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Website launched in August 1996, and this page was last updated on 27 August 2015.

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Museum volunteers are appealing for help in finding a unique piece of Greater Manchester's transport heritage, stolen after thieves broke into a locked cabinet and made off with a distinctive silver 'knight's head'. The 4-inch high silver emblem, a miniature bust of a knight's head, was once fitted to an Atkinson bus that trundled the streets of Greater Manchester until it arrived at its last terminus in 1970. The bus was saved and is on display at the Museum of Transport Greater Manchester in Boyle Street, Cheetham but the knight's head disappeared until earlier this year and was donated to the volunteers who run the Museum.

The head was too precious to put back on the bus so it was displayed in a locked cabinet. But now heartless thieves have broken open the cabinet and stolen it, robbing the Museum and its visitors of a little piece of transport history. "Only one of these knight's heads was ever made, making it a complete one-off," said Museum spokesman Paul Williams. "It means nothing to the thieves but it's actually a piece of history. The thief may have taken it to sell to an unscrupulous collector, or because it's shiny they may have thought it was silver - but actually it's just chrome plating. It's worthless to the thief but it means a lot to the volunteers who give their time to charity to keep the museum open, and our fear is that if it was a thief looking for precious metal they've found out that it isn't - and they've just thrown it away."

The theft happened over the weekend of 9/10 August, and the Museum is now asking for help in returning the knight's head. "It may be on sale on eBay, it might be on a junk stall, it could even be lying in a corner thrown away", said Paul. "We want everyone who cares about Greater Manchester's history to be our eyes and ears to look out for our little knight in shining armour and help it come home."

If anyone hears anything about the theft or the whereabouts of the stolen Atkinson knight's head emblem, please call contact Collyhurst Police Station, Greater Manchester Police on 101 quoting crime number 141-827-M15; or Crimestoppers, 0800-555-111.


This fine picture taken by Ken Jones at the "Southdown 100" event in Southsea, shows Southdown breakdown tender 0184 (EUF 184), converted from a 1938 Leyland TD5 bus and now owned by the Southdown Omnibus Trust. It makes a relevant link to a recent addition to this website, Clifford Jones's memories of Southdown, his ownership of one of these tenders, and many other tales. Thanks Ken.

Incidentally Clifford (who knows a thing or two about these breakdown vehicles) has noted that the number plate is in the wrong place. When converted to a recovery vehicle the number plate was relocated under the windscreen where the brackets were for the trade plates. But those brackets now hold a "TOWING" sign which should be up on the cant rail where the holes for those brackets are still visible. The brackets themselves seem to have disappeared.

Having said that, all the Southdown TD5 breakdown trucks did have 'blank' plates below the radiator which bore no number. Presumably the brackets below the windscreen enabled various trade plates to be attached or changed as required. Perhaps, now that the vehicle has reverted to its permanent number EUF 184, the owner has decided to use the fixed plate instead. It's all so complicated...

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A sharp-eyed correspondent brought my attention to the recent TV advert by which shows Brian the robot being fed down a conveyor towards a scary crusher. On the belt just ahead of Brian is a registration plate with the number LN 4743. Now that number belongs to a 1911 B-Type bus, entrusted to the care of the Imperial War Museum. Surely the IWM haven't crushed it??

It normally resides either at the Imperial War Museum in London, or at Duxford, but here's a picture of it at the London Transport Museum last October. Don't worry - it's fine. So how did that registration plate end up in the crusher? And where was the crusher anyway? As always, email me here if you can offer some answers. By the way, Brian is fine too.

UPDATE; The Imperial War Museum say they know nothing about the plate in the crusher, and it must be just a coincidence that it matches their bus. say exactly the same thing - it's probably just a coincidence. They say that the debris on the belt was supplied by a film props company, and they will find out which company it was.

LAST MYSTERY PICTURE The true identity of the Bedford VAM purporting to be LAW 129F was not established, and we gave up.

Welcome to the home of classic buses and coaches on the net. I'm Dick Gilbert. This site is all about nostalgia for British passenger transport vehicles from the 1920s to the 1960s, with an unashamed bias towards 'halfcabs'.

Each page has a different colour scheme which is supposed to be reminiscent of some bus or coach company from the era, and this one is meant to represent Western / Southern National. As a result of this arrangement, some of the pages are hard to read, and some will scramble your brain. I'm sure you'll manage.

My interest in British buses began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the buses and coaches that were around then are all 'classics' now. It was an interesting period, when there were still pre-war and wartime 'utility' machines about (although mostly on the point of retirement), and a large number of halfcab vehicles that had been built immediately after the war. At the same time, new products like the Leyland Atlantean, AEC Regent V, and a host of 'modern' coach designs (Plaxton Panorama, Harrington Cavalier, Weymann Fanfare etc.) were appearing. It was a transitional period when vehicles from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s could all be seen in use at the same time.

Having been born in south London, London Transport was the first operator that I lived with, then we moved to Sussex and I grew up with Southdown, Maidstone & District, East Kent, and the municipal fleets of Eastbourne and Brighton, as well as the large number of excursion coaches that used to visit the south coast every summer.

In the early 1960s I used to make trips to London to visit Victoria Coach Station, or see the last of the London Transport trolleybuses, or the last halfcab single deckers (TDs). Unfortunately, although I saw what I went to see, most of the photographs I took are not particularly brilliant, or have been lost. However I do have some black & white pictures taken at Victoria Coach Station, London, and in Sussex between 1960 and 1962 which are barely reasonable, and some of them appear around this site. Here's one;

Lincolnshire Leyland Cub

This was taken at 'The Crumbles', Eastbourne, in the summer of 1962, where Claude Lane was running the narrow gauge Eastbourne Tramway (now moved to Seaton, Devon). He had used this ex Lincolnshire Road Car Leyland KPZ01 Cub as a lorry in the past, and it was left to rot outside his depot. New in May 1937 it was FW 8855, originally fleet number LC502, one of thirty delivered that year with Brush B20F bodies. I guess someone might rescue it these days.

I attend a few rallies around the country, and like to see the old machines that people have restored. Reviews and/or pictures of some of the shows I attend appear on the pages here, although it can take a while before I get round to it. The whole idea of the site is to entertain the sad souls (like me !) who have a soft spot for old PSVs, and also be a sorting office for information on the subject.

It's all for fun, so relax and have a wistful rummage through the scrapbook. If you weren't around in the 1960s (and they say that, if you were, you won't remember it) then these pages might provide an insight into the variety of glamorous machines that could be seen on British streets at the time.

Incidentally, this site has no connection whatsoever with Classic Bus magazine, but I thoroughly, absolutely, unreservedly and totally recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject. It is published 6 times a year, and regular readers all wish it was 12 times a year. Folk in the UK should be able to order it through their newsagents. Those offshore should contact Classic Bus Publishing Ltd., 18 Brunstane Road, Edinburgh, EH15 2QJ, Scotland. When it falls on your doorstep it's like when the delivery guy has brought you a really good pizza.

Please keep in touch, as changes are taking place here all the time, and let me know if you spot a mistake somewhere - I do try to keep things pretty accurate. I know that there are some real boffins out there, and I need you to tell me when something is inaccurate. So welcome to the site, browse around and make yourself at home.



You can Email me here.

SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS SITE;  Email me   Events Diary   CLASSIC BUSES WEBSITE SHOP   Halfcab survivors   Links   Small ads   Classic Irish Buses


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