Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sepia Saturday - Hold very tight please! Ting-ting!


Omnibuses always remind me of the song ‘Transport of Delight’ by Michael Flanders and Donald Swann. For those that don’t know it you can check out the lyrics  here.

One of the oldest pictures I could find was of these omnibuses of William Winterbottom, Hill End, Brisbane, ca 1889

 (Held in the John Loxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

The fleet of omnibuses is stationed outside some houses at the Hill End area of West End, Brisbane. Members of the Winterbottom family are posing with the vehicles.

Then I found these stereoscopic views from the Robert N Denis collection created in c1889, currently located in the New York Public Library

 South-Ferry, New York. Arrival and departure of omnibuses to all parts of the city.
Publisher: E. & H.T. Anthony (Firm)

The first recorded use of the word 'omnibus' as a designation of a vehicle occurred in a printed memorandum dated 3rd April 1829. Written by George Shillibeer (1797-1866) to John Thornton, the Chairman of the Board of Stamps (from whom a licence to operate in London was required), it announced that Shillibeer was engaged "…in building two vehicles after the manner of the recently established French omnibus…"

Shillibeer's service, between Paddington Green and the Bank, commenced on 4th July 1829 and introduced a new type of vehicle to the roads of Britain. This date is generally regarded as the start of omnibus history in Great Britain.
Shillibeer's First Omnibus
Shillibeer's first vehicles were box-like structures pulled by three horses abreast, with a rear entrance on which the conductor stood. Seating was on longitudinal benches with passengers facing each other. Later vehicles, including those of other operators, were generally smaller, pulled by just two horses.


 The 1911 built bus, number B340 (reg. LA 9928), built and operated by the London General Omnibus Company owned by the London Transport Museum, on the London to Brighton run, Sunday 7th May 2006.
(Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)

B340 has been owned by the London Transport Museum since it was taken out of service in the 1920s. It saw service in the First World War taking troops to the trenches of France.
The vehicle behind is the Routmaster RM1, a celebrity vehicle in its own right, reduced to providing service as a tender vehicle for the day and given the job of following the B Type for 70 miles to Brighton. And back!

Now if you wish you can listen to the Flanders and Swann lyrics sung by Ian Wallace at http://www.nme.com/nme-video/youtube/id/zT0lmusukAE

To visit other sepia posts check out Alan's Omnibus 98  

19 comments:

DW96 said...

Second comment attempt.

Great pictures, Bob, and I do remember the Flanders and Swann record.

Karen S. said...

Bob, you do the best ever at putting these Sepia Saturday posts together. The last bus reminds me of a British version of wheels on the bus with a really awesome group going around in a bus singing...this is really a great grab on the theme! I'm gonna mis this week as I'm going out of town this Saturday and won't be back until the following Saturday on Nov 5th! Have a great rest of the week!

Liz Stratton said...

Great collection of interesting images and the history behind them.

Linda said...

Wonderful and informative. The stereoscopic views of South Ferry -- wow! I haven't browsed the NYPL collection online in a while, must return soon.

Omnibus: for me it brings to mind the Celestial Omnibus by E.M. Forster, one of my favorite collections of short stories.

barbara and nancy said...

great collection of old buses. I particularly like the last crazy photo. I can picture the Beatles using this bus in one of their movies.

Little Nell said...

You've drawn together some fine examples Bob. I must admit to singing along (in my head) when I viewed the lyrics. I found that I knew it so well I could hear their voices. It was an old favourite on 'Housewives Choice' et al. I was a bit desperate when I saw the theme picture but then I found it fascinating. I see you had fun too.

Postcardy said...

Nice group of omnibuses. I always think the double-decker buses look like they could easily tip over.

tony said...

....And Cliff Richard!But give me Flanders and Swann over The Shadows anytime!

Christine H. said...

And to think, I had never heard of Flanders and Swann!
Those thin little tires on the 1911 bus make me wonder what it's like to ride that bus. Have you tried it out?

Bob Scotney said...

Christine, I think the 1911 bus only went out that year. It resides at the London Transport Museum - I haven't even seen it let alone been on it.

Brett Payne said...

I grew up listening to my Dad's Flanders and Swann record, but this song wasn't on it. Great images Bob.

Southwest Arkie said...

Enjoyed the tour Bob!

Jinksy said...

Flander's and Swann knew a thing or two! LOL

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I didn't think I remembered the Flanders & Swann song until I got to "London transport diesel-engined 97-horsepower omnibus". Now it won't go away.

Mike Brubaker said...

A fine mix on a great theme. I keep a personal list of vanishing sounds, i.e. the clatter of typewriters, ringing telephones, etc. The song reminded me that certain calls and phrases are also disappearing too. The cry of the omnibus conductor must have lasted from horse-drawn to the diesel, but now sadly is mostly gone.

BTW Mustaches do keep brass players' lips warm, especially outdoors. Probably omnibus conductors too.

Kristin said...

I never thought of trolleys as being horse drawn but of course they were.

L. D. Burgus said...

This is a great posting. I remember seeing horse drawn trolleys in old photos or postcards. It seems strange but had to be done until electricity took over. Good photos.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob ... love the pictures and the history of the omnibus and I am particularly fond of the Flanders and Swann songs .. I know this was Ian Wallace ..

still great to hear again .. thanks - Hilary

TICKLEBEAR said...

we have a few of those small buses, as a tourist attraction, running short circuit in the downtown district. they seem like fun, but something I haven't yet tried...
:D~
HUGZ