Orange Luxury Coaches

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by transportbloke, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. transportbloke

    transportbloke New Member

    Hi Folks.
    I am a retired Somerset bloke interested in the history of "Orange Luxury Coaches" that used to reside in Ewer Rd, Lambeth.
    I have managed to find a few photos of their depot which was the first coach station in London when built in 1927 and I think lasted into the 1970s before being demolished.
    I would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers them, worked for them,
    or used the coach station and if anyone has or knows of any exsisting photos.

    Thanks for your time.

    Mike stones@mail.org
     
  2. happyshopper

    happyshopper Well-Known Member

  3. lang rabbie

    lang rabbie Je ne regrette les gazebos

    Much of the roof structure of the garage survived until the 1990s. There was a failed attempt (funded by Brixton Challenge if I recall correctly) to convert the building to small business units for the fashion industry. As the roof was mostly glass, they were impossible to heat and nobody wanted to rent them.

    Don't know whether you have found these images on Lambeth's Landmark picture library...

    1936 Picture

    1940 Picture

    1961 picture
     
  4. transportbloke

    transportbloke New Member

    thanks

    Hi, Happy Shopper and Lang Rabbie.

    Yes I do apologise it is Effra road,...........slip of the tounge.......,Ewer is from the George Ewer group who bought out Orange Luxury Coaches .
    Thank you for your information and links they have come in very useful,
    I am hoping to get some idea of what the inside looked like, for instance if there was a platform that coaches pulled up to from which passengers boarded,
    if there was a cafe inside,so any ex passengers or employees who might remember i would be grateful for your memories.
    Once again thanks for the information.now I have dragged you into this quest I will let you know how I progress in the future.

    Merry Christmas to you all
     
  5. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Have you tried writing to the South London Press? They have a regular feature about the History of South London written by a bloke from the Lambeth Archives which is based in the Brixton area. They also publish letters from people such as yourself in search of information about places and people in times past.
     
  6. transportbloke

    transportbloke New Member

    thanks

    Thanks Mrs Magpie that was a great help ......will let you know how I got on.

    Mike
     
  7. orangeluxury

    orangeluxury Never too old to learn!

    Hi, I was a driver for Orange Luxury during the summer of 1969. I'd just finished teacher training in Streatham, and had a gap of about three months before taking up a teaching appointment at William Penn School, Red Post Hill. As I was living in Burton Road, Brixton, the Orange garage was fairly local.
    I visited the garage, met Don Royle the manager, and asked him if I could work for the summer. He told me he would hire a coach to me for £25 so I could take the PSV test and if I stayed working for them for the summer they would refund the £25! In the event he never charged me!
    Driver training was very informal. In those days anyone with a car licence could drive a PSV as long as there were no fare-paying passengers in it and you were accompanied by a qualified PSV driver. So I would spend all day out in a coach and jump in the driving seat as soon as there were no passengers on board. After a week I went up to the Public Carriage Office in Islington, took the test, and gained my "badge" - N91496. (I still have it to this day.)
    I have to admit that, though I was with the company for three months, my memories of the garage building are fairly hazy. Not surprising really, as we didn't spend much time in and around it, other than cleaning and polishing the coaches or refuelling. (It was an instant sackable offence to run out of fuel!) Don wanted us all out on the road earning revenue!
    The building was basically a parking area for the coaches, and not just Orange coaches. There was a great swapping of coaches with Grey-Green on an almost daily basis. Also, because Grey-Green were part of the East Anglian Express "pool" we often found ourselves driving coaches from eg Eastern Counties. We did have a full-time mechanic based at the garage, but there was no heavy machinery as he was only responsible for minor running repairs. Major work was undertaken at the Grey-Green depot at Stamford Hill. I can't recall a cafe on the premises. Just inside the entrance was the manager's office where the day's duties were posted on the window, and I believe I can remember a crew room either joined on to this, or fairly nearby. Outside, on the forecourt, were diesel pumps and there was a kiosk where punters could buy tickets for all the trips. The regular ones were painted on a large signboard, and day "specials" were advertised on A-boards. I can't recall any special platform for passengers. If they were travelling on a route that started from Brixton they just wandered around the forecourt or Effra Road until they found the right coach, or if it was a route that had started elsewhere, the coach would pull up at the pavement on the main drag.
    Security wasn't a big issue in those days, and I don't believe the garage was ever locked. Often, if returning late to the depot, eg in the early hours, you could disturb a couple of the local "ladies of the night" entertaining their customers on the back seats of empty coaches!
    I haven't been able to find much in print about the Brixton depot. There is an excellent chapter on the history of Orange Luxury in "Grey-Green and Contemporaries Book One (to 1960)" by Tom McLachlan (ex-General Manager of Grey-Green). On p45 there is a sepia print of three charabancs outside the garage in 1928.
    Sorry I can't remember too much more. If you'd asked me about the coaches I could probably have been more forthcoming!

