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  WEB NEWS 41  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief at Passion for coaches and Pangs of nostalgia.


A Passion for Coaches - Our small boy continue to recollect this childhood

During the late ‘forties, following the end of the Second World War, there was a general feeling of optimism that the world had changed for the better. The population had survived six years of sacrifice, rationing and the deaths and injuries that war brings, but there was now a sense of a new and better future for people generally. We had stepped into an era of the National Health Service, greater public ownership, better education, and servicemen were coming back from the forces to take up civilian employment  again. Rebuilding of all the bomb ravaged cities including Plymouth was at least beginning, albeit slowly, and employment generally was not a problem for most people. Quite naturally as the seasons progressed, people’s thoughts turned to holidays, and where they were to go this year. Social mobility was already better than in the pre-war years of the slump and greater numbers of people were able and determined to take holidays away from home. Most people had seen the very enticing advertising, particularly Railway advertising, for coastal resorts throughout the country, from Scarborough to Blackpool and Sennen to Brighton. The Great Western Railway even differentiated between ‘The English Riviera’ (Devon) and ‘The Cornish Riviera’ (Cornwall) in their bid to attract as much holiday traffic as possible. It became the norm for families to sit down on a cold January evening with no ‘East-Enders’ or ‘Coronation Street’ to distract them, and pore over the primitive hotel brochures, and magazines such as the now defunct Dalton’s Weekly, one of the earliest victims of the world wide web, where there were seemingly never ending lists of Guest Houses and B&Bs, and to decide where to go for their annual week, or if they were either rich or lucky, their fortnight, away. Given that few people had telephones and there was at least a two year waiting period for a new connection, and even then long distance calls required operator assistance and were so expensive, there still remained the process of writing to a few of the chosen establishments to see if there were any vacancies. Waiting in eager anticipation for the first favourable reply added excitement before sending off confirmation and a deposit. Next came thoughts of “How do we get there?” But this time there were few enticing brochures, more likely pieces of hand-written yellowing paper derived from a visit to the local railway station Booking Office or the Ticket Office at the town centre bus station, with dates, times and prices written out in a beautiful copper-plate hand. Confidently the journey could now be booked.

If you want to read the full story, and see all the pictures, then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.

Northern ‘651’ CN6610 – taking a break at Exeter after the long trip from Newcastle-upon- Tyne on a ‘Cornish Riveria Tour.

Salopia – a long forgotten name carried by HUJ997 a Foden with Whitson Observation Coach bodywork.

Ribble ‘760’ RN7752 – is seen at Clovelly whilst operating the 11 day ‘Southern Tour’.
  Pangs of nostalgia …as Bert looks back - During the war Plymouth had more than its fair share of destruction as the enemy focussed its attention on a strategic naval position and dockyard facility. It would be targeted on many occasions, particularly so in 1941 and 1944. The havoc caused, the toll on lives and human misery, the loss of infrastructure and the breakdown in communications were all too many and to add fuel to the fire, the two main bus operators who had reached a joint running agreement in 1942, were faced with a barrage of complaints from the travelling public on the matter of fares and lack of duplicate buses to convey stranded people to and from work. A glimmer of hope in the closer relationship between the Corporation and Western National had strengthened the possibility of a proper bus station for Plymothians but, with the devastation of central Plymouth in the early years of the war, put any such ideas on hold. It would be 1958 before Bretonside bus station opened. To understand the serious conditions that Plymouth experienced on the nights of 20th and 21st March 1941, they are recorded as being one of the most heaviest raids on any English city. The dockyard may have been the intended target but the city centre took the full brunt of high explosives and incendiaries which left the heart of the city blazing for fourteen days. At the height of the attack the night sky was so brilliantly lit that rescuers summoned from Exeter could see the inferno as they crossed the Haldon Hills some 40 miles away! Acres of the city had been flattened or rendered fit only for demolition and the roads were strewn with rubble, twisted girders and fallen masonry. It was against this background that Plymouthians had to pick themselves up, count the death toll, thank God that they themselves were still alive and quickly get on with sorting out the mess. The disruption to bus services not only affected those within the city but also ones coming in from outlying country districts. B V Smith, General Manager of Western National pleaded with the Regional Transport Commissioner to allow them more freedom to vary the timetables and terminus points to accommodate the situation they were now having to operate under. For example, as soon as St Andrews Cross in the city centre had become impossible to reach in safety, the Chief Constable authorised an emergency bus terminus at Moor View Terrace at the City end of Mutley Plain. On the whole this worked  well and continued in use until 2nd April 1941 and during this period the Corporation buses used other terminal points slightly closer to the centre but required the use of some very narrow streets. Immediately after the destruction of the City centre, such places as Bedford Street, Westwell Street, Basket Street, Old Town Street and Whimple Street were largely impassable. If you want to read the full story, and see all the pictures, then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.  

Archive update

Just the Ticket - 17

Points of View

Wheels of the West - Book review

Future Events








HHT 90X - a leyland Octopus bulker used on contract hire to Mole Valley Feeds. Pictured in Gregory's yard, North Tawton in March 1984.


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