We are pleased to announce an Autumnal evening shoot at Wythall Transport Museum using a number of buses from the superb BAMMOT (Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Trust) collection. This October evening event gives us a fantastic opportunity to photograph members of the fleet after dark, both in authentic-looking depot and bus stop settings within the Museum complex. We will also try to get the old St Mary's Parish Church illuminated as a landmark backdrop, though this has not yet been confirmed.
Our event will run from dusk through until approximately 22.00 with breaks in between our cameos to reposition vehicles. Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be available to purchase on the night to keep out the cold. We will be pairing several combinations of buses during the evening to give variety and to put buses together that would have been seen together on the roads in and around Birmingham at the same time. Given how long some members of the City’s bus fleet lasted in service that is quite a long time span! The Museum’s volunteers are very knowledgeable and will be able to get the correct matching destination blinds showing appropriate destinations for two vehicles together.
Birmingham City Transport existed with certain name variations from its inception in 1899 (as Birmingham Corporation Tramways) through until 1969 when it became a part of West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive. BCT ran its first motor bus service in 1914 and operated buses exclusively from July 1953 when the City's tramways closed, with over 1700 new buses being ordered in the seven year period leading up to the tramway closures. On most routes, there was a long-standing agreement that Corporation buses would not work beyond the City boundaries and, in return, Midland Red charged higher fares than the Corporation when operating within the City limits.
From Birmingham Corporation, we will be using the rare Daimler CVA6 [for those with a passing interest, CVA6 represents Commercial vehicle, of post-war construction (Victory), A for its AEC engine and 6 because it has a six-cylinder engine]. The bus was new to Birmingham Corporation in July 1947 and, as with other members of the same order, entered service from Harborne Garage as No.1486. After withdrawal, the vehicle was used as a staff bus for Elkes Biscuits of Uttoxeter and was rescued for preservation after a long period in a scrapyard. Formerly part of the collection of the late Colin Hawketts, this classy Daimler double-decker now forms part of the collection at Wythall Transport Museum.
We will be pairing 1486 with one of the Museum’s other rear entrance double-deckers, Guy Arab IV No.2576 of 1953, as both are in matching livery and were on the roads at the same time in the 1950s and throughout most of the 1960s. These vehicles marked the final development of the front-engined double-decker buses featuring pre-selective rather than crash gearboxes. Some 301 buses of this design were purchased for Birmingham Corporation, 2576 entering service from Acock’s Green Garage in February 1953. It was variously based at Harborne, Miller Street and latterly Washwood Heath, it being withdrawn from the latter depot in January 1972 and then being purchased for preservation in June of that year. No.2976 passed to the care of the Museum in 1983.
Of course, Midland Red and Birmingham-liveried vehicles would also have been seen operating together throughout the City with Midland Red also being seen alongside similar liveried vehicles across the Black Country, so we can authentically set up scenes with buses from both Company and Corporation together. Midland Red operated services in the Midlands from 1904 through until September 1981 and was notable for not only operating but also building its own buses at its Carlysle Works until 1970 when the last single-decker left the production line.
We expect to have the 1965-built ‘D9’ Midland Red double-decker available during the evening and hopefully also the 1940 BMMO single-decker which would feature with the Daimler. The D9 is painted in Midland livery and represents the last double-decker to enter service with Midland Red and lasting on active service until the late 1970s.
As those who attended our previous event at Wythall in Autumn 2016 will know, we also try and arrange for one or two unusual ‘extras’ to appear, though we are always cautious as to what these might be. The crew members involved will be wearing uniforms and we expect to have several re-enactors joining us for the evening to bring life to the scenes that we create - after all, one very seldom saw buses without passengers either travelling or (more usually!) waiting.
The Transport Museum has several areas where it is possible to properly recreate scenes, both depot views and bus waiting areas with the appropriate street furniture of the eras we wish to reflect. Coupled with the superb vehicles that form the Museum’s collection, we are confident that some great images will be obtained. We hope many of you will wish to join us for our second nocturnal visit to Wythall Transport Museum.