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Last updated: 14 June 2018

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

For this month’s feature, I have selected another item that was added to the Society’s Archive during this year’s Annual General Meeting in March.  Darren Marshall, chair of the Society’s trustees, kindly donated a rather enigmatic artefact – a paper label that carries the destination LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT (Archive ref PS04805).  Measuring 305mm x 97mm, the label carries the remains of gummed patches towards each end of the printed face (see image).  The reverse is blank.

I am usually able to provide a reasonably definitive account of the background to items in our collection but, on this occasion, I need help from fellow members and other visitors to our website to pin down the source of this particular artefact.  Having consulted a couple of members already, we believe that the label would have been displayed in the nearside windscreen of Provincial’s full-fronted double-deckers or nearside lower-deck front window of half-cab double-deckers operating on route number 8 between Bridgemary and Lee.  This seasonal service was introduced by Provincial on Tuesday 6th June 1961 and ran from Gregson Avenue to Lee Tower via Rowner Road.  Patrick Miller recalls in his book ‘Provincial – The Gosport & Fareham story’ that the first bus to operate the service was open-topped Guy No.18 (EOR 876) which left the shops in Bridgemary at 1030 and arrived at the Tower at 1046 (I have included a rare, later photograph of No.18 at Lee Tower from the Society’s collection – ref PS01191). 

As the route was intended to employ the company’s open-toppers, it is likely that their destination blinds were modified in advance of the route’s introduction.  However, David Whitaker has confirmed that closed-top double-deckers were used in convoy with the open-toppers when heavy demand necessitated more than one vehicle on the service.  As it is unlikely that every double-decker had LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT added to its destination blind in readiness for the June 1961 start date, it seems likely that our label could have been used in the ‘convoy’ double-deckers during the early days, weeks and months of the service.  If anyone can confirm this from their own recollections or, better still, photographs, I will be very pleased to hear from you (see contact details below).  In time, it would appear that the Lee destination was added to all double-decker destination blinds – there is certainly evidence of it being added or spliced into each of the double-decker blinds from that era in the Society’s collection.

Route number 8 was destined to survive until 1970 but, following withdrawal of the last of Provincial’s open-toppers at the end of the 1968 season, the service utilised closed-top double-deckers and saloons during its last two seasons.

If any members or non-members have similar artefacts 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.

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First Provincial 432 - NLP 389V in Stubbington recreating the 72 to Southampton

14 June 18 (Malcolm Audsley)


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