Southdown Bus

By Laurie Stonehouse

This fantastic photograph taken in Bridge Street many years ago shows the No 12 Southdown bus destined for Eastbourne.   Outside the old Southdown ticket office there are many special offers on display.  I remember these premises being a record shop through the 1970's, and you can now have yourself tattooed here!  The proprietors of the record shop emigrated to Australia, I wonder if they are reading these pages posted on this site.

The green bus appears to be boarding passengers, someone with a white top is followed by a gentleman with a newspaper under his arm, whilst another man sits upstairs at the front probably looking down at the photographer.

Out of view behind the bus were some of the original historic buildings of Newhaven, these included the Drill Hall and the Co-Op store, whilst in view beyond the double decker bus is the Old Mill Cafe.  This tall structure was painted a very pale blue in the 1960's, sadly these buildings were  demolished in 1987 to make way for Bridge Court. The next picture shows Bridge Street from the other direction about ten years later, the Labour Club is in view followed by the tall old mill building then the Co-Op finishing with the Drill Hall.

I've included interesting sections of this photograph because it's such a great picture.

Photo:Southdown Bus in Bridge Street - C1960

Southdown Bus in Bridge Street - C1960

Private collection of M George

Photo:Southdown Bus stop and ticket office - C1960

Southdown Bus stop and ticket office - C1960

Edited from the top photo

Photo:Southdown Advertisment - c1950

Southdown Advertisment - c1950

Photo:Old Mill Cafe - C1960

Old Mill Cafe - C1960

Edited from the top photo

Photo:Passenger on the bus - C1960

Passenger on the bus - C1960

Edited from the top photo

Photo:Bridge Street - C1970

Bridge Street - C1970

Ken Lynch

Photo:Old Southdown Ticket office - 2008

Old Southdown Ticket office - 2008

Laurie Stonehouse

This page was added by Laurie Stonehouse on 06/05/2009.
Comments about this page

Nice photos. I notice that the bus was "on hire to Southdown". There is a company crest on the side of the bus, possibly Eastbourne buses? The Mill cafe were doing a very nice roast chicken dinner for 3/6d which would go down well now for that price.

By Richard Beckett
On 08/05/2009

Great photos, full of interest.

DA is the suffix for a Wolverhampton number plate, so this bus may be a long way from home! Can't make out the crest clearly but it's not Eastbourne Corporation.

I can clearly remember the record shop, as I bought some of my first singles and LPs there! However I'd forgotten about it being the Southdown office until now.

By Andy Gilbert
On 08/05/2009

It is indeed a great picture of Bridge St, in the good old days. The bus is in fact a new model on loan to Southdown to try out. In this era Southdown were buying Leylands. Other manufacturers such as "GUY" in this instance would loan a new model out to the company to try to break into Leylands monopoly with Southdown. If my memory serves me right this particular one was either Yellow or Orange. I spent a few happy years with Southdown around this time up until 1967 when I emigrated to Australia

By Jim Still
On 08/05/2009

The bus is actually not a Southdown owned bus though it is running on a Southdown route (12). This is a Guy Wulfrunian built in 1961 and owned by County Motors in the West Riding of Yorkshire! You can see a sticker in the windscreen of the blown up section indicating that it is on hire to Southdown. County Motors was a BET owned company apparently, as was Southdown at that time but Southdown mostly used Leyland buses.

By John Quinton
On 08/05/2009

I have found out from Wikipedia that the bus was actually built in June 1960 as a demonstrator and apparently was painted in the colours of Wolverhampton Wanderers, yellow and black - Guy Motors was located in Wolverhampton. It must have then been sold to County Motors in the following year. It was scrapped for parts in 1963 so had a very short life.

By John Quinton
On 10/05/2009

This bus is actually a demonstrator that was loaned to several operators for evaluation and was as previously noted Orange? Yellow and Black. It never ran for County Motors in Yorkshire. County Motors actually operated two Guy Wulfrunians registrations UCX 275 and UCX 276. However they were sold on to West Riding Automobile Co of Wakefield (who partly owned County Motors so it could be argued they were transferred not sold) after a couple of years. UCX 275 survives today in preservation in the Green and White livery of West Riding. A second West Riding Wulfrunian is also under restoration at Dewsbuury Bus Museum in Yorkshire. West Riding also acquired the bus in this photograph and used it for spares so it never actually ran in West Riding service before being scrapped.

By Markyb
On 08/10/2010

Yes, a great photo! Looking at the wall of the Old Mill Cafe (wasn't it the Labour Club once?) you can see a display case of Ramond Austen, the Seaford photographer. My brother and I were taken for a photo there in 1953. My brother's portrait in school (RHS Ipswich) No. 1 naval uniform was displayed in Bridge St. for months. In 1970 my wife got a copy of my portrait from Raymond Austen which is in our living room.

By lionel warnes
On 13/01/2013

I remember the portrait of me in uniform. This attracted a few girls to contact me and I think one of them worked in a fruit and veg shop as she used to give me extra apples, etc.

