Len Brown Memorial Collection

This modest collection of photos celebrates the 44+ years of service that Len Brown gave to the National, then the Eastern National Omnibus Company from around 1928-1972, working out of Chelmsford Bus Station.

Leonard, or Len as he was known, was born in Chelmsford in 1905 and his parents ran a greengrocer's near the bottom of Broomfield Road. He had a Box Brownie from the mid-20s and by the 50s had a Kodak Brownie, both large format B&W negatives. Len never saw himself as a photographer, but like most of us, enjoyed taking pictures of family, friends and workmates. In no sense was he 'building a collection'.

His first job leaving school was a driver's mate for Shell in the 1920s on petrol tankers running between Shell Haven on the Thames Estuary to mid Essex. He was badly burnt in an explosion, losing his job (and most of his ears) at Shell. No compensation. He switched to the local bus company after nearly a year in hospital and trained as a driver, despite having no driving licence or driving test. This was the age before such things! In fact Len never had to pass a driving test other than the public service vehicle one.

Len would have driven all over East Anglia as Eastern National's operation was extensive. In his middle years he was on 'Private Hire', when clubs or societies hired a bus for excursions or holidays. Some of these took Len to Devon and even Scotland.

Around the age of 60 Len had a blood clot in an eye, partially losing sight, so was transferred to non-driving duties in 'Publicity', updating timetables and repairs to bus stops and shelters etc. He continued these duties with his lifelong friend Norman Denny from Broads Green until he retired in the early 1970s. He lived till he was 80 and passed away in 1985.

Dodson bodied AEC 2216, BP9307, an early National Bus on the Chelmsford to Maldon route

Guy Charabanc TW4055

Guy Charabanc TW4055

Len in front of Leyland Lion VW6010

With two workmates in front of a Colchester bus

With workmates at Chelmsford Bus Station

Len driving VW9347

A driver with his bus on the Chelmsford forecourt

Len in front of Leyland Lion VW6010

Len and a group of workmates pose in front of brand new Leyland Titan VW8822

Two workmates pose in front of brand new Leyland Titan VW8822

Three workmates and a dog pose in front of brand new Leyland Titan VW8822

Len with two workmates, Chelmsford

Norman Denny and another workmate at the National

Len on the forecourt with a workmate, Chelmsford Bus Station

Len Brown and a Conductor in front of a Colchester bus

Len in front of an Eastern National bus

A National Bus outside the Blue Bird Cafe in Duke Street, Chelmsford

Len Brown at the wheel, Chelmsford Bus Station

Two National Drivers in front of a Colchester Bus.

A Timpson Regal, probably in Devon

On an excursion

The family on a day-trip

Thanks to Rodney Brown for making these photos taken by his Dad available to us.

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Page last changed Sunday 6 March 2016