Elms Coaches/Elmtree's Bristol Buses & the 98B Bus Route
The following story about an incident on the 98b bus route may also be found on the Ruislip on Line website. They very kindly published it and it has remained there for several years. I have altered the text slightly here in order to update the history of the route and also out of courtesy to the orginal proprietor of Elms Coaches. I referred to him as the "old man" in the Ruislip text.
I used to be one of the drivers on the 98b bus service that ran from Ruislip to Rayners Lane via Pinner. I agree that the vehicles (mainly old Bristols) had seen better days but the route was well used, mainly as a shoppers' bus during the middle part of the day, but could be very busy at peak times for business and school travellers.
Several operators ran the route during its lifetime between 1966 and 1988. A detailed history may be found here: Two London Bus Routes
I drove part-time on the route for each of the following operators: Elms Coaches; Atlas Coaches and Elmtree Transport and have fond memories of the route. Particularly one snowy Saturday afternoon when my bus couldn't manage to make it up Bridge Street in Pinner. I popped into the Police Station and about half a dozen very willing coppers ran out and pushed the bus over the brow of the hill near the old Langham cinema.
I suppose one would be lucky to find the police station open these days, never mind coppers inside it!
Bernard Cheek founded Elmtree Transport, after his father retired, and ran the 98b service for seventeen years until its closure in 1988.
Pinner Red Lion Public House and the 183 Bus Service
I took the photograph of Pinner Red Lion c 1963 shortly before it closed. A brief history of the pub can be found at the Pubs History website. The site where the Red Lion stood is now called "Red Lion Parade" but it is likely that many Pinner residents will have no idea where the name comes from. After all it is half a century since I took the picture and Pinner has changed quite a bit since then!
The LT bus waiting at the terminus is a 183. This service, started in 1937, ran between Golders Green and Northwood but a number of the journeys terminated and turned round at the Red Lion. The 183s were based at Hendon (AE) which closed in 1987. The 183 service is still active, over pretty much its original route, as a Transport for London contracted service.
Anyone interested in anything concerning Pinner will find the Pinner Association very helpful.
Mead Transport (Kingsbury) Ltd was a haulage company based at Forth Way, Exhibition Grounds, Wembley. They were general hauliers with a fleet of some twenty five lorries, all Fords. The company had been started after the 2nd World War as had many similar companies. The majority of Mead's work consisted of transporting goods to or from London's Docks for a number of companies such as Glaxo, Morny, Beechams, Brylcreem, Black & Decker. This was before the 1968 Transport Act scrapped the old A,B and C licensing system and replaced it with the Operator Licence and long before we began to see foreign registered goods vehicles on our roads. The founder of the company, Mr W E Mead retired in 1965 and sold the business to Transport Development Group. However the manager at the time, Eric Thomas, was appointed Managing Director and he remained in that position until the business ceased trading in 1976.
I spent two years between 1966/1968 driving for "Old Meady" as the company was affectionately known. A job that I will always remember with great pleasure. The docks were amazing places to work in and whilst I have to admit that the new London Docklands architecture is wonderful to behold, I would rather see ships there!
If only the digital camera had been invented back then!
Here is a link to the Docklands Museum which is located on the site of the old West India Dock.
H.M.S Worcester III
I took the photograph of the training ship HMS Worcester III when it was moored at South Dock, West India Dock sometime in 1967. Whilst I was watching, the ship was being towed away from its moorings and out into the river.
In the late sixties and early seventies I was a medical sales representative with Nicholas Laboratories Ltd. This company, a part of the Aspro Nicholas group, had its headquarters at 225 Bath Road, Slough in Buckinghamshire. The photograph, in my gallery, was taken at one of the annual sales conferences at the Old England Hotel in Windermere. The whole of the sales staff are present and also the senior management, including Mr Stewart Kipling the managing director.
Nicholas Laboratories still operated a policy of ethical sales in its approach to the medical profession and like several of its peers was respected for this. The hard-sell was not considered appropriate. Times have no doubt changed this philosophy! Details of the company and its relationship with its parent and other group members may be found at the Graces's Guide website.
The companies' range of products included, among others: antibiotics; specifics for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis; media for use in radiography.
Public Service Vehicle Driver's Badge
In order to be able, legally, to drive a bus or coach, it was mandatory to be in possession of a PSV licence. The licences were issued by the various Traffic Area Commissioners and required each applicant to take a fairly substantial driving test. I had a badge for London and later for Yorkshire. The badge proved the possession of the licence and it had to be worn so that it could be seen. The initial letter/s of the badge identification number indicated the traffic area in which the licence had been issued. London's Metropolitan Traffic Area was unique in having just the one letter character (N) whereas all other areas had two letter codes.
Stephen Howarth's website describes the badge system in excellent detail.
Edward VIIIth Pillar Box
The abdication of king Edward 8th in 1936 left only a few pillarboxes labelled with his insignia. However there are apparently somewhere in the region of 150 still in daily use in various parts of the UK. I have deliberately not disclosed the location of the pillarbox shown pictured in my gallery. If you think you know where it is then let me know via the contact page. There are a few websites with pages relating to pillar boxes. For example: The British Postal Museum & Archive and Paul's Unofficial Letterbox Pages
My dad's car, in 1957, was an A50 Austin Cambridge (71 CMY). He was a medical sales rep so would need to change his car every two years or so. We had been on holiday in Yorkshire and were heading back home down the Great North Road (A1) when there was an ominous bang from the Cambridge's engine compartment. This happened just adjacent to Royal Airforce Station Woolfox Lodge . We had to have the car towed into a nearby village called Great Casterton (Rutland) by a motor engineers called Forsyth & Ferrier. They diagnosed that the car's big-end had failed so we had to leave the car at the garage and travel back to Pinner by rail. We actually caught the train south from Essendine station which was the location of the world speed record by Mallard in 1938. We returned the following week, once again by train, and that was when, 24th August 1957, the rail tickets displayed in the gallery were issued.
A similar ticket today for the same journey, London Kings Cross to Stamford, is £55! Essendine station closed to passengers in 1959 and totally in 1966.