Ken steers us to memories of Hartlepool’s old buses

An archieve shot of a bus in York Road in Hartlepool.
An archieve shot of a bus in York Road in Hartlepool.

We are hoping to drive a lot of interest in Hartlepool’s old buses.

And we have got Ken Ridden to thank for the following fantastic trip down Memory lane to bus services of the past.

Remember when Hartlepool's buses looked like this?

Remember when Hartlepool's buses looked like this?

Ken read one of our stories from last year on the demise of the TMS buses in 1990.

We told how more than 70 TMS workers were transferred to other depots in Peterlee, Durham and Bishop Auckland when the company was taken over.

But Ken was much more informative and proved to be a veritable feast of information.

“I offer a few further ‘names from the past’ who served on the West Hartlepool Corporation transport,” said Fred, who added that in the 50s, some of the people who served on the buses were Harry Rhymer, Dave Jessop, Norman Jefferson, Neville Bloom, and Les Wardle.

It would be wrong to miss from this period the start of the ‘Blue Buses’ of Hartlepool Corporation, with their conductresses, Kathy Keene, Ollie Hogg, Elsie Snell, Dot Stockton and Marion Shaw

Ken Ridden

He added: “Neville and Les subsequently became both drivers and then inspectors.

“Other inspectors included Herbert Knaggs, Billy Bessant, Jack Hubbard, Herbert Childs, Albert Windle, Bill Mellanby and Alfie Knight.

“Bill and Alfie both became chief inspectors later and Jack Hubbard became the principal instructor for new bus drivers (using Bus No. 36, an old AEC).”

We want even more of your bus service memories. Which bus did you use and can you remember what the fare was in times gone by?

In the meantime, Ken just kept on filling in those missing details.

He said: “Other drivers in the same period included Billy Sprintall, Charlie Hall, Albert Franks, Jimmy Derbyshire, Bill Hornsey, Billy Wass, Jack Carr, Billy Constantine, Tommy Graham, Martin Walton, John Bolton, Albert Wilkie, Charlie Forshaw, Dave Banks and Alan Grainger.

“There were a number of family connections among the drivers and conductresses, for example Cathie Constantine, Betty Knight, Dot Hornsey.”

Ken is no longer a Hartlepool resident and now lives in Surrey.

But his memories of yesteryear have not faded and he recalled some of the former services.

“It would be wrong to miss from this period the start of the ‘Blue Buses’ of Hartlepool Corporation, with their conductresses, Kathy Keene, Ollie Hogg, Elsie Snell, Dot Stockton and Marion Shaw,” he said.

“I remember this era well along with Alton’s Buses to Elwick and Fishburn, having served as a ‘student conductor’ on the buses in university vacations.

“A lot of ‘names from the past’ here, but perhaps you may find the information helpful in Memory Lane.”

We certainly did Ken and we would love to hear from more people.

You can email your recollections to chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk