Sunday 2 November 2014

Just like buses...

...nothing for ages and then a load come along at once - much like this blog lately!

Hopefully no-one's ever waited nearly a month for a 'bus (although the service round my way does its best to make it a possibility) but I'm certainly sorry - again! - that you've had to wait that long between posts.  Egads, I've been well and truly reminded why I didn't blog when I was last in full-time employment - work certainly does take up your time, doesn't it?  But have no fear, I don't intend to let Eclectic Ephemera gather dust and I absolutely promise you that no more than a month will elapse before new content appears.

In related news you may recall my mentioning the new [online] vintage magazine I have been involved with, In Retrospect.  Well despite a little wobble due to a lack of advertisers that splendid periodical is still very much with us - and soon to launch its first physical issue!  Sadly I won't be able to have something done in time for the inaugural edition (due for publication in about a month's time - watch this space for more news) but I have high hopes to make it into the January issue, fingers crossed!

Now, back to buses!  During the last few busy weeks I was able to get along to the local annual transport and classic car rally, held on the 12th October on Canvey Island and which has featured on this blog several times in previous years.  After last year's [literal] washout when floodwater severely curtailed the event, the rally's good weather fortunes had returned and we were treated to a bright - if slightly nippy - day (precipitating a series of winter colds culminating in a throat infection for your author, but it was worth it!).

Without further ado, here come the pictures:

CPU 979G, a 1969 Bristol VR, conveyed me from the local railway station to the showground; one of the many shuttle buses in use throughout the day ferrying people to and from the station, showground and museum - an excellent service.

Some old favourites from previous years were also again in attendance, including this 1941 Morris Z-Type GPO van and 1934 Morris 10/4 Saloon (below).

1950 AEC Regent III RT

This beautiful 1970 AEC Swift "SM1" caught my eye at the far end of the field; I particularly like the instructions on the front and side - today's buses should have the same I say (plus "Have fare ready" for all those bloody people who root around in their pockets/bag/purse for the money/ticket after they've boarded - can you tell I'm back in commuter mode...?)!

1953 Leyland Tiger

The showground is right next to the sea wall, on the other side of which is the Thames Estuary (on the other side of which is Kent), so at lunchtime I grabbed a bacon sarnie and mug of builders tea (complete in The Sun mug, I'm afraid to say) before taking a stroll along the sea wall.  By great good fortune I was lucky enough to see the SS Waverley steaming homeward-bound after one of its regular day trips on the Whitstable-Southend-Tilbury-London route.  The SS Waverley is the last surviving sea-going paddle steamer, built in 1947 to replace her predecessor which was lost at Dunkirk.  She was saved from the scrapheap in 1975 (sold for one whole pound!) and has since become a tourist pleasure ship on routes around the Thames, the Clyde, the Bristol Channel and the South Coast.  She's certainly a wonderful craft and, with next year being the 40th anniversary of her resurrection, I think a little cruise to London might be called for!

After lunch and that most pleasant surprise it was back to the buses:

1965 Leyland Titan

Then it was on the transport museum proper, whereupon arriving I was delighted to be met with the sight of London buses old and new!  I'd not yet seen the New Bus For London (seriously, they need to come up with a better name) up close and I came away most impressed.

Back in May the local bus operator, First Essex, commemorated 100 years of bus travel in Southend by repainting one of its vehicles in the original cream and red livery of Westcliff-on-sea Motor Services, which served the area until the 1960s.  I was pleased to see it at the museum alongside one of its forebears, a 1939 Bristol K.  Much, much better and more dignified than First's current livery of white, pink and purple I think you'll agree.  Perhaps we should start a petition to get them all repainted!

At my old primary school next to the museum the cars were packed in (a full house this year, so I heard) and undoubtedly the star of the the show for me this year was this 1935 MG N-type.  Lovingly restored over 20 years by its owner it was a testament to his enthusiasm, being in absolutely tip-top condition as far as I could see.  Alas in chatting amiably with the old boy it emerged that his son does not share the same level of interest and it was a shame to hear the sadness with which the chap admitted it.  We can only hope when the time comes it transfers to the hands of another collector (I did jocularly express my own interest, although with the more commonplace J-, P- and T-types fetching £30-40,000 and me still without a licence it would be a long time coming!) but honestly, who couldn't fail to be moved by this?


At the other end of the condition scale was this Model A Ford, a newcomer to the show (at least, I hadn't seen it before) which looked almost untouched!

One welcome return this year, though, was this 1930s Riley which had previously appeared as my show star.  Still a joy to behold, in lovely condition complete with period magazines, books and maps on the seats. 


To finish here are some close-up shots of the beautiful 1933 Huppmoblie K-321 Cabriolet Roadster, another show regular, over which I (not surprisingly) lingered for some time - even taking the time to explain to a couple of ladies the concept of a dickey seat and how the roof had to be retracted by turning the little handle behind the front seats.


Well, that's it from me for now, but I hope to be back in the coming weeks hopefully with some more interesting vintage news (it's been a bit quiet on that front lately, as it often seems to get around the end of the year).  Don't forget as well to be on the lookout for In Retrospect - in paper format! - from the beginning of December.


  1. Those are some sharp looking buses and old cars. No fine buses like that in the USA.

  2. Hello there!
    For once in my life, I'd like to take a ride in that 1930s Riley. Not drive it, I'd never.. driver's seat scares me.. :)

    Great post, amazing rides.

    My best

  3. Great stuff - seeing some of those buses would be like meeting old friends! And there I was, thinking the only decent thing to come from Canvey Island was Dr Feelgood... Great post.

  4. What lovely old motors and buses, sounds like a cracking day out to me! I have seen a few of those new Routemasters/ Borris buses around London but have not yet managed to get a ride on one as they never seem to be running the routes I am travelling on, and as I am usually with other people I haven't the heart to tell them we have to change routes just for a ride on a bus,as I'm not sure they would understand or let me here the end of it! :-)

  5. Lovely old vehicles, my uncle would have thoroughly enjoyed this.


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