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  WEB NEWS 40  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief at Passion for coaches and Bus Tickets

  A Passion for Coaches - Our small boy is back reminiscing and in the first of three articles he reflects on the summer Saturdays of his childhood and the delights that awaited him.

One of the catalysts for my interest in public transport was an early desire to do things I had been told not to do, like cross the main road. I had been allowed to play outside in our quiet street and the village square and on the green with other children of my own age probably since I was about five or six, but there was always the stricture: “Do not cross the main road”. No one ever suggested that dragons or strange people lived on the other side of the A393 but I suppose our parents just did not think that we were old enough to fully understand the care needed to be able to cross the road safely without supervision. However, the local bus and coach operator, Mr Newton Trewren, had at that time a ramshackle series of sheds, later replaced by a concrete block and steel garage that would hold six thirty foot members of his Marigold fleet behind the shops on the other side of the road not very far from The Square. One day someone told us that Marigold had another brand new bus which was in the biggest of the sheds. There had been two other brand new coaches delivered in the previous fourteen months, one a Bedford OB and the other a Plaxton bodied Austin CXB, both of which were to appear rather tame in comparison with this new arrival, a Commer Avenger with a Harrington body which was undoubtedly very luxurious and appeared and sounded very solid. So, for the first time, I crossed the road on my own and was rewarded with my first sight of this gleaming and growling orange and black monster. At that time, of course, the total touring coach fleet of Western National consisted of yet more of the ubiquitous Bedford OBs, their forerunners the WTBs, and many pre-war Duple bodied halfcab Leyland Tigers and AEC Regals which were, to be fair, beginning to look rather tired after a hard time during the war years. The days of the Bristol LLs, LWLs and LSs were yet to dawn and in comparison to Western National coaches, or even those of Hawkey’s of Newquay, who had several modern and attractive Harrington bodied AEC Regal IIIs in their fleet, the Commer more than held its own in my simple boyhood view. I had already decided that Western National’s Bristol buses were all the same and slow and boring on the basis that I had occasionally been taken to Plymouth by my parents and had seen the Corporation’s brand new, and at that time of course all lowbridge, Leyland PD2/1 Titans whisking their way past Western National’s K5Gs along Royal Parade, emitting that wonderful high pitched whistling sound as the driver eased off the accelerator pedal. The only exceptions to my ‘boring’ tag were Western National’s own Leyland PD1As which, to my young mind, enabled WN to compete on a more even keel with PCT, but which in reality held no relevance to public transport facilities in the wilds of Cornwall as they never ventured there. We merely existed on a familiar diet of hourly Bristol K5Gs and, as everyone knows, familiarity breeds contempt.

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Marigold MCV653 – the ‘growling orange and black monster’. Black & White Motorways – B125 (JDD496) – full-fronted Bristol L6G with Duple bodywork. Grey Cars – MOD44 – the oddly proportioned Heaver bodied Commer Avenger.

Pangs of nostalgia …as Bert looks back - The English Riviera, that popular holiday resort, nowadays called Torbay, had grown up from early Victorian times to become a convivial place for relaxation. The upper middle classes had flocked there to take the waters, to appreciate the sub-tropical climate and fauna, and the more wealthy bought generous plots of hillside land on which to build their grand residences. To appreciate the wider terrain and the not so distant slopes of Dartmoor, discerning tourists provided a magnet for the fledgling charabanc proprietors. Torquay and neighbouring Paignton would see the appearance of over thirty new entrepreneurs, one of whom was Capt C Norman Hutt, who started Fleet Cars in 1919, employing only exservicemen. In November 1924 he sold out to Devon General and the name Fleet Cars was adopted by them for all their coaching activities. In 1925 Fleet Cars moved to the former Primrose Cars depot in Orient Road, Preston, Paignton that had recently been vacated by Charles Gully. Here fifteen new Lancia coaches were based and the premises enlarged. Devon General, a subsidiary of the National Electric Construction Company (NEC), had also made overtures to another expanding coach business in Torquay that traded under the name of Grey Cars. Owned by the South Devon Garage and Motor Touring Company, Grey Cars had, under its manager Mr Cutchey, rejected the offer from Devon General in 1924 and later attempts to broker a deal also fell through. These developments were closely observed over a hundred miles away by A Timpson & Son, a large independent coaching company based at Catford with a coastal branch at Hastings. They no doubt saw an opportunity here to open another seaside operations.

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One of the Hastings Lancias transferred to Torquay for Grey Cars.




JUST THE TICKET 16 - Another three singles from the later nineteen thirties are shown below. In all cases the reverse is blank i.e. no advertisement or text. Two are printed by Williamson but the third (Hm 0393) is from the Victoria Printing Company of Stoke. It is interesting to speculate as to the reason for the change to this printer for only a brief period as later tickets are again from Williamson, Punch &Ticket etc. All three tickets have the same wording and carry TT numbers first encountered in JTT 15. However Hm 0393 shows only stages 1-30 and is the same size as those in JTT 15 while the Williamson examples are now longer and and go up to stage 31. Why this change? Looking at the foot of GW 9999 it will be seen that the following information has been printed:- W 57685/150M/180739. As with the TT number experts generally agree that this refers to the print order number followed by the quantity (in this case 150,000 where the letter M represents the Roman numeral for 1,000) and then finally the date of the order(18 July 1939). Apart from the punch hole this ticket has also been nipped in the  text section but it is not known for what reason.


Broken propeller shaft caused lengthy traffic jam in Exeter's main street

Sheila Keen

Future Activities






Between 18th – 22nd October WHOTT was in attendance with the Panther at the Central Piazza, Plymouth. The occasion was to mark the launch of a new book on the history of Devonport and a DVD covering the period 40s and 50s, both excellently produced by the local and well-known historian, Chris Robinson. Some period cars and fire engines were also on display and several hundred people passed through the week-long exhibition, offering many memories of their post-war experiences during the major rebuilding of a city that in Britain was the fourth worst casualty of wartime hostilities.



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Web News 39

Web News Index

Web News 41


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