    ATB

    Andy
     
    maomao likes this.
  8. Minnie_the_Minx

    Minnie_the_Minx someinenhhanding menbag and me ah bollox

    hello OrangeLuxury

    How did you stumble upon this thread? :confused::D
     
  9. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Thanks for your interesting post, orangeluxury. I can remember the old petrol station on the site. That survived into the mid nineties.
     
  10. Fenian

    Fenian let us rise

    Echoed orangeluxury
     
  11. orangeluxury

    orangeluxury Never too old to learn!

    It came up on google, when I was looking for a photo of the Orange depot.
    Cheers!
     
  12. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Hi

    Do you mind if I add your earlier post to the feature on urban? Be nice to add a bit more detail and local knowledge!
     
  13. orangeluxury

    orangeluxury Never too old to learn!

    I haven't been back to the Brixton area for years. Must try sometime just to see what's changed and what's stayed the same!
     
  14. orangeluxury

    orangeluxury Never too old to learn!

    No problem!
     
  15. orangeluxury

    orangeluxury Never too old to learn!

  16. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus

    Nice pic!

    I found more pics here:
    [​IMG]

     
  17. davesgcr

    davesgcr Reading books

    There is a real "specialist" oufit called The Omnibus Society which has a lock up in Bridgenorth packed with bus / coach historical documents. I know this from an old work mate - try googling them for some leads.

    Sounds intriguing. (if you are into this sort of thing)
     
  18. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    More about the George Ewer Group (Orange of Brixton and World Wide of Camberwell only mentioned in passing) here
     
  19. Pamela H

    Pamela H New Member

     
  20. Pamela H

    Pamela H New Member

    Hi Mike.

    I have just started to reaearch Orange coaches, primarily because I am a descendant of the Oranges.
    My great grandmothers brother Jack Elliott, married Nellie Orange who's family owned Orange coaches.
    They were a very wealthy Northumbrian family, living in either Bedlington Station or Ashington, and started the first direct coach line from Newcastle to London. I really don't know any more about them other than this at the moment.
     
  21. anorange

    anorange New Member

    Hi there, I too am a decendant of the Oranges, My Mother was Miss Orange and I was told that her Uncle was one of the founders of Orange coaches, I dont know his first name unfortunately but am curious as I am researching my family at the moment, so any information as to who Mr. Orange was would be most helpful., I do know that they all came from Camberwell South London. I remember being taken past the company in Brixton as a child with my Mother in the 1950s and her saying that it was Uncles company.
     
  22. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    There's a new-ish book in Lambeth libraries called Windrush Square by Alan Piper of the Brixton Society. It has a small section on Orange Coaches. I think some of the info may be taken from this thread, but it may be worth a look. I know the book is available from the Minet Library: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/LeisureCulture/Libraries/LocalLibraries/MinetLibrary.htm

    Minet Library also houses the Lambeth Archives, which may hold further information and photos on Orange. It also has a good section of local history books and photos. Worth a visit in my opinion....
     
  23. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    Didn't remember last time, but there is a book -

    "The Grey-Green Story", K. Bateman & O. Woodliffe, Capital Transport Publishing, 1986

    I don't know how much attention it gives to the other companies though.
     
