Old Bus Tickets

Derby Corporation – Ultimate


Here are a few Ultimates from Derby in its pre-city status days. At that time the administration was known as "Derby Corporation Omnibus Department." The buses were painted olive green and cream. They later went over to blue and very pale grey – similar to the British Rail livery, which I always thought looked "washed out". Maybe they were acknowledging Derby’s connections with the railway, but in my view the old livery was much nicer. There was a substantial trolleybus network, and when I first left school I worked in a civil service department in Victoria Street, just above the level of the wires. There was some sort of protective grill out there to guard against the ever increasing likelihood of dewired poles making a sudden catastrophic entry. In its last years the overhead was sadly neglected and hung in loops between the supports.
Unlike neighbouring Nottingham, which was, from 1929 an avid AEC customer, Derby favoured Daimler for its motorbuses, although wartime Utility acquisitions comprised 12 Daimlers, 9 Guy Arabs and a solitary Bristol K5G. All were withdrawn between 1961 and 63. Of the post-war fleet, everyone seems to know about the Crossleys and Fodens, but they were very much in the minority – only 5 of each. By the early 60s most normal services were operated by a fleet of 50 CVD6s from the late 40s and early 50s, and a growing fleet of CVG6s which eventually totalled 62, the last not being delivered until 1966 and two remaining until 1980. The very oldest Daimlers, together with the Crossleys and Fodens were the mainstay of works services, of which there were many – serving the shift patterns at the various Rolls Royce facilities, the two railway works, International Combustion, and Spondon Celanese works.
Derby had a most bizarre route numbering system, whereby a maximum (from memory) of 42 routes were spread over the range 2 to 91, with many gaps, and a few "A" variants. The route number was displayed in two separate single-digit boxes, and I was recently reminded that many locals would refer to a route "one-one" rather an an "eleven". (I know, I know – don’t blame me – I came from Nottingham!) A few were operated jointly with Trent, including the Blagreaves Lane circulars, which with variants and short workings, absorbed no less than six route numbers – 48, 49, 49A, 50, 51 and 51A. In addition, the indicator did not always show the destination, but rather the main thoroughfare used to reach the destination. Hence, routes 2 and 3 which both terminated at St Albans Road, always displayed "Stockbrook Street" and "Boyer Street" respectively, while the 4 which went to Lyttelton Street was invariably "Slack Lane".
Not much to say about the tickets themselves. Printed by Bell Punch Co. and one of the 3½d tickets has the fare printed in the old style, as opposed to the later practise of overprinting seen on all the rest.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Ford