We’m gooin ta Brum, yow coming?

NRF 349F

Harper brothers Leyland double decker NDF349F waits at the bottom of The Parade, Brownhills, on it’s way to Birmingham on what would now be the 56 route. The Fullelove shelter is in the background, and immediately behind that, the Hussey Arms. I’d say this is early 1970s. Image kindly supplied by Tony Martin.

I’ve had a great image sent by reader and pal of the blog Tony Martin, who knows a thing or two about busses. Tony, you’ll remember, sent the wonderful picture of the Harpers busses at Aldridge, which provoked much recollection from readers.

Harper Brothers busses are remembered with some fondness by many a Brownhillian of a certain age.

Tony said:

Hi Bob,

Here is another photo of a couple of Harper Brothers buses, this time taken in Brownhills.

Tony Martin

I’m not sure what the date is, but I’d say early 1970s: I’m sure I remember getting on these types of bus with me old man. I remember the clippy with the leather satchel and mechanical ticket machine, and the thick cigarette smoke upstairs.

It was spring when this was taken on the slip road by Holland Park, judging by the daffs or tulips in the flowerbed and blossom on the tree between the Fullelove Memorial Shelter and The Hussey Arms. The Hussey has a bold sign displaying the Ansells squirrel logo. It’s early spring, as there are few leaves on the trees.

At the time, the Hussey Arms would have had an illuminated red and orange sign along the length of the side wall facing the camera reading ‘Double Diamond’, a popular but weak keg beer of the day. It’s obscured by the Fullelove shelter.

This bus got about a bit and changed appearance a few times. It can be seen on Flickr in a dark, Park’s of Hamilton livery, and in 1976, in the bright Midland Red colour scheme.

I always love these images – they are very evocative, and prompt much great debate and comment. If you have any, no matter how seemingly mundane, please do get in touch.

That’d be BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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11 Responses to We’m gooin ta Brum, yow coming?

  1. Ah loved getting on the Harpers buses from Brownhills to Union Street Birmingham as a child. A child’s fare was 5 and half new pence at the time. Later on I remember the first new buses with the flat front which I always tried to get on as they were different to any other bus.

    I was lucky several times under the instruction of the conductor to be able to issue a few tickets and you had to have the knack of holding the button in as you whizzed the handle around. Pulling the chord twice to signal to the driver he could move off was also a good feeling.

    Mind you also fondly remember the Harper’s coaches to the seaside from outside the wool shop near where Nando’s is now.

  2. Rob says:

    I remember booking tickets at Joss Hardings (Gents’ Outfitter) for the football special “Gloria” to get to Villa Park on Saturdays. His shop was where Jones photography and the funeral company are now located.

  3. e says:

    Ah yes happy days indeed, I used to catch the Harpers bus into Aldridge every day to drop my dog off at my Mom’s before walking on to Aldridge Town Centre where I worked. The bus conductors were always happy souls, none of the miserable so and so’s you get now…

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  6. Chris Eaton says:

    Bob Lad !
    I have to take issue with your comment re “..Double Diamond being a weak beer” !
    Draught DD was an Original Gravity of 1039.89 degrees ( approx. 4% abv), and bottled DD was 1048.71 degrees – approx. 4.8% abv.
    Compared to beers of that time, draught Ansells Bitter at around 1037 deg, Tetley Bitter at 1036 deg. it was not a particularly weak beer. I think Ansells Special Pale ale in bottle was around 1042 degrees.

    Of course, the demise of heavy industry where homegoing workers tended to replace the sweat they had lost with “session” type beers has led to the generally higher gravity beers in fashion today.

    I remember these values when I was running the English export department of Allied Breweries through the sixties and into the 70’s, and Duty drawback was claimed on the strength of the beers exported.
    Cheers mate – have one on me !

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  11. JOHN BARLOW says:


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