The Bus Up the Dale

Location, location, location !?!

Few things are more exasperating than a bus photograph caption that doesn’t give any idea of the date or the location. Now then, here are a few shots—taken, mark you, by dedicated bus photographers—which have come in, from various sources, without those details. Do you happen to recognize any of these locations? It’s unlikely these photographers just happened to be passing: it’s far, far more likely they had gone on purpose to these places, to photograph buses. So, these are almost certainly places where buses were regularly to be found. You may have been to one or more of these same places for similar reasons! Or, of course, you might just happen to have been acquainted with the place anyway, for entirely innocent and blameless reasons (or else for reasons which may have been far from blameless, yet which had nothing to do with buses).

Another possibility: if bus photographers were going to these places, then you may have seen photographs of other buses in the same location, and one of those photographs might happen to come with a caption that actually names the location.

Before we get going—
Here’s a typical example: a location identified by someone who had never even set foot in the town, and who wasn’t even born when the photograph was taken:– EXAMPLE 1

And another example of a location that can be (and was!) identified without even getting further than the bathroom, let alone anyone getting dressed and actually going anywhere:– EXAMPLE 2


So, that’s the kind of territory we’re in here—
It’s a question of trying to identify the location, either by recognizing it as somewhere you’ve personally been, or by matching it with one or more other pictures you may have seen—or, of course, you may even have the very same photograph yourself, with the location already named. You may fancy trying just for your own amusement but, if you feel like sharing your conclusions, please use the “Contact Us” links below or those on the Home Page.

As many of these photographs are commercially available, obviously it would be wrong to upload them in such a fashion as would enable unscrupulous people to copy them free of charge—the respective owners of the Copyright would not appreciate that! Hence the need for the unsubtle obstruction of the views of the vehicles themselves. Permission has been granted, and/or terms agreed, for use of these photographs in the book, but not for putting them on the internet to be filched by every Thomas, Richard, and Henry—and then, as often as not, plastered all over Facebook.

For purposes of pinning down the location, what matters here is the background, rather than the actual buses!

Now for the locations we’re still hoping to identify—
This is one of Percival’s Comets, KXU 675, looking as though it could be parked up somewhere like Bedale on a Market Day service, but of course it could be on a Private Hire with the Richmond destination just happening to be showing on the indicator. Any thoughts, anybody?

If inspiration strikes, please get in touch!

This is Handley’s Thames Trader 7285 LG, with West Yorkshire Road Car paper destination labels for Morecambe in the windscreen, and Catterick Camp showing on the indicator—but the few passengers on board look like old ladies, not squaddies. We have a box junction, some traffic lights, some tall urban buildings suggestive of dark Satanic mills in the offing, and the smaller building visible to the rear of the coach has stone arches supporting a brick upper storey; above and behind that building, at the top left of the frame, may be the superstructure of a gas-holder. No points for spotting the Bedford HA van (unless you happen to be one of the people in it, which would probably win you this month’s Star Prize!), but does this junction, in this (conjecturally) Northern industrial town, say anything to you?

If inspiration strikes, please get in touch!


It looks very much like a coach park—but which one? There are so many to choose from! Three Percival’s coaches are parked up side by side, all showing Private on the destination indicators (and not displaying any On Hire stickers): more likely a week-end pleasure trip than a military leave run. The coaches themselves are, from left to right, Leyland SAJ 994, Bedford XHN 49, and A.E.C. SAA 750 still in original Parlane’s (Aldershot) livery—this combination enables us to narrow down the date to 1958 or 1959, in fact perhaps more likely Summer 1958, looking at the leaves on the trees.

If inspiration strikes, please get in touch!


So far as the Percival’s coaches are concerned, here we have two Bedfords side by side, 9542 PT on the left (upper pic.) and 487 DVN on the right (lower pic.). There’s no shortage of other operators’ coaches either, in this capacious coach park—a happy hunting ground for the bus photographer/s who came here on this sunny day. Again, these two shots have come in from two different sources, but were evidently taken in the same place on the same day. It’s a fair bet that the same photographer/s took shots of every coach in the coach park, and if the above two prints are in circulation then no doubt so are all the others: many collectors must have some or all of them in their collections. As it happens, when these two came in, they came with no details of date and place, but maybe some people possess copies which do have that information, or else maybe someone will recognize the location?

If inspiration strikes, please get in touch!

Again, if inspiration strikes, please get in touch.

North Devon, Summer 1972 (no, this is not, strictly, to do with The Bus Up the Dale...): does anyone happen to have a 1972 Southern National timetable handy? The destination indicator says Barnstaple, but that may be a red herring if the bus is actually at the opposite end of the route—so, where did the 308 go? As always, if you can shed any light, please do get in touch!

UPDATE—Latest thinking is this could be Riverside Works, Bideford—can anyone comment?

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