Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Reading

A Devon General Update
Having blogged about the history of this memorable and much remembered bus company, fbb asked Santa, Father Christmas, SinterKlaas, Kris Kringle, La Befana and/or Mrs fbb if he/they might source a copy of the above book which  is officially out of print.

Leslie Folkard probably knows more about Devon General than any other bus geek, alive or dead. The book reflects his eminent and extensive expertise. Unlike most publications, which are collections of photos of buses with explanatory comments, this is a work of true omnibological scholarship.

Amongst other things, it corrects an fbb guess in "Shuffling the Pack" (read again). fbb thought that this building, photographed last November, was the old Sidmouth depot.
Unlikely; as Leslie Folkard tells us the the Sidmouth premises were demolished in 1990! This is what he reported, authoritatively (op. cit. page 264):-

SIDMOUTH (MILL STREET)
Devon general buses had commenced running to Sismouth in July 1921, and in the following year, garage accommodation was rented from Martin's Lavender Garage, in Mill Street (by the junction with Russell Street). Five drivers were based there. The site became insufficient for traffic needs, so accomodation was rented at Newton Poppleford.

The site is now part of a car park.

So, how did fbb fare with his guess for the location of the Newton Poppleford depot?
However plausible fbb's possible sighting might have been, like Sidmouth it was completely wrong. Folkard states (op. cit. page 266):-

NEWTON POPPLEFORD
A garage in Station Road was rented from Mr. W Potter, who had demolished an existing carpenter's shop, installed petrol pumps and raised the roof so as to enable six buses to be stabled there. The depot was vacated when the purpose-built Woolbrook depot was opened back in Sid,mouth; the premises continue in use as Oak Tree Garage.
At least, this is Oak Tree Garage today according to the near-omnipotent Google. It actually looks a bit more like a bus depot when viewed from the air ...
... or "round the back."!
So, on two counts, old chubbo was utterly wrong.

The book was written for the Silver Jubilee of the Devon General Society in 2007 and copies are still available from the society's shop. Visit their excellent web site (here).

Meanwhile, enjoy a pic of an ex Devon General bus in a special livery to promote revised route and timetable arrangements ...
... during the rebuilding of the Yarmouth bridge on the Isle of Wight; work completed in 1987.
... and an Island registered Southern Vectis "sister" in preservation.
And, finally, one of four Leyland Atlanteans ordered for Devon General. The vehicles were painted and lettered for DG but diverted to Yorkshire Traction. This example, still in DG livery but now lettered for Yorkshire Traction is seen at Leeds bus station and will arrive in Sheffield over two-and-a-half hours later.
Devon General, a  fascinating story indeed.
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Next Blog : due Wednesday December 28th 

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