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Last updated: 30 November 2019

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

Tempting though it is to focus on the oldest artefacts in our archives, it is important to highlight that we are continually adding modern material to the collection in order to safeguard items and information that will become historically significant in the future.  As a consequence and as a tribute to our late Chairman, John Sherwin, I have selected for this month’s feature a couple of photographs that were taken by John as recently as 2012.

Thanks to the excellent relationship that John established between The Provincial Society and First Bus, John was invited to participate in an official photo shoot on 23rd March 2012, just a month before the launch of the Eclipse rapid bus link between Gosport and Fareham.  The day started at First’s Empress Road depot in Southampton and, as ever, John took his trusty camera with him to record the event and to provide photographic material for use by the Society.  The focus of the day was one of the newly-delivered Volvo B7RLE saloons – 69554 (BF12 KWS) – which First had recently branded for the Eclipse services.  John shadowed the official photographer and was surprised to be given the opportunity to join him in a cherry-picker to capture some elevated images of the bus in perfect spring light (see upper photograph, ref PS05441-02).  I can remember John telling me how unsteady this felt at altitude!

John was an excellent, if modest, photographer and the quality of his images was every bit as good as that achieved by the official photographer.  The lower photograph (ref PS05441-06) shows the same bus at Gosport Bus Station later on the same day.  The whole party was driven from Empress Road to Gosport in the new vehicle and John gave advice regarding optimum locations for photo opportunities.  John was even given a lift home in 69554.  As he observed at the time, it was unlikely that Eclipse-branded buses would be seen again on some of the roads that were used that day.  The Eclipse Volvos entered service on 22nd April 2012 and the batch that included 69554 was withdrawn after service on 1st October 2016.  Along with the rest of its batch, 69554 subsequently transferred to Weymouth where it continues to operate with a light green front and branding for route 2 to Littlemoor.

If any members or non-members have photographic images or other material that they would like to donate to the Society or allow to be photographed or scanned, I should be grateful if you would contact me – Chris Richardsen – using e-mail address ProvSocArchive@gmail.com.

  First Hampshire & Dorset vehicle movement and news  


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Latest arrivals at Hoeford - a batch of StreetLites from First South Yorkshire.

63370 seen leaving Fareham this morning on the lengthy 3-1-1-3 circuit of Portsmouth & Southsea.

Photo by Malcolm Audsley 19 Aug 2019


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