By Edwin Warnes
On 05/03/2013

I too had a portrait of myself taken by Raymond Austen in Seaford in 1960/1, which I still have. I remember going in the Co-op with my mother, it had those money cups that whizzed by overhead from the counter you were served at to the office where your money was counted then your change was sent whizzing back. I do miss the double decker buses, it was such a treat to get the upper deck front seat to Eastbourne or Brighton but it was a bit difficult getting down the stairs in time for my Denton corner stop laden with shopping (clothes, not food). Thanks for the memories!

By Brenda Hall
On 08/03/2013

Some additional details on the Guy Wulfrunian 8072DA.Chassis: Guy Wulfrunian 6LX; Chassis No. WUL74443 built 1960. Bodywork: built by Roe Ltd and seated 41 on the upper deck and 31 on the lower deck. The engine was on the offside behind the driver and the stairs to the upper deck were on the nearside at the front of the vehicle. An unusual arrangement. It was on loan from the 21st August to 1st September 1960 for demonstration and trials. After inspection by Southdown's hiarchy it went into service between Brighton and Eastbourne on Service 12 from Thursday 25th August. I saw it myself in Eastbourne Bus Station and can confirm that it was bright yellow with two bands of black lining out above and below the lower deck windows and black around the upper deck windows. This can be seen in the photograph.

By Roy Simmons
On 13/07/2013

There is just one point I must correct in the above: the engine was not behind the driver, it was alongside him (perhaps Mr. Simmons is thinking of the pre-war AEC Q-type, which also was not particularly successful). Whereas conventional buses had the engine slightly offset to the left to give the driver more room, Wulfrunian's Gardner 6LX engine was offset to the right, to allow circulating space for boarding and alighting passengers. Consequently, the driver's cab was very cramped and he must have had to keep his elbows well-in when turning the wheel (no power-assistance!). The rest of the design was very advanced: independent air-suspension and disc brakes all round. Southdown and many other bus companies were very conservative in outlook, so this innovative model was bound to be a loser. One feature which did find favour, mainly within the state-controlled fleets of the BTC (e.g. Brighton, Hove & District), was the heating and ventilation system, designed by Wing-Commander Cave-Brown-Cave, Professor of Engineering at University College, Southampton. There was no conventional radiator in front of the engine; cooling water was piped to radiators in the front panels of the upper saloon and thermostatically-controlled shutters directed warmed or cool air to the interior whilst maintaining the correct engine temperature. The idea was to give continuous air changes within the saloon, thereby reducing condensation and the inevitable build-up of tobacco smoke and nicotine stains. Wulfrunian's development and warranty costs led to grave financial difficulties for Guy Motors and they were subsequently taken-over by Jaguar Cars. They carried on production with a tidied-up version of the Arab double-decker (which Wulfrunian had been intended to replace) and a very successful range of no-frills heavy lorries and similar buses for export, particularly to East Africa. Guy Motors was closed by BL in 1982; at the time, they had full order books and were the only factory in the group, apart from Land-Rover, to be making a profit. 2014 would have been their centenary.

By Bruce Macphee
On 01/02/2014

Crumbs Bruce its like trying to understand how an F1 engine/power unit works.

By Terry Howard
On 01/02/2014

Guy Wulfrunian bus : My attention has been drawn to this page and I think that it is perhaps worth commenting that I have first-hand experience of 8072 DA as I drove it (with a conductor) on what I think was its first service journey with Southdown, when it replaced the scheduled Leyland for a morning service 12 from Brighton to Eastbourne.  At this distance in time my memory is a little dim, but I can confirm the orange/yellow exterior and the cramped driving cab.  The side of the padded engine cover sloped out and left very little room for the feet.  The accelerator was a small circular pedal in the cab floor and moved vertically, which I found rather difficult to control because the seat did not go back far enough to straighten the leg and use ankle movement, though on the hilly 12 road route it was usually either full throttle or none ! Perhaps this was remedied on production vehicles.  Steering was about the same as the Leylands despite having a smaller diameter steering wheel, perhaps the independent suspension and 'reverse camber' of the front wheels (very obvious in the photo) helped with this.  I got the impression of plenty of power, we went easily up Exceat hill in 3rd gear instead of the usual struggle in 2nd gear and the engine was not as noisy as the Leylands.  To sum up - better performance but less comfort for the driver.

By John Lonsbrough
On 18/04/2014

This is indeed a Guy Wulfrunian demonstrator, that spent some time on loan to Southdown in late 1960/early 61. It was dubbed The Yellow  Peril by rge crews because of its colour. It was built in Wolverhampton & the colours it was painted were that of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. Nice to see the old Southdown office.

By Malcolm Pelling
On 05/02/2015

Gooday Laurie 

The proprietors of the record shop in Bridge Street are alive and well and senior citizens in Australia! and a quick hello to Edwin Warnes I think we were at school together.

By Keith Hollingdale
On 12/12/2018

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