Classic Buses Profiles

Southdown Leyland Tigers - Part 3, Post-war vehicles

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Last updated 28 March 2018

This series of pages is dedicated to a very special group of vehicles, the glorious and extensive fleet of Leyland Tiger single-deckers that Southdown operated both before and after the war. This page looks at the post-war buses and coaches. These links will take you to pre-war coaches and pre-war buses.

Most unusually, Southdown turned to Eastern Coachworks to build virtually "off the shelf" bodywork for its first batch of 25 post-war Leyland Tiger coaches, many of which were given a new lease of life in the mid 1950s after being converted for bus use. This is numerically the first of the batch (GUF 727), originally No.1227 but which became 677 when adapted as a bus in 1955. This, and one other, survives in preservation, and is seen here at Lincoln when photographed in April 2000 by David Beardmore.


The Southdown Enthusiasts Club has a huge amount of data regarding Southdown buses, and I recommend that you visit their page. They have also been kind enough to let me use some of their photographs, for which I am most grateful. Owners of other pictures, when known, are also credited. However the photographers of some pictures on this page are not shown on the original photograph, and therefore are not known to me. Whoever they were I thank them, and if they contact me with their names they will of course be credited. If a rightful owner wishes me to remove any hitherto anonymous image, it will be done forthwith.

My particular thanks go to Adrian Clarke for providing a large quantity of information, which has been a great help in getting this list created. Many others have helped with valuable data - too many to name I'm afraid - but thanks to you all.

The format for the listing is as follows;

Fleet No., (Regn.No.), Tiger model, Chassis number (when known), / Body manufacturer, manufacturer's body No. (when known), Southdown body No. ('Bxxx'), body configuration (except when the entire batch is the same), delivery date, subsequent modifications, withdrawal date and other notes.

As ever, mistakes are bound to creep in, and some relevant information may be missing so, in order to make it as accurate a reference as possible, I would of course welcome any additions or corrections.



LEYLAND TIGER PS1/1  -  1227-1251 (Total 25)

A tiny white number on the nearside dumb iron, above the fog lamp, reveals that this was No.687, renumbered from 1231 in 1955 when it was converted to bus configuration.
It is shown relaxing in the sun in William Street, Brighton in the late 1950s with what looks like another Tiger behind it. On the left are the premises of metal merchant M.Freeman & Co, who (among other things) were awarded the contract to pull up Brighton's tram tracks in 1940 to provide material for the war effort. Photo; Michael Rooum, London W1.

When No.1247 (later renumbered 676) was retired in 1961, it passed to Eastbourne Corporation Welfare Department and was used for the transport of the handicapped and elderly. It replaced an ex-Southdown Dennis Falcon in this role and inherited its name - "Polly". It is seen here parked outside the Corporation's Churchdale Road depot. Photo by kind permission of Cliff Essex.

Delivered between February and May 1947

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Eastern Coachworks C31R, basically the same as was common on Bristol L vehicles at the time, but with half-drop windows.

Notes: Some of this batch were rebuilt to buses in 1955, and renumbered from 675 upwards (see below). (Not all have yet been identified).

The above batch as renumbered (the first 8 had bus seats, B32R or B31R)


Renumbering details of 1242 (GUF 742), 1245 (GUF 745) and 1248 (HCD 448) not known.

LEYLAND TIGER PS1/1 - 1252-1263 (Total 12)

No.1256 with Otterburn & District

No.1256 (HCD 856) after sale to Otterburn & District in Northumberland, who clearly kept the polished radiator surround in very good shape. (Photo: Unknown)

Delivered during May 1947

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Park Royal C32R using East Kent styling, all with sliding roof.

Notes: All sold in 1958.

LEYLAND TIGER PS1 - 1264-1269 (Total 6)

1268 on Brighton seafront in the 1950s. Immediately after the war, coachwork designs were still copying the trends of the 1930s, but only for two or three more years. Photo: unknown.

Delivered between April 1947 and February 1948

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Harrington C32F, all built with sliding roof. No.1264 had a half canopy (i.e. no nearside canopy over the engine).

LEYLAND TIGER PS1  -  1270-1275 (Total 6)

No.1273, with its handsome Windover Huntingdon bodywork, assembles passengers for a trip to Hindhead in the 1950s. Photo unknown.

Delivered late 1947 to early 1948

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Windover Huntingdon C32F, all built with sliding roof and half canopies.

Notes: All sold in 1958.

LEYLAND TIGER PS1 - 1276-1298 (Total 23)

1298, the last of the batch, at rest in the 1950s, while what looks like one of the 1952 all-Leyland Royal Tigers hurries by in the background. (Photo: unknown)

Delivered between December 1947 and August 1949

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Beadle C32R, all built with sliding roof. All rebuilt by Beadle to FC32R full-fronted design during 1954-55.

LEYLAND TIGER PS1 - 1299-1311 (Total 13)

No.1306 seems to be having a drab life after its sale to Wimpey Construction. These vehicles had a relatively short life with Southdown,
their essentially pre-war styling having gone completely out of fashion within a decade. (Thanks to Photobus for the picture).

Delivered in March 1948

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Park Royal C32R, all built with sliding roof.

LEYLAND TIGER PS1 - 1312-1351 (Total 40)

No.1329 (HUF 929)

No.1329 on a tour to Oxford and Windsor on a sunny day in the 1950s. The Southdown driver examines the vehicle alongside (possibly
a Guy Arab of Rickards Tours). He knows that his coach - and his uniform - are smarter... (Camlyn Photos).

Delivered between June 1947 and November 1949

Chassis: Leyland Tiger PS1/1 (7.4 litre oil engine), 27' 6" long.

