Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Impressive But Controversial (1)

What is a Bus Museum For?
Because they are plentiful and (relatively) cheap, it had not been difficult to accumulate a collection of old buses. Tensions arise when it comes to deciding which buses are right for the Museum. But there is always the bigger tension. Should the project be a means of preserving meaningful old vehicles or should it be a tourist attraction aimed at the general public?

When fbb was an Island resident, he steered well clear of the Museum gang; not because they were horrid or anything like that, far from it. But they just could not make up their corporate mind as to what (or whom) the Museum was for.

There is no doubt that the trustees want to see live, working buses; not static "museum pieces" - and that can be mighty expensive. This, as our readers will immediately recognise, is part of the clutch for an FLF.
This is an FLF ...
...and under each of these three bits is a clutch "finger".
It is a short metal rod made out of something very strong. And they cannot be bought off the shelf. It costs £250 EACH to have them made. OUCH! It is this level of dedication (and expenditure) that is a perpetual challenge for the enthusiast.

Special events raise a hefty bag of pennies towards the Museum's work.

The biggest event (and growing bigger each year) on the Isle of Wight is the Beer and Buses weekend.
As a member of the team explained; the beer people come because the buses are free and the bus people come because they like a pint in between bus rides.

And the Museum sells a guide to the beer (£6) and a guide to the buses (£5), neither of which is required to enjoy the day; but most participants buy one or the other and many buy both AND make a donation when they visit the museum! The event reputedly contributes 25% of the Museum's annual income.

Not only that, but dedicated bus enthusiasts bring their buses as well. 70 vehicles were on show for the weekend!

The "Beer" book contains thumbnail articles (with pictures) about each participating venue with speciality beers on offer and a discount for the first pint.
The "Bus" book, surprisingly., contains a list of all participating vehicles with a potted history of each.
fbb's "favourite" was this beauty.
It resides now in Lancashire but originally operated from Alexander Midland's depot at Milngavie, literally at the bottom of the road where Mrs fbb had her family home.

The "Beer" book has a route map of all the free services operated.
Both books has the timetables which were impressively frequent. The West Wight circular ran every 30 minutes both ways round, with Ryde to Newport being every 20 minutes. Buses even climbed the steep and narrow road up to Culver Down at the very eastern "point" of the Island's diamond shape.
And, yes, there is a pub up there as well as a stunning view.
The monument is to the Earl of Yarborough, as everyone knows!

Charles Pelham of Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire, was created 1st Earl of Yarborough in 1837. By marriage, he inherited Appuldurcombe, once the grandest mansion on the Isle of Wight, and it became his second home. As he was the first Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, Charles visited Appuldurcombe frequently.

The 1849 monument on Culver Down above Bembridge, is a massive obelisk of granite, set on a square base with family arms carved on two sides. The inscription records that he was held in great affection by Islanders.

The pub has one of the most spectacular outlooks of any on the Island.

Apparently the weekend was a huge success and much of this is down to Museum member Ben who works tirelessly and frantically to make it all a good show. Ben used to work for fbb in the days of xephos; he was renowned for frequent outbursts of asperity when his confuser did not do what Ben thought it should.

fbb objected to the "strong language", particularly blasphemous utterances, and persuaded the lad to try an alternative.

Visitors to the office would be surprised to hear a loud and bitter "Steeple Bumpstead" issuing from Ben's workstation.

But we still haven't got to the best bit. The Third booklet thrust into fbb's hands was the Museum's guide book. This used to be a rather staid affair, aimed mostly at enthusiasts ...
... but the latest version, professionally produced by an Isle of Wight design firm, is very different. It is by far the best guide book to a transport attraction that fbb has ever had the privilege of reading.
We will taker a "butchers" tomorrow.

 Next Museum blog : Wednesday 2nd November 

No comments:

Post a Comment