All aboard the buses of yesteryear
Nostalgia Editor ALL aboard for a trip down memory lane...
We take them for granted - but at one time or another we’ve all hopped on to a bus to get from A to B.
They were even the subject of an ITV comedy series in 1970s. Remember Stan, Jack and Blakey?
London’s bright red Routemaster buses are famous the world over, while first-time visitors to Tyneside were generally surprised by the banana yellow double-deckers that once criss-crossed our region.
For most of us, the first time we stepped aboard a bus away from the watchful eye of our parents was when the school bus or “scholars” pulled up. And what fun we sometimes had!
But when did folk first start purchasing a ticket to ride the earliest so-called ‘omnibuses’?
The first buses, which were drawn by horses, are thought to have appeared in North West England in the 1820s.
By the 1880s, bus services were commonplace across Britain, Europe and the United States.
For a time, steam-powered buses trundled along the roads of England, but it was mainly the horsedrawn variety that were in use until the early 20th century saw the arrival of the motor bus as we might know it today.
Here in our region, Go North East celebrated its centenary in recent years.
It used to be called Northern General Transport Company and Go-Ahead Northern.
The first journey undertaken by one of the company’s vehicles was on May 7, 1913 - between Chester-leStreet, in Co Durham, and Low Fell, Gateshead. A single ticket cost 5d.
Back then, if you didn’t live near a tram stop or railway station, getting around meant horse-drawn wagons or walking.
Today it’s the region’s largest bus company, and runs more than 700 vehicles.
Meanwhile Arriva, which has its roots in pre-war Sunderland, runs services right across the North East region with depots located from Ashington in the North to Whitby in the South.
With a fleet of more than 400 buses, it is one of the leading transport operators in Europe.
Enjoy our gallery of archive pictures showing buses old and recent, double-decker and single, horse-drawn and trolleypowered, among many others. Front: Haymarket bus station, 1968; Gateshead bus station, c1960s (both photographs courtesy of the Armstrong Railway Photographic Trust)
A no. 66 Northern bus to Newcastle, c1970s
A trolley bus, Newcastle city centre, c early 1960s (Eric Wilson)