Save the Harpers Two!

BDJ 807

Once a familiar sight on local roads, the light green Harpers busses. This one is taken outside Aldridge Post Office in 1974 by reader and friend of the blog Tony Martin, who kindly supplied the picture.

We’ve talked about Harpers busses here on the blog a lot over the years – many of us have fond memories of catching these distinctive green double deckers and coaches to popular local destinations, like Birmingham, Lichfield and Cannock.

I think most of us smile at the memory of the Clippies, hopping on via the rear door, and the thick fug of smoke on the top deck.

Well, it seems the good folk visiting Aston Manor Road Transport Museum remember them, too, and this popular local museum have their sights set on preserving a couple of the Harpers fleet in order to share this well regarded bit of our communal heritage.

Yesterday, the museum posted the following on their Facebook page:

Bring back the Harpers Two!

At the museum, we’ve been struck by the number of visitors with fond memories of Harpers buses and coaches, who served the area faithfully until 1974 and had a garage just down the road in the centre of Aldridge. Now there’s a chance of bringing two Harpers coaches back from Ireland and bringing the pale green and cream livery back to the streets of Aldridge. But we have to move fast – their storage area must be cleared in the next couple of weeks – and the purchase and move will be costly – at least £2500 just to repatriate them, then we have to find storage space and restore one or both of them. Once ‘home’, the cost of restoration will probably get into five figures. Can you help?

The coaches, dating from 1959, had bodies by Willowbrook of Loughborough on Wolverhampton-built Guy chassis; with this year being the centenary of Guy Motors, that’s another good reason for bringing these coaches, registered 1291RE and 1292RE, back to their home area.

We need firm offers of financial help – not just vague promises, but funds now! If you can help us raise the money we need, drop us a message with contact details (preferably not as an open reply) and we’ll get in touch. If we can get them (they come as a pair!) we also need storage – the museum is too full at the moment and, although we can get storage elsewhere, it is both distant and costly. Have you an empty barn, shed or factory in which they could go when they arrive – preferably somewhere in the Aldridge, Brownhills, Cannock, Heath Hayes area, where they belong? And at a cost we could afford? Again, get in touch with us – we’d really appreciate it, as we’re keen not to lose these local icons for ever!

If you feel you can help the museum preserve these vehicles for posterity, you can contact   the folk who matter via museum website or their Facebook group, or you can drop me a message on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, and I’ll hook you up.

It really would be sad to see these historic vehicles lost forever.

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.

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8 Responses to Save the Harpers Two!

  1. njhag says:

    Saw the headline for this and though “I never caught a bus to the nightclub”!!

  2. philcburton says:

    Hi Bob, here is a few Flicker links to show the poor state these once proud coaches have been let go to. The first link shows the coaches at the dealer when Harpers sold them on for new stock and the rest what they have become.
    This one on the bus park at Heath Hayes Garage
    As they are now
    I hope Aston Manor can save and preserve these two Willowbrook Guys, they were always a challenge to drive with their five speed crash boxes, but I have driven them for many enjoyable miles and would love to see them back to their former glory.

  3. philcburton says:

    Another ex St Helens, Harper’s Bus that could do with some TLC is BDJ 807 Fleet No 9 as seen above in its hey day. Look at it now rotting away in Rugeley.

  4. Michael Woods says:

    There are links to photo’s on here that are my photo’s l took and posted on Flickr. Mikemercury45 it would have been nice to have been asked if l minded you using this link.

    • Only links have been posted, which point to your gallery. If you don’t want folk viewing you pictures in this way, probably best not to post them online.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with posting links to normal, legal content elsewhere on the net – indeed, that’s the intended purpose.


  5. Pingback: Down with the yoot – but watch out for the Teds | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  6. Dean Bradbury says:

    Just chatting with my dad, he drove for harpers for years, he remembers driving some of these, there should be a newspaper clipping somewhere of him being the first driver to take harpers into union street Birmingham.

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