Sunday 14 August 2011

It's Sadly Died, our Civic Pride [2]

Pride and Prejudice?
This bus is a preserved Northampton Corporation Transport Daimler with Roe bodywork, delivered in 1949. It is running a trip from the Lincolnshire Transport museum at Hykeham. It is both an example of Civic Pride and possibly of Prejudice. "Surely someone who spends their own money (and lots of it, too) on something like this is a bit of an eccentric, a bus nut."

Each year a "nostalgia" running day is held in Northampton, and later this month it is hoped that bus 129 (VV 6934) will attend. It will join some of these ...
... and here's a better view of the one at the back, still, when this was taken, awaiting its civic crest.
Chum Alan, our Northampton correspondent, lists 5 vehicles preserved and in a good state of repair ...

129 : VV 8934  : 1945 Daimler Duple
154 : ANH 154  : 1947 Daimler NCB
246 : BNH 246C : 1965 Daimler Roe  
258 : GNH 258F : 1967 Daimler Roe
267 : JVV 267G : 1968 Daimler Roe

... and a lot more in bits.  

  9 : NH 9189  : 1929 FCX Grose
146 : VV 9141  : 1946 Crossley Roe (& 3 others)
197 : DNH 197  : 1953 Daimler Roe  
211 : JVV 211  : 1959 Daimler Roe  
250 : BNH 250C : 1966 Daimler Roe
266 : JVV 266G : 1968 Daimler Roe
 66 : VVV 66S  : 1977 Bristol Alexander/East Lancs

To expect all of these, of which some are duplicate types, to be resurrected is unrealistic; but maybe some. And what of the single deck Daimlers and Leyland Nationals, presumably lost and gone for ever?
But a more telling question is this. Now that civic pride is replaced by nationally owned commercialism, will anyone ever be bothered to preserve this ...
... or this?
Civic Pride cannot be replaced with affection for other towns' "hand-me-downs".  Thus the richness of our Municipal Heritage will slowly fade away as the next generations of  "bus nuts" see no point in preserving that which is already seedy and second hand. Fortunately civic pride remains in a few places; Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, indeed MOST of those towns and cities that have held on to their bus operations, albeit at a Government enforced "arms length".
And in Brighton, Roger French has successfully incorporated the remnants of Southdown and Brighton Corporation into the Brighton and Hove company and re-created immense civic pride whilst under the ownership of Go-Ahead. So, it can be done.
How about something similar, First Bus? Something less cluttered up with ticket price offers, Stagecoach? Something a little different, occasionally, from boring blue, Arriva? If not civic pride, certainly Local Pride for local services needs to be rebuilt.

Meanwhile, 129's owner has created a truly magnificent web site covering both the history of Northampton trams and buses AND his personal commitment to hard work in the preservation of his beautiful bouncing baby. You can find it here.  Read it, and enjoy!

Next blog : due Monday August 15th
      Delayed Dagenham Part 5     


  1. "will anyone ever be bothered to preserve this ..."

    I think the answer to your question is on the 11th August post on 'Plymothian Transit' ( Apparently, it's 'yes'. Not really my cup of tea, but I think it's a positive sign that people are still getting interested in buses!

  2. Point taken RC169, BUT ...
    I think the vehicle actually stayed in Devon? The two Northampton examples I think (?) both came from somewhere else.
    Which is the point I was trying to make.

  3. I take your point in that respect - most preserved vehicles probably do carry liveries of their original owners (even if not the original livery). This does mean that independent operators who use(d) secondhand vehicles more or less exclusively are rather under-represented in preservation. This is perhaps unfortunate, as some vehicles have long lives with second owners. There are some exceptions, of course, so that perhaps vehicles that stay long enough in a particular town or area will build up a 'following' even if they did not run in that particular area when new.

    The three large groups have to some extent developed liveries and fleet numbering systems to facilitate transfers around the country, and the TfL contract policy has caused something of a 'cascade' policy to be developed for vehicles that start their lives in London. However, the NBC was not averse to transferring vehicles among fleets, and once standardised types like Leyland Nationals and Bristol VRTs had become established, the effect was little different to that of the modern groups. The Scottish Bus Group seemed to do it even more frequently, despite the greater livery variety. Perhaps the strong Scottish influence in two of the modern large groups explains their enthusiasm for such transfers!