  24. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    I managed to pick up a die cast model of an "Orange Luxury Coach' today - a bargain £3 from a shop in West Norwood (Maddisons on Knight's Hill.) :cool:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Made in China apparently. Who knew the die cast toy factories of industrial China had a penchant for 1960's south London bus companies?!

    The bus is a 'Harrington Grenadier' with seating for 37 people and operated by George Ewer & Co. Nice bit of detail on the destination board: number 4 Essex Express to Clacton :cool:

    transportbloke orangeluxury Pamela H anorange
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
    lang rabbie, ricbake, Gramsci and 4 others like this.
  25. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    :)

    photo of the original, parked in Oxford with JHV 494D, 1966, here

    Coach chassis is a Leyland 'Leopard', coach body by Harringtons of Hove
     
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  26. Theghostbus

    Theghostbus Member

    Hi Mike

    Are you still looking for information?
     
  27. Theghostbus

    Theghostbus Member

    Is there anyone out there who could tell me more about the Grey Green service which I think was sometimes known to staff as 'The Ghost Bus'? This was the daily coach service from London to Great Yarmouth which left Kings Cross somewhere around 11pm or midnight. Any details would be welcome but in particular I'd like to discover whether it was running on the three nights of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and 27th December 1980. (And if there are those of you interested in more esoteric matters who recognise the significance of those three dates in relation to certain events near the A12.... you're right!).

    All information gratefully received. Many thanks.
     
  28. Theghostbus

    Theghostbus Member

    Hi

    My father was the manager of that Esso petrol station in the 1970s. I used to work there (serving petrol on the forecourt - no self-operation pumps in those days!) as a teenager in the summer holidays. The actual owner also ran the similar Esso garage in the one-way system at West Norwood, opposite the bus garage.
     
    Metroman and editor like this.
  29. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat lumpen proletaricat

    Not sure this is going to be easy to answer definitively - detail for the xmas / new year period tended to be in a flimsy-ish leaflet rather than in the sort of timetable book that some people do collect.

    A year or so later (after coach 'deregulation' after the 1981 transport act) and there would be even less chance of finding an answer on paper - before then, the doorstep sized national express timetable book did include some other operators' services that filled in gaps in the network rather than ran in direct competiton.

    Gut feeling is that something like that almost certainly won't have run on the evening of Christmas Day, questionable on boxing day, and possible the night after that (I don't know if it ran every day the rest of the year.)

    May be worth floating it on the message board at sct61 which is Essex based but the nearest similar sort of thing I can think of.

    Alternatively, this blog has a piece about Grey Green's Norfolk routes (they did have their own garage / coach station in Great Yarmouth) - it's an oldish post, but the blog is still active so may be worth posting a comment.
     
  30. Theghostbus

    Theghostbus Member

    Many thanks for that info PT - I'll certainly post a request on both of those sites (bit of a shock when I looked at the East Norfolk Bus Blog via the link you gave me - big picture of a No.8 Double-decker at Gorleston Church at the top of the page...that's one of the routes I used to conduct on and later drove for Yarmouth Corporation (GYCT) in the mid to late1970s!).

    As for the Grey Green 'Ghost Service', yes, it definitely ran on at least one of those three nights in 1980 as I got that information many years ago direct from a friend who worked for Grey Green and who was actually driving the late coach from Kings Cross to Great Yarmouth on at least one of the nights. He used to welcome the opportunity to work that particular service as much as possible (and the corresponding outward from Great Yarmouth) for reasons best not disclosed here! I last met up with him a few years ago but all attempts to contact him since have failed and I fear he may no longer be with us. What I'm trying to do is verify something he once mentioned to me in passing about what he and his passengers encountered in the early hours of the morning which made it quite a memorable journey. I really wish I'd asked him more about it at the time... but I know the answer is out there somewhere!

    Thanks again for your reply and If anything else occurs to you do please let me know.

    ATB

    TGB
     

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