, KT67, from Major Custance of Broadclyst. In the meantime brother Gilbert had tried to follow a railway career, going for an interview at Exeter’s St David’s Station. He must have made little impression and was turned down flat so instead sought a job with local auctioneer, Percy Hexter. Three years later he became a qualified auctioneer’s clerk. The first world war was now looming and all three Greenslades brothers left to serve their country and the business interests were left in the hands of sister, Evelyn, who built up the car hire and taxi side of the business. One purchase made, probably on her account, was a 1906 Maudslay limousine with brass radiator that had previously been owned by Sir Thomas Acland at Killerton. Moving house from Beer to Bradninch the Radford family arrived with not one, but three cars of Mass manufacture and a chauffeur, Spencer Westcott. These cars were made in France and largely intended for the British market, one model of which had front wheel drive. The Greenslades brothers took a keen interest in these cars and the technical advancement they made to motoring. When two, T528 and T1246, became available in 1918 they snapped them up and converted the bodies to small charabancs, supplementing their Ford model T van. The purchase money came from their wartime gratuities which they pooled together. The following year they acquired a  Maudslay chassis from Colonel Hill of Bickleigh near Tiverton. A 1911 model that had probably seen active service during the war, it had been released for civilian use and licensed as a charabanc, T6744, in April1919. William Greenslade and a colleague adapted the body from a horse brake for the  purpose. It served them well for two years until they were able to buy their first new charabanc in May 1921. This was a 20-seat Dennis, FJ1679 which remained with Greenslades to 1927.

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An early postwar view, probably staged for the photographer, showing the interior of the Paris Street garage with Bedford coaches being cleaned for another day’s trips to scenic destinations.


A Passion for coaches Part 3

Points of View

Archive update








Parked on the forecourt of the Greenslades Garage at the Triangle, Sidmouth, is AEC Reliance/Harrington AFJ86B. The garage was taken over from Messrs. Dagworth and has since been replaced by flats.


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Web News 41

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Web News 43


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