Survivor? [number 1]

Things have been very quiet on this blog for a while but I can report that during this time of radio silence some significant progress has been made with the organisation of the real-world hard-copy celluloid and dead-tree content of this archive. Because of this I can now lay my hands on most of the material immediately and a more accommodating environment has been arranged for the scanning of transparencies and printed material and for the storage of the images for future use in these pages and elsewhere. And a dedicated room in which to write.

Recently I have been scanning negatives from the days when I had to make do with a rather inadequate camera. To give an idea of the size of this collection, 5500 transparencies have been scanned to date with many more to go. In spite of the disappointing quality of some of the early images, being from forty or so years ago their value as objects of interest sometimes outweighs their failure to meet the usual quality control threshold.

Take this photo.

Former Red & White U763

In 1983 I spent part of the summer down south with some of the friends I had made at UCW at Aberystwyth during the previous year. This time saw me at liberty in the capital for the first time, also spending time in Guildford and Brighton. But I spent a couple of nights with a girl in Coulsdon and when I saw the scan of this photo of Bristol MW6G AAX13B I had a vague memory of the bus being parked somewhere near her house not far from Coulsdon South station. Remarkably, looking at the usual street view site it didn’t take me long to find what looks like the place where I took the shot. The car park appears still to be there across the road from the row of houses and adjacent garage.

This vehicle being from South Wales, a part of the UK in which I have spent very little time, it wasn’t a familiar vehicle to me. On the other hand, it being a Bristol MW, a type of which I have fond memories of travelling to school in my primary school days, I couldn’t resist taking a shot. Seeing the photo again as it appeared on my screen, magically translated from a tiny orange negative to an intelligible positive image, I immediately wondered whether the bus was still with us. The best, though perhaps not entirely up to date go-to site for Bristol MW updates gave little hope. Searching the web for the registration number reveals a shot in its heyday, another after the transition from Red & White to National Welsh and then a rather sorry view, from ten years after mine, which at least gives us some closure…

Anyone who knows anything about what it was doing in Coulsdon and how it found its way to Carlton is very welcome to contact me or to leave a comment here.

I have turned up a few more of these buses in their afterlife with new owners and looked into their subsequent fate. I will share more in future posts…