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Last updated: 01 August 2020

 
     
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Amongst the many fascinating artefacts held in the Society’s archives is a small collection of documents relating to the proposed use of a disused bus body by a local cycle speedway club in 1950 (ref PS00783).  Acquired by the Society in 2007, the collection includes copies of photographs, letters and the plan shown in the background of the image reproduced here.

In his first letter dated 1st February 1950, H Orme White, Manager and Engineer of the Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Company, confirms his agreement to place at the disposal of the Fareham Phantoms Cycle Speedway Club an old double deck bus body for use as a dressing room.  White’s intention was to donate the body from No.38 (CAA 700) and to move it into position the following week.  He also states ‘I take it you will have received sanction from the Council for this body to be placed on their ground – please advise me on this point’.  The response was presumably negative as the plan shown here was approved by Fareham Council on 1st March 1950, and a further letter from Orme White dated 12th April 1950 confirms his intention to move the body, including chassis frame but minus axles, within days.

The Fareham Phantoms laid their first cycle speedway track at Salterns on the edge of Fareham Creek in January 1949.  Just four months later, Fareham Council agreed to let members loose on the disused rubbish tip at Hoeford, adjacent to the bus depot, and a track was soon created there.  The club appears to have been highly successful in the early 1950s and was able to accommodate at least 4,000 spectators!  Following its donation, the bus body was converted into a manager’s office and control room on the upper deck, with a dressing room on the lower deck.  As its axles had been removed, the bus was supported instead by concrete bearers.

At some point between January and April 1950, Orme White’s decision to donate the body from No.38 was changed and, instead, the body from former-Oxford AEC Regent No.22 (JO 5406) was gifted to the club.  An image of sister vehicle No.21 (ref PS00961) is shown towards the base of the image, with fellow Regents recently acquired from City of Oxford Motor Services in the background.  Thanks to research by Society member Stewart Brett, we know that the body of No.22 was returned to Hoeford depot by August 1952, for scrap.  The chassis, however, was destined to be re-used, forming the basis for Provincial Traction coach No.68 (OCG 444).

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.

 
 
 
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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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