Photo © John Stringer. Please do not re-post without permission.
Former GMPTE 6928, 1975TJ, an AEC Renown 3B3RA with East Lancashire H41/31R body, new in 1963 as Leigh Corporation 28.
Yes, former GMPTE, as by the time the photo was taken a cheque had been handed over and it belonged to Stringer of Halifax. Despite having no connection with Leigh (nor for that matter ever having been to Leigh as far as I'm aware) but being an ardent fan of Bridgemasters and Renowns, I'd been bowled over by the front and rear views of one of this batch of four when they appeared in the January 1964 edition of 'Buses Illustrated'. Long, low and well proportioned - and of course bearing that essential blue triangle - they appeared to this then 12-year old to be the epitome of bus beauty. The photos were of course black and white then, and I don't think I even knew what colour Leigh buses were, but it was clear that what ever colour they used they must have looked superb in 'some colour' with three cream bands lined out in black and with traditional gold shaded lettering and numerals. All my many childhood sketches of 'My Perfect Bus' were just minor variations on these Leigh Renowns. Then one day in 1976 whilst visiting LUT's Howe Bridge depot with Tony Blackman and others I was taken aback to see two of these four parked up there, withdrawn and awaiting disposal. This seemed unthinkable, they were still modern buses with years of life left in them, but OMO conversions were gathering pace and they were simply obsolete before their time. I felt I had to act, they were unique and could soon be off to Barnsley and oblivion. Arrangements were made and I quickly found myself the owner of 1975TJ - then probably one of the newest double deckers in preservation.
Unfortunately my involvement with the preservation movement did not go as I would have hoped, and following a spate of vandalism, followed by a disastrous arson attack on a friend's bus - completely destroying it and seriously charring others - I became disheartened and eventually it passed to Bridgemaster/Renown fanatics Geoff O'Brien (owner of Liverpool E3) and Dave Forrest. It later passed to Ashley Blackman for a short while then seems to have had a few owners. I used to see it from a distance parked with other buses looking very precarious in a field near Milnsbridge, Huddersfield and thought that would soon spell the end of it. It then seemed to disappear from the scene, until I found a photo of it on the internet apparently being restored in South Lancashire. Then one day, to my astonishment, whilst waiting to pull out of the end of our road, a familiar shape - and sound - passed by. Now painted black and cream, it had become part of Tony Blackman's Yorkshire Heritage Buses fleet, and is fairly often to be seen passing through my area on its way to and from wedding hires.
Photo taken by John Stringer, Friday 25 June 1976, Leigh Corporation Depot
©1976-2017 John Stringer All Rights Reserved.
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