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Last updated: 20 October 2020

  Archive/Photograph of the Month  

I have selected for this month’s feature a letter issued by the Provincial Traction Company to confirm a private hire booking of one of the company’s coaches (ref PS00155) in the 1960s.  Dated 19th October 1966, the pro forma records that Mr York, Registrar of Births & Marriages in Fareham, booked one 35-seat coach to take a party, presumably a wedding party, from the Church of the Sacred Heart in Hartlands Road, Fareham to Lee Tower on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd October.  The charge of £3-10s-0d equates to a little over £65 at today’s prices.

Mr York was, of course, the late Fred York, a founding member of The Provincial Society.  As the Church of the Sacred Heart is and was a Roman Catholic church, it was standard practice for a registrar to be present during wedding ceremonies, and Fred’s duties clearly extended to booking the transport for the guests to reach the reception.  The destination – Lee Tower – was an art deco building constructed in 1935 which included a restaurant and ballroom.  With a tower height of 120 feet, the building was destined to be demolished only five years after the date of our document.

Dominating the letterhead is an image of Provincial Traction’s Duple-bodied Bedford SB0 No.67 (JBK 668).  New in July 1954, No.67 was a mainstay of the private hire fleet and operated until the Summer of 1968.  As its Duple body could accommodate 36 passengers, it is likely that the 35-seat coach allocated to our party was one of No.68 (OCG 444) or No.69 (PCG 436).  Nos.68 and 69 were constructed using the chassis of withdrawn ex-Oxford AEC Regents No.22 (which became No.68) and Nos.20 and 21 (which both contributed to the construction of No.69).  Both were fitted with new 35-seat bodies by Reading & Co. of Portsmouth, entering service in their new form in 1955 (No.68) and 1956 (No.69).

The date of our document – October 1966 – was just a couple of months before Provincial’s long-standing Manager and Engineer, H Orme White, retired at the age of 80.  Above his name on the letterhead is a list of Provincial Traction’s directors, headed by P F Swain – a reminder that Provincial Traction had, since 1959, owned the Swain Group of companies which included dealerships for Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars.

If any members or non-members have similar 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 archivist@provincialsociety.org.

  First Hampshire & Dorset vehicle movement and news  


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Both Southampton and Hoeford buses are now displaying 'Proud of our NHS' on the destinations. Southampton's 47602 - SN14 FFG on service 3 in Kathleen Road, Sholing and Hoeford's 67177 - YX66 WPB on service 9A in Stoke Road, Gosport.

Photo by James May/Gerry Tormey


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