Monday, 7 December 2009

Where's That Then? No 3

Sorry there hasn't been more Unmitigating over the last week. I couldn't believe that Tuesday had come round again and I'd done nothing to keep the ball rolling. However, as the old adage goes, you wait so long for a bus to appear and then three come along together. Or at least in every post I've done in this new series. The gate pictured was very nearly destroyed in the early twentieth century to enable a travelling circus to make a triumphant entry into the city. They say the proposal was defeated by only one vote at the council meeting, proving that philistine agendas in local government is nothing new.

24 comments:

expat said...

I think this could be in Canterbury

Philip Wilkinson said...

This is all ringing such large bells - but no instant recognition this time. Expat may well be right.

Peter Ashley said...

Spot on Expat. This is the West Gate in Canterbury, with, I should think, an East Kent bus in brown and cream.

CMS said...

Your knowledge of bus companies and their various liveries never fails to astound me.

CarolineLD said...

I actually guessed this one, but too late! The demolition story is amazing: there must have been some real circus fans on the council.

Diplomate said...

i think the circus may have been the council Caroline.

Diplomate said...

COMPLAINT - Peter, I set the alarm for 05.30 hrs and wait for the blog to appear for bloody hours, then I have to do something even more important on the work front and get back to find it's all wrapped up. can we not settle on a an agreed time for this Tuesday morning activity.

expat said...

I wasn't waiting up all night for the new post, honestly. I just happened to go to Peter's blog at the right time. Now I've got a no 1 spot I promise to hold back in the future!

The bus is a Leyland isn't it?

office pest said...

Yes, bus JG reg is Canterbury all right. That SM reg is a long way from it's Dumfrieshire home though. Nice little motoring holiday, I expect. Wonder who they were? That would be a real puzzler!

Philip Wilkinson said...

Golly, a motoring pilgrimage from Scotland to Canterbury. Sounds as if it could be the start of another Canterbury Tale, to rival the one told by Powell and Pressburger. The mood of this black and white image somehow reminds me of those wartime films. Perhaps it's just the chaps on bicycles.

accountant said...

Speaking of the film a Canterbury Tale, does'nt the West Gate feature in the shots of the military parade?

Adam Sampson said...

Yep, that's the Westgate all right.

While the high street (behind the photographer) is now pedestrianised, the local bus routes still go through the Westgate on the way down the hill, then curve off to the left and round the ring road to the bus station. There's not a lot of clearance for a modern double-decker, and they do occasionally clip the sides...

The car in the foreground is parked in the shadow of what's now Ocakbasi of Kent -- I wonder what it was then?

Sleepy Pedant said...

Bicycle clips and bus drivers in proper uniforms. Wonderful.

The Sleepy pedant is unlikely to ever be up early enough to get in first, though. Pity.

Majorwheels said...

Peter, you are spoiling us! - M&D last week, and now an East Kent 1930s Leyland Titan, with, I think a post war Park Royal body. Many companies rebodied their pre-war buses post war. One can almost here the 6 cylinder diesel ticking over, waiting for the "ding ding" from the conductor!

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou all for your erudite comments. Powell & Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale has some amazing shots of wartime Canterbury in the last reel, with bomb sites marked out with the names of the hit businesses and their new addresses. In one shot a moulded plaster Boots sign can be seen on a street corner as the parade turns for the cathedral, and you can still see it up there today.

Diplomate said...

Oh this bus stuff is right up my street - a complete blank in my knowledge and such a great introduction to the subject from Majorwheels. I'm resisting delving too deeply beause there are more than enough subjects in my brain still in need of a disciplined training regime - I really don't think I could handle another. The joy of sitting back and having the topic delivered like little parcels (brown paper & string) by the postman is just what's needed. MORE MAJORWHEELS !

ChrisP said...

From 'Beautiful Britain - Canterbury' by Gordon Home (1911)
"Until well into last century all the gates were standing; but one by one these ornaments were destroyed by the city until one only was left, and even that would have been wantonly sacrificed to facilitate the entry of some circus caravans when, in 1850, Wombwell's menagerie visited the city!
This vandal showman actually dared to request the Corporation to demolish the gate on account of the difficulty of getting his
procession through the low arch. This is hard to believe, but it is
infinitely more difficult to understand the aboriginal minds of some of the members of the Corporation when the records unblushingly reveal that the showman's preposterous request not only found both a proposer and a seconder, but that the votes were equally divided on the matter,
and it was only the Mayor's casting vote which has preserved for the city its noble entry."

Peter Ashley said...

Chris P: Thankyou so much for this confirmation of the circus story. And that it features Wombwells, the menagerie that displayed the Elephant Man and is celebrated by the sleeping lion tomb in Highgate (West)Cemetery.

Jonathan said...

There is more than one way of getting close to your ancestors.

Follow the Old Road and as you do, think of them; they climbed Chillingbourne Hill just as you did. They sweated and paused for breath just as you did today.

And when you see the bluebells in the spring and the wild thyme, and the broom and the heather, you're seeing what their eyes saw. You ford the same rivers, the same birds singing.

And when you lie flat on your back and rest, and watch the clouds sailing as I often do, you're so close to those other people, that you can hear the thrumming of the hoofs of their horses, and the sound of the wheels on the road, and their laughter, and talk, and the music of the instruments they carried.

And they turned the bend in the road, where they too saw the towers of Canterbury.

I feel I have only to turn my head to see them on the road behind me.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou very much Jonathan. That's the keynote speech in the film I think, and something very close to my heart.

expat said...

Question for Majorwheels (or anyone else of course). How do you know that the bus was rebodied? Is is that the registration is pre-war and the body work looks post-war or are there other clues?

Anonymous said...

Gather roses while you may........................................

Majorwheels said...

Expat, you are on the right track, or route in this case - the chassis is a Leyland Titan, TD series, which is pre-war, the body design is post war, and I must admit I am guessing at Park Royal. You could of course tell from the Reg. Number, but I don't have that detail for the East Kent fleet. Vehicle shortages just after the war forced many companies to extend the life of their buses, so re-bodying gave you an almost new bus.

Minnie said...

Amazed myself by getting this one right (only because it is so familiar). Frightening to learn how close it was to destruction. Am a great fan of Powell & Pressburger - always thought 'A Canterbury Tale' deserved more recognition.
Back visiting your excellent blog, Peter, via Caroline's ditto. Thank you & Happy New Year!