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  WEB NEWS 32  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief look at WHOTT Friends' Favourite Bus or Coach Station and look back with Bert.      



John Grigg was surprised that a small but significant proportion of Friends who were happy to extol the virtues (or vices) of their favourite vehicles, had no favourite Bus or Coach Station or Garage, but enough Friends did respond to enable this assessment of the most popular venues to be made.  However, as John explains: I have had to use an editorial red pencil in respect of one Friend (who shall remain nameless) who listed no less than nine "favourites".

It was not always the obvious which attracted your interest; one Friend nominated Webbers Blisland depot because of its proximity to what he described as the best pub in the West Country.  Seaside venues featured well in your choices either because of their settings or holidays spent there, or in a couple of cases because Friends were evacuated there during the war. Bude, Penzance Bus Station, Penzance Wherrytown, Falmouth, Dartmouth, Barnstaple Strand, Lynton, Paignton Bus Station, Porlock Weir, Exmouth, and Seaton all come into this category with one vote for each, and Weston-super-Mare had two votes.  St. Ives Malakoff however was a runaway success in this category with four votes.

Many of the depots, including Penzance Wherrytown, Falmouth, and Weston-super-Mare no longer exist.  Bude of course still does having passed from Southern National to Jennings, and then to Hookways, who still occupy it today.  It is also used by Stagecoach as an outstation, and WHOTT are grateful to Hookways for allowing us to garage a couple of vehicles including the Royal Blue Bristol LS, 1299, (OTT98) overnight on this year's Royal Blue run.

There were some very eloquent reasons given for Friends' choices; said one of St. Ives "In a word - the view" and two others enjoyed watching the vehicles manoeuvring and parking above the sheer drop onto The Warren below.  Another praised Penzance Wherrytown saying - "Always something different and the great views of Mounts Bay".

In addition to the Blisland depot, there were two other independents who attracted most favoured status, including the Haytor depot of Potters, and the Brixham bus station, particularly because of its association with the Geddes family's "Burton Cars", who shared the services there with Devon General.

With apologies to anyone who doesn't think that their particular "Market town" was small, I have labelled the next category as "Small Market town Stations and Garages".  In this group Kingsbridge, Newton Abbot, Tavistock, Helston, Moretonhampstead, Wells, Yeovil, and Stroud each attracted one vote, whilst Tiverton and Truro each had two votes, and St. Austell, Torpoint, Totnes and Bideford, each had three.  There are of course two Cathedral Cities in that group of "small market towns"!

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Overall winner, Bournemouth Bus and Coach Station as originally constructed.  Royal Blue coaches descended down the right hand ramp and emerged on the left.  Hants & Dorset used the centre ramp to and from the upper deck bus station.   Torpoint, equal first in the ‘Small Town’ category, seen in August 1972 with LS and MW single decks.  The building is much the same today and its history is featured on Terry Partridge’s blog: http://tgprojects.blogspot.com/
Taunton’s Hamilton Road depot came second in the ‘Large Town’ category, seen here in the Cawlett SN era.  Another subject of Terry Partridge’s blog.   Tiverton bus station figured in the Small Town category and is seen in the Red Bus/Tiverton & District era.  Colin Billington’s visiting Deltatours-liveried SUL fits in well.
  Pangs of nostalgia . . . as Bert looks back - WHOTT’s News! No. 22 (May 2006) the delights of today’s long distance bus travel was compared with services that were around in the early ’fifties. How many of our older readers have actually taken advantage of their free bus pass and gone further than a trip to the local shops? So what about short journeys? How many were there across the region over fifty years ago?
The short journey generally provided a regular connection between two local points, possibly on a more frequent basis than a longer journey making a deviation to cater for just a few communities. It could also be one than circuited a housing estate on the outskirts of town, an irregularly timed connection with a nearby railway station, or one that provided an early morning and late afternoon bus to a factory or industrial estate. It could also be one out from a town to link some villages or hamlets where the road eventually led to nowhere of importance! Short journeys could also be specials for workers early in the morning and late afternoon, or even at night for shift workers. During the ‘fifties the larger towns with their own football club would have special football buses provided on home game fixtures. Licensed to cover a particular route, these specials often required a whole convoy of double-decks to shift the supporters.
Every bus service must have its own story to tell, some more interesting than others. However, it can be said that conversation between passengers on short journeys was noticeably more than their lengthy contemporaries. For a start more people were more likely to know each other on their way to work or the local shops, whereas on a long journey, with a gradual turnover of travellers along the route, they could easily end up with nobody knowing each other! The short routes also tended to be worked by regular drivers who got to know their clientele. The more observant of them would get to know the travelling pattern so well that it was not uncommon for the bus to wait for “Miss Jones” who had not been at her local stop on time.
Devon General AEC Regal at Sidmouth’s Triangle on another 13 minute run, the 84 to Sidford. On of the two 30ft long LDLs, 1936 (VDV753) later converted to open top and named Sir Humphrey Davy, seen in original form travelling on the 13 minute journey from Bradford-on-Avon to Trowbridge on the 240.  Former Royal Blue coach, Western National rebodied and lengthened LL6B 1213 (JUO978) departing from Penzance Bus Station for a 13 minute journey on Route 5 to Gwavas Estate.


To add a seasonal touch to this issue of WHOTT’s News! we have a number of views of Exeter Corporation vehicles taken in the heavy snow in Exeter on the 3rd January 1963 by Colin Routh, during his  honeymoon.  The bad winter started just after Christmas 1962.  Over the next few weeks, Britain suffered blizzards, record low temperatures and travel havoc caused by the heavy snow.  Many rural areas were cut off requiring helicopters to drop supplies and feed for farm animals.  In Exeter, the snow was substantial and lasted for weeks, rather than the hours or days we are now accustomed to

This apparently anonymous Leyland PD2/1 with Leyland bodywork is 10 (HFJ137) running on service A in Bedford Street. 176 (JFJ876) – a 1949 Daimler CVD6 with Weymann bodywork running past Queen St. station, the cyclist appears to have taken the sensible option by pushing his bicycle!  Sister vehicle JFJ873 ran in service at the Kingsbridge 7’6” Vintage Bus Running Day in September. 57 (UFJ297) – is the driver getting ready to ‘abandon ship’ from this 1957 Guy Arab IV with Massey bodywork at Courtlands Cross in Exmouth or is he going to offer advice to the driver of similar 70 (970AFJ) running in the opposite direction?

Latest addition to the WHOTT Fleet - EFJ 92

More West Country Bedfords - to sponsor

Ted Reece - An obituary

WHOTT's on the Web

WHOTT's West Country Weekend, September 2008

Every picture tells a story....and not least this one!!!

Points of View

Future Activities



Glimpse of  vehicles in service at Kingsbridge Bus Station.  More than 1600 passenger and two dog journeys were recorded on eleven routes operated throughout the day.



Would you like to see the full magazine?  If so, please consider becoming a Member and we’ll send current year copies right away.  Alternatively individual back numbers can be purchased at £2 each by request.  Our Shop postal rates apply.


Web News 31

Web News Index

Web News 33


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