|LITTLE BUS COMPANY
6 Appleyard, Haworth Close,
Halifax, HX1 2NN.
Tel: 01422 301600
Kit ULB 1-4 Brush Bodied Lowbridge Utility
|Faced with a requirement to provide
buses for essential transport and to replace war damaged vehicles, the Ministry of War
Transport authorised the recommencement of bus production in late 1941. The specification
was for a very basic timber framed body, steel panelled, with a minimum of panel beaten
curved surfaces. The initial specification provided for only one opening window per side,
per deck, and a steel panelled emergency "window" at the back. From mid 1943
wood slatted seats were specified although, at about the same time, a glazed rear window
was allowed, to permit passengers to see where they were or where they had been. With the
end of the war in sight, relaxations in late 1944 allowed aluminium panelling, panel
beaten roof domes, more opening windows and a reversion to upholstered seats. However
these relaxations did not generally come into effect until mid 1945.
The MoWT specification for lowbridge bodies provided for 28 passengers on the lower deck and 27 passengers on the upper deck, the lower deck being provided with six pairs of transverse two-seaters and longitudinal two-seaters over the wheel arch, although some bodies, typically early Strachan versions, had five pairs of transverse seats and four-seaters over the wheel arch.
This model is of the version built by Brush Coachworks Ltd of Loughborough, who built about 12 lowbridge bodies on unfrozen AEC Regent and Leyland TD7 chassis in 1942, followed by 56 on Guy Arab Mk I in 1942/43 and 40 on Daimler CWG5 in 1943. Brush thereafter concentrated on highbridge bodies for new chassis, apart from some lowbridge bodies on Daimler CWA6 in 1944. Brush did not body Mk II Guy Arabs and because lowbridge body production ceased in 1944, there was no "relaxed" version of this body. I should add that Brush also rebodied old or war damaged buses. Rebodies included at least one lowbridge body in 1944 on Wilts and Dorset (ex Southdown) Leyland TD1 UF 7396.
A kit example built up as a ULB 3 for Southend Corporation - see notes below....
| The model is based on and inspired by two Brush bodied Guy Arab I's operated by
Robert Chisnell & Sons (King Alfred), which were the first utilities with which I can
identify from my childhood in Winchester. Alternative bonnet/front mudguard castings are
provided for other chassis variants and the major detail changes are covered by the
The ULB 4 Leyland TD 7 is not being issued as a kit but the bonnet has been produced and can be swapped with any other Brush utility kit bonnet if required.
ULB 1 Guy Arab 1 (5LW) 56 built 1942-1943 (total including
ULB 2 Guy Arab 1 (6LW) small numbers of Arab 1 built with 6LW
ULB 3 Daimler CWG5 40 built 1943
ULB 3 variant as Daimler CWA6 1944 numbers not
ULB 4 "Unfrozen" chassis, 10 Leyland TD7 1942
Subsequent detail changes
As built, the headlamps had blackout masks, a louvred circular mask on the large headlamps and a semi-cylindrical hood on the small lamps. These were removed once blackout restrictions were lifted. In some instances (e.g. United GD01) the large headlamps were replaced during wartime by small hooded ones.
Photographs also suggest variation in the depth of the rear mudguards, protruding about 3 inches (1 mm) below the body side, as on the kit, or level with the bottom of the body, which will require trimming. I do not know whether this was original or a subsequent modification.
Brush utility bodies were normally delivered in a fairly dark shade of grey although some operators repainted them immediately into their fleet livery.
Oh and by the way if you are still looking for the rear number plate, the registration number was painted in "square" format in the top right hand corner of the lower deck rear window. Post war some buses were modified to have a recessed illuminated number plate in the bottom right hand corner of the lower rear panel.
Principal references for the kit and these notes were:
The following list is not exhaustive and is based on research of photographs and fleet histories. Fleet numbers, where carried, are in italic script.
AEC Regent (at least 2)
Scottish Motor Traction (2) DSG 167 (BB1) and one other
Leyland TD7 (10)
Crosville (3) FFM 177-179 (M127-M129)
Guy Arab 1 (5LW short bonnet) (56 including 6LW)
Barton, Nottingham (3) GAL 136, FVO 324, GAL 224 (425-427)
Guy Arab 1 (6LW long bonnet)
Coventry Corporation (1) EKV 930 (330) originally allocated to Middlesbrough
Daimler CWG5 (40)
Bullock, Featherstone, S Yorks (2) AHL 10/11 to West Riding in 1950 (259/60)
Walter Alexander & Sons ( ) includes fleet no RO471
Noteworthy is the loan of Eastern Nationals ten Arab 1's to London Transport for three months in 1951, following the transfer to London Transport of Grays area services. These remained in Tilling Green but carried London Transport fleetnames on a Lincoln Green background and carried red "GY" garage and "route" number stencils refer to Londons Utility Buses, Chapter 14.
Also noteworthy is the number of allocations of pre-selector Daimlers, essentially an urban bus, to rural operators. Such were the vagaries of the Ministry of War Transport. Wilts and Dorsets four CWG5s spent their first ten years at Blandford, operating the lengthy trunk rural Route 20 across Cranbourne Chase between Salisbury and Weymouth.
© Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW, Australia, June 2007
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