Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest NetGalley

British Independent Bus and Coach Operators (Hardback)

A Snapshot from the 1960s

Transport Photographic Books 20th Century Buses

By Jim Blake
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 200 black and white
ISBN: 9781473857148
Published: 5th May 2020

in_stock

£25.00

You'll be £25.00 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase British Independent Bus and Coach Operators. What's this?
+£4.50 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £35
(click here for international delivery rates)

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates



During the 1960s, a large number of independent bus and coach fleets existed, which varied enormously in size and scope of operation. They ranged from major operators such as Barton Transport (Nottinghamshire); Lancashire United and West Riding who operated stage carriage services as well as coach fleets; or Wallace Arnold Tours of Leeds, a major coach touring company in Britain and Continental Europe; to small operators who possessed just a handful of vehicles. The latter were sometimes involved only in private hire work, for such things as outings to sporting events or theatres, school or industrial contracts or often a combination of both. Smaller operators were based throughout the country, sometimes in tiny villages but also in the heart of large cities.

Often the smaller operators bought redundant buses and coaches from major operators, whether BET, BTC (Tilling) or municipal concerns, or London Transport. Many got bargains from the latter, with surplus RT and RTL double-deckers sold following the disastrous bus strike and service cuts of 1958. Conversely, redundant vehicles bought by independent fleets often brought types that came from as far away as Scotland to London and the south east. In the 1960s, the oldest buses and coaches with independent fleets were those employed on school or industrial contracts. These were not subject to the rigorous tests governing those carrying fare-paying passengers, so could be kept going until they were literally falling apart! These were known as ‘non-PSVs’, i.e. non-public service vehicles. On the other hand, some very small independent fleets, often with the title ‘Luxury Coaches’, took great pride in their fleets. They would purchase new coaches every two or three years and keep them in immaculate condition.

The net result was that British independent bus and coach operators in the 1960s had a fascinating variety of chassis and body makes and styles, as well as liveries. This book shows many of these as they were between fifty and sixty years ago.

A very enriching photo album.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

Review by Malcolm Bobbitt

... this book will evoke memories.

Society of Automotive Historian, Archive Issue 107 September 2020

The author has captured this variety well with a series of good quality and well framed black and white photos. There is a mix of 'on the road' and depot shots, with operators both large and small included. Many of the independents depicted became part of the National Bus Company or PTE fleets at the end of the decade, so it is good to seem them in their prime. This is pure nostalgia, and well worth a look.

PSV Circle, June 2020
 Jim Blake

About Jim Blake

Jim Blake was born in December 1947, just before the nationalisation of Britain's railways and London Transport, born and brought up in Canonbury in today's London Borough of Islington, he lived in the heart of London's legendary trolleybus system and also had North London's last trams, which served Kingsway Subway, on his doorstep.


This ensured a life long interest in buses, trolleybuses and trams, as well as railways, which most young lads had in the 1950s.


He begun transport photography in 1961, subsequently taking over 100,000 still pictures and went on to cover transport subjects with his cine camera in colour during the late 1960s and 1970s.


Since 1977 he has had a considerable number of books published covering bus and railway subjects across the country, looking at a wide number of fleets and operations.


Much of his work encapsulates a time of great change in the world of transport, with many types of vehicle and chassis types diminishing owing to standardisation.


The operators were in themselves also changing and his books reflect the changing transport scene of this interesting period, showing the social changes as well as that of the corporate.

More titles by Jim Blake

Customers who bought this title also bought...

Other titles in Pen & Sword Transport...