Marrick & Reeth
Lodge Percival & Sons
The last Percivals Bedford OB, KOL 193, parked on the High Row at Reeth in the Summer of 1967R. C.
Davis. Postgates shop front can be seen above the bonnet, and Hillarys awning glimpsed through the saloon
windows. Car buffs will spot the Ford Zephyr, the Triumph 2000, the Morris Minor, and the Mini van in the background.
There are two things Im really hoping someone out there can help me with. One is: I know where I can go and look at old editions
of the Traffic Commissioners Notices & Proceedings when I need to, but can anyone tell me where old editions of
Applications & Decisions may be found? For the Northern Traffic Area specifically, and most urgently for the years
1953 to 1956, though I wouldnt mind being able to look at the 1930s as well. If you have any suggestions, please
get in touch.
The 1949 Bedford OB, MHN 826, with Ernie Clark at the wheel, swings smartly up from Horsemarket into Galgate,
Barnard Castle, with an Austin A30 behind and (wouldnt you say?) an M.G. Magnette, or the equivalent Wolseley saloon, parked on the
Secondly, and more urgently: I need a university student, or in fact anyone with current, valid membership of a
university library. Do you happen to know such an individual? Perhaps you are that individual!
A valid university library ticket will give you access to on-line resources (apparently some sixth form colleges also have the same access)
which I lack: so, I either need to borrow someones university (or sixth form college) library login details, or else a volunteer
researcher who can use his or her library ticket to log in, get what I need, and e-mail it to me; I have the necessary reference numbers,
I just lack the all-important access to the on-line locations where they can be looked up. If you think you might be able to help here,
please do get in touch! The volunteer researchers whove helped me with this before
have found the task easy enough, but I dont currently have anybody.
There are reportedly some 2¾ million higher education students in the U.K., yet everyone I know claims never to have come across any of
them! Its maddening. But somebody out there must know somebody... Click
here to view a list of universities and colleges, and see if you know anyone whos attendingor indeed
teaching atany of them.
Gleaming in the Harrogate sunshine, in the late 1960s, is Percivals 488 DVN, a Bedford
SB with coachwork by Harrington of HoveP.M. Photography, P.O. Box 157, Camberley
GU15 9GJ. Notice the Bedford Drivers Club badge, to the left of the Bedford emblem. The road beyond the car
park is Kings Road: were on the site of the present-day Crowne Plaza Hotel, next to the present-day Conference
Centre. Visible beyond the coach, just at the edge of the car park, is another General Motors product in the substantial shape of a
1967 Vauxhall Victor FC (or else a VX 4/90).
New this year is the Location queries page, which may appeal to those with time on their
hands: as you probably know, bus photographs have a sad habit of turning up with no details as to when or where they were taken; in the
case of a vehicle which is visibly parked in, say, Victoria Coach Station, with a tabloid on the dash carrying a give-away headline such
as SHERGAR MISSING, the task is straightforward enough,
but, even after so many years, I still have a few on my hands that no-one has yet cracked.
If you fancy some detective work, or if you have a photographic memory for coach parks, click here, and see
if you can succeed where I and my private army of informants have failed! Any help will, as always, be very gratefully received.
Leyland Comet KAO 699 outside the Bay Horse at Ravensworth, on the Barnard Castle service,
circa 1960. Photograph by R. C. Davis.
Theres also a mystery Edwardian car that needs identifying on the Scratcherd page, so if thats your period, do have a look and
see if you can recognize it!
So, when will The Bus Up the Dale actually be published? Well, although the years 20202022 have so far proved
quite productiveby my wonky standardsafter several decades of consistent failure to get anything done (other than passing my
P.S.V. and H.G.V. driving teststhe only achievements Ive ever actually managed for myself without massive amounts of help and
support), its probably safe to say, by now, that I have a problem getting things done. The professionals say this is part of an
autism package which I never actually signed up for; and, apparently, theres no exit clause.
Autumn 1964 and driver Billy Burrells approaches Eddys Bridgeor Rhubarb Corner, if you
preferin one of Percivals two little Mulliner-bodied Bedfords, either RHN 107 or RHN 108, on the way up from Richmond
(fewer trees here since February 2022!). Photograph kindly loaned by Billys son-in-law and daughter, Ted and Pauline Lee.
On the plus side, however, unlike normal people, I found Lockdown infinitely soothing and invigorating, and only wish the pandemic had
happened sooner: after so many decades of being told (by normal people) that I might feel perkier if I got myself out and about a bit more,
its now established beyond doubt that my equilibrium and wellbeing can be better maintained by getting out
LESS, thanks (thereby doing the rest of the world a favour too, probably)!
Thus, the new momentum built up in 20202021 has been maintained into 2022. So work on the book is happening right
now. And, sooner or later, itll get finished; I just literally dont know when.
Percivals Daimler, KTC 985, at the foot of Darlington Market Place circa 1958R. C. Davis. You can see
the once-familiar half-timbered gable end of the Boot & Shoe behind, and a pair of K6 red telephone boxes, also now
gone. To the offside is an Austin Loadstar van, to the near a Standard Ten saloon.
