I AM CHRISTOPHER LEACH THE ARTIST. I started this blog so that I can share with everyone my vast collection of transport photographs showing a personal and nostalgic view of the industry with images that span some 45 years taking in the U.K and some of Europe. I have no darkroom and so rather than being the perfectionist after tidying them up I upload the images warts and all, and even those that won't scan squarely or are scratched. In a way it adds age and character. You are all free to download these for your personal use but please remember I still own them and you are not just free to use them without prior permission for any knd of publishing. Click on images to enlarge them and if you want to see more leave your comments or visit my website for the mother-site with galleries including those Buses & Girls: PICTUREWORLD

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Birmingham Bus: Suits you Sir!

In the good old days of my childhood a town's buses were seen to be an important utility and like everything else owned by the Council a part of it's unique identity, heritage and of great Civic-Pride. No bricked-up toilets and vandalised parks in those days.With his engineering qualifications and sometimes large budget the General Manager of a bus company was an important individual who could tailor the fleet to his exact requirements. The biggest operators like Birmingham City Transport often ordered buses in the hundreds and even though he had to order a basic design there seemed no end of possibilities towards changing the specification or showing the way ahead with modifications and extras. Of course to make their mark some managers satisfied themselves with just smaller detail changes to suit their tastes like altering the destination screen layout or graphics and livery but Birmingham, Britain's Second City, with it's fair share of slums and dirty industry ordered buses that had a half-timbered feel and looked a bit like a country cottage on wheels complete with a beautiful traditional dark and cosy interior fitting of a city that was still known as the Workshop-of-World. Indeed all that seemed missing was the upright-piano and roses around the door. Likewise in those days mechanical things were a part of a man's world and of course for little boys and buses looked all the better for it. Elegant and beautifully proportioned No.I621 a Coventry built 1947 chrome-fronted Daimler CVG6 carries an MCW body built in the city at Washwood Heath. Many years later right up to the end of the Eighties Birmingham buses in the shape of the Metrobus would still be built by MCW and powered by Gardner as in a sense everyone who had safely come through The War believed it would. Today all that is forgotten and cast aside as my memories of Yesterday has become rather unbelievable rather like the story line to some Ealing Comedy. The trouble is it all seems rather like yesterday and I half expect to still find a BMMO D9 heading for Wolverhampton and Birmingham on the 196. Now that's another local big bus company I had almost forgotten about.
(As if!)

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