Body: Duple C32R with sliding roof. Rebuilt by Beadle to a full-fronted FC32R design during 1954-55.

No.1346 lost its original half-cab when rebuilt by Beadle in the 1950s. It was sold in 1960. (Photo: Southdown Enthusiasts Club)

No.1336 seen at Waterdale Bus Station, Doncaster on 12 May 1962 after sale by Southdown (along with several others from the batch)
to H.Pemberton Coaches of Upton, West Yorkshire. Photo by kind permission of Peter Bagshawe.

Notes: The last half-cab Tigers and the largest PS1 coach batch. Although later given full-fronts by Beadle, they were not technically 'Beadle Rebuilds', despite looking identical. The true Beadle Rebuild (as detailed below) was a radical reconstruction, involving integrating a new bodyshell onto pre-war Leyland running units (sometimes cutting up the chassis to form front and rear sub-frames), whereas this batch retained the original chassis and most of the body - only the cab was changed. Accordingly I am not classifying these with the 'Beadle Rebuilds', even though they look just like them !

TOTAL 125 ( with 3 survivors, 1227, 1249 and 1303 )




No.888 (later 649) is the only surviving Southdown Beadle Rebuild, and is preserved by Bob Gray of Fareham.
It is shown here at Patcham on the HCVS London to Brighton run in 1994. (Photo: Dick Gilbert)

In the immediate post-war years, with the half-cab design now considered somewhat dated, J.C.Beadle, bodybuilders of Dartford, came up with a novel scheme for extending the lives of pre-war single deck vehicles. The process involved integrating a new full-fronted body to pre-war Leyland running units.

Some shorter (26 foot) models were also built, which involved combining the new integral body with front and front and rear sub-frames cut from the two ends of the original chassis, retaining the engine and all major systems. Both of these conversions were universally known as the 'Beadle Rebuilds'.

Despite the age of their original chassis and engines, such vehicles were common in the South East up to the mid 1960s, as fleets of them were purchased by Southdown, Maidstone & District and East Kent. In most cases operators donated the running gear from their own older vehicles, but sometimes others were purchased for the purpose.

A full analysis of the 50 Southdown Beadle Rebuilds can get fearfully complicated, not least because all were given new fleet and registration numbers on conversion. Below is a breakdown of the two batches (one batch of 30 feet length, and one of 26 feet), also showing the identity of the pre-war Southdown vehicle which donated its components. So far so good, but the matter is then confused by a renumbering programme that took place in 1958-59.

The renumbering coincided with the conversion of ten of the shorter vehicles to buses, so the two groups now became (1) ten buses - all short, and (2) the remaining 40 coaches - some short and some long - with gaps in the sequence where the buses had been 'removed'. Thus the original Tiger TS8s (or the major parts of them) had changed numbers twice. Curiously No.1470 of 1938 regained its original number again, exactly 21 years later - the only one to do so.

LEYLAND / BEADLE - 850-869 (Total 20)

853, of the longer 30-foot batch, at Portsmouth in the 1950s. (Photo: Southdown Enthusiasts Club).

Delivered between March and June 1952

Type: Leyland / Beadle integral, 30 feet long, with 8.6 litre oil engine from pre-war Tiger TS8.

Body: FC35C (an 8ft wide body on a 7ft 6in chassis).

LEYLAND / BEADLE - 870-899 (Total 30)

No.894 of the shorter 26-foot series went to Irwins, contractors of Leeds, when sold by Southdown. (Photobus picture)

Delivered between January 1953 and February 1954

Type: Leyland / Beadle integral, 26 feet long, with 8.6 litre oil engine from pre-war Tiger TS8.

Body: FC26C.

TOTAL 50 ( with 1 survivor - 888 )




MUF 485 seen at Bognor on 12 September 1958, round about the time when it was renumbered from 885 to 646. On the extreme right of the picture is an unexpected sighting of the unique Leyland Titan PD2 No.700, built in 1950 as an all-metal 50-seat coach. Unfortunately it rolled a lot and made its passengers sick, so it was relegated to bus work. However the design eventually led to the development of the famous family of Southdown PD3/4 so-called "Queen Mary" buses - but that's another story. Photo by kind permission of Cliff Essex.

A renumbering process took place in 1958-59 for the entire fleet of 50 Beadle Rebuilds. This coincided with the conversion of ten of the shorter (26 foot) batch to bus configuration. In order to comply with the numbering system then in use, single deck buses were given fleet numbers in the 600-699 series. Thus ten of the vehicles changed from 8xx fleet numbers to the next available 6xx numbers, but not in their original sequence and with no correlation between registration and fleet numbers (in contrast to normal Southdown practice).

The remaining 40 coaches were then renumbered 1450-1499, which fitted into the current coach numbering pattern, and left all the 800-899 numbers available for the large fleet of Leyland PD3/4 'Queen Mary' buses then coming into service. The choice of 1450-1499 also enabled Southdown to link the fleet numbers with the registration numbers but, with 10 vehicles having been converted to buses, there were ten gaps in the sequence.

Beadle/TS8 B31F OPO buses - all still active 1964

Beadle/TS8 35 or 26 seat coach

Notes: The ten numbers not used became buses in the 645-654 series. All had gone by the end of 1964

For more Southdown buses see;

Southdown Leyland Tigers (1) - pre-war coaches

Southdown Leyland Tigers (2) - pre-war buses

Southdown Guy Open-toppers

Southdown coaches 1951-1961

For many other buses, have a look at all the other profiles on the Classic Buses menu page.

SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS WEBSITE;  Home   Email   Links   THE COMPLETE WEBSITE MENU   Events Diary   Halfcab list   Small-Ads   Classic Irish Buses