Over the years, Ive been wonderfully fortunate in enjoying the assistance of locals with long memories, and present-day relations of
the characters who ran the buses. Thanks to all of these people, when The Bus Up the Dale finally does appear, it will
be more than just a collection of bus photographs and chassis numbers and old timetablesthough theres certainly no shortage of
that kind of material!
The draft of the book is currently about 75,000 wordstaking the story from Albert Mortons pioneering post-bus service between
Richmond and Keld in 1905 to the formation by Percivals of a Limited Company in 1937, and comprising also the beginnings of a chapter
on United Automobile Services, and the beginnings of a chapter on Sunter Bros and the week-end leave coaches from Catterick Camp in the
1950s (and this is where Im stuck, for the time being, until some help is forthcoming with the appeals further up the
page...). People with little or no interest in buses have kindly said its readable so farand they (poor souls) have been
slogging through the text without the benefit all the accompanying photographs and other illustrations which have accumulated, and which
actually are still occasionally coming in, not least from the good John Bennett of Loughborough, whose name will be known to bus
aficionadi, but from multifarious other sources also.
Circa 1927, a very young Maurice Barningham (left) and an almost-as-young Billy Burrells (right), with Tim Scratcherds then-new
14-seat Chevrolet, PY 7551, on the cobbles at Reethkindly loaned by Maurices daughter Marie. To the rear of the bus
may be seen Langhorne House, home and surgery of Dr Speirs who practised at Reeth from 1907 to 1963; to the front Places
grocerylater Hillaryslatterly Overton House Café.
In fact, the only good thing about the hideous delay in finishing the book is that itll be better illustrated, and better informed,
than it would have been if Id finished it in 2006, as originally (albeit unrealistically!) envisaged. For one thing, in 2005
when I started, I had no expectation of being able to peruse the 1911 Census, nor the 1939 National Registrationnow Im waiting
to see how long itll take for the 1921 Census to become freely available (I mean more freely available than it is so far: the present
arrangement, Im reliably informed, is completely unaffordable if you have more than just one or two individuals to chase up).
Also awaited is the re-opening of Durham County Record Office, where I have some chasing-up of details to do too.
Leyland Comet KXU 675 on the then Swaledale bus stand, with Johnnys Café visible behind, in the early 1960sthe
bus standage was moved round to the other side of Trinity Tower in the Summer of 64. Photograph by R. C. Davis.
Now then, photographs: Ive been privileged to receive permission to use some superb photographs in the book, but not necessarily on
the internet. Those who have been good enough to make photographs available to me for the book can be assured Im being as
careful as I can about this kind of thing. In fact, from a website point of view, probably too careful, in that for a long time
there werent as many photographs as there could have been here. Many thanks, therefore, to Chris Curry, who, in January, came
back to remind me how to upload photographsit was he who originally helped me to set up this site in the first place, fifteen
years before; little did Chris know, back in 2007 when he was still a schoolboy, that hed be required to honour a lifetime technical
Circa 1930, a slightly less young Maurice Barningham with Tim Scratcherds then-new Luton-built Chevrolet,
VN 1845kindly loaned by Maurices daughter Marie. And no, I do not possess magical powers, I simply asked the good
David Hayward if he could identify the bus from what can be seen of it, and of course he could!
Chris Curry was back again four weeks later, in February, sorting out a glitch with the
Contact us link, which we now think is working 100%but he also devised a
Plan B mechanism (see the red boxes on the right, further up), just in case the link still doesnt happen to suit your
So the plan is to watermark a few images from the archives (to preventor at least discourageillicit copying), then downsize
them (so that, even without a watermark, the image would barely be worth stealing anyway!), and add them to these pages. This revamp
is on-going at present.
George Milner at Reeth in the early 1930s with Percivals 1927 Leyland Lioness, PY 6845kindly loaned by his daughter
Margaret Woodward. You can see Fremington Edge looming behind the bus, and above the nearside front wing may be glimpsed the left-hand
corner of the Wesleyan Chapel.
Family snaps are one thing: its fair to assume people will be pleased to think that other people may be interested in their
forebearsthough, even so, photographs from a family album are very much personal property, and deserve to be treated with respect.
Bus photographs are a whole other thing, because (you may or may not know) they change hands for money, and the Copyright-holders would not
appreciate it if I were making their images freely available to every Thomas, Richard, and Henry.
Your carriage awaits: Billy Burrells on Richmond Market Place in 1964 with Percivals
Leyland Comet KXU 675photograph kindly loaned by his daughter Pauline.
On this note, if theres a photograph on this website which you dont think ought to be on it, then please
let me know and Ill remove it! Removing them is a lot quicker and easier
than uploading them! And there are plenty more to choose from.
Percivals XHN 49, a 1955 Perkins-engined Bedford with Duple Vega coachwork, heads into the centre of Reeth on
30th March 1967.
Meanwhile, I was amused on 6th August 2022 by the security prompt below, and perhaps you will be too (or perhaps Im just easily
amused); hopefully, if youre interested in buses at all, you will not have undue difficulty spotting the bus...
Sunter Bros, Ltd
Swaledale Motor Co.
Darrowby & District
Plan B Contact us
for emergency use
Vintage Roadscene features