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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

*Blackpool Bus Centenary Book Delayed*

Whilst much has been written about the trams by expert local authors the bus side of Blackpool's transport network have received only intermittent coverage through the years. This is most surprising given the unique styling adopted from the 1930s as well as the more unusual vehicles which made the system a 'special case' for enthusiasts.

As a result of government imposed restrictions from March 2020 on social mobility and the uncertainty over how long these will remain in place - the intended publication date for the Centenary book has had to be deferred to 2021. We are now planning for the book's launch to coincide with the actual centenary of bus service operation by Blackpool which will be during June next year. Further details will be published online and advance subscriptions will become available jointly with Blackpool Transport Services Ltd. It is planned that the centenary book will be published both as hardback and softback versions.

The prolific coverage given to Blackpool's trams make it easy to collate visual records through most of the tramway years however the bus system which was inaugurated in 1921 with a single route and two vehicles has fared less well in photographic coverage. At least in the early years of operation. Thus the writer is on the lookout for any informal or personal 'snaps' in private collections with which to augment available material which has already appeared in other publications.

The writer is privileged to hold the extensive collection of Saidman photographs of new buses and coaches built in Blackpool by HV Burlingham company - within which naturally there are formal images of vehicles commissioned by Blackpool Corporation. Many examples of these appear in Blackpool Bus Centenary title. The late David Ellor and Don Crossley were kind enough to allow access to their private collections in previous years - and selective images have been sourced from the Omnibus Society and allied archives. Blackpool's Transport Services Ltd. management together with the town's Local History archives have been of sustained assistance over a long duration in researching the 'bus story'. However retired 'crews' and staff with knowledge of the Corporation's buses, particularly in the pre-deregulation years going back to the Luff era are invited to contribute anecdotes and personal 'snaps' for this Centenary volume.

One of the Author's own personal 'snaps'. Grange Park terminus of Service 6 in 1960 with the experimental rebuild of Burlingham bodied PD2 305 in service. The front entrance doors being open for unloading passengers whilst the enclosed rear platform is for boarding only. A seated conductor/conductress dealt with fares on boarding from a confined space under the rear facing staircase whilst a nearside staircase was added towards the front of the upper 'saloon' with exit immediately behind the driver's cab bulkhead. Needless to say this was a shortlived trial.

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