One of my photos

Old Bangers

May 7th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 2 Comments · Life

One of the many advantages of living in Crawley is that it is halfway between London and Brighton. The trip from London to Brighton is a popular one for motoring events, so it is not unusual to see, for example, whole fleets of minis or VW Combis going through town if the owners’ group is doing a London to Brighton run.

One of the highlights of the year is the veteran car run at the end of the year, when all the old cars stop off in the High Street for a breather.

Today it was the same sort of thing, but for commercial vehicles. The Historic Commercial Vehicles Society had a London to Brighton run today and used the Broadfield Stadium car park as a halfway house.

I got down there at about 8:45am – not a time I would normally be up and about on a Sunday – to see the first ones arriving. By the time I left at about 10:30 the car park was heaving with old buses, vans, lorries, fire engines and all sorts of other contraptions.

There were some lovely old Morris Minor and Austin vans, a wide variety of buses from steam powered ones up to Routemasters, lots of antique lorries and nearly all of them looked a lot more shiney than my 7-year-old Mondeo. Obviously a lot of care has been taken with these vehicles. Most of them are in far better condition than when they were new as they are not now being used as workhorses.

Having said that, I think a few are still used, like how Harrods have a couple of their old delivery vans. There was a butcher’s van with “No to Tescos” stickers in the windows which made me suspect it still belongs to a butcher’s shop.

Just before 10 a whole fleet of fire engines arrived. They were of varying types and age but all came from Essex, including one from my old home town, Basildon. Quite a few vehicles had their original livery, especially the buses, which had route numbers and destinations on them and drivers and conductors in period outfits. I wonder how many of them have appeared in films or TV programmes set in the past?

I was quite surprised, given that this was a national event, how many of the vehicles were quite local to us. Sussex was very well represented, and one of the most local machines was also one of the most impressive – a steam omnibus from Horsham.

This St. John’s ambulance is an interesting one. I assume from the colour scheme and the word ‘sympathy’ that is was used to carry dead bodies, but it does not look big enough to lay a person out in whether they are dead or alive.

One of the more unusual vehicles was an old British Railways service lorry. It was a Scammel articulated lorry with a three-wheeled cab. Inside the cab there were three pedals on the floor and three levers like signal box levers. One of them came up between two of the pedals. When I flew a helicopter there were fewer controls! The amazing thing was that if you stuck your head in the window the thing still smelled of railways

While I was at the stadium I met up with someone I have been looking forward to meeting for a long time after corresponding online for a while. George is a retired chap with various enthusiasms including cycling and photography which he combines to generate an enormous number of pictures of Crawley and beyond. We have been comparing pictures for ages, and jointly administer the Crawley group on Flickr , but never actually met until today.

A lovely man, and I’m not just saying that because he was one of the few people who voted for me and TP in Furnace Green!

I only got a little bit carried away with the camera… if anyone is really interested in old buses (and I know a couple of my ex-bosses at London Underground who that applies to) the complete set of photos is on Flickr.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • yve evans

    Don’t know if you can help

    I’m trying to locate a picture of a scammel n trailer from a battersea company for an old gentleman the company was PHILLIPS MILLS

    And a removal van from ANDREWS REMOVALS another battersea company

    These companies and gone and forgotten now.

  • Skuds

    I can’t remember seeing either of them. All the photos I took are here