Home In 1969 Southdown became part of the National Bus Company (NBC) as a result of Nationalisation. The fleet was eventually repainted with buses in Leaf Green and coaches white. With Deregulation in 1986, the fleet reverted to the original company colurs but in a modified form, and the operation was structured into divisions. It eventually became independent but was purchased by Stagecoach in 1989. With the fleet painted in the familiar livery of this company, the name "Southdown" was used but only for a short period. However, in 2003 the former company name was resurrected and it is now the legal lettering on buses operating as Stagecoach Coastline.  
 
   
 

VINCENT TWEED AND SOUTHDOWN BUSES

 
 
   
  Southdown Motor Services Ltd was incorporated on 2 June 1915 as a result of the amalgamation of three companies. Its registered office was in Brighton and operations centered on the South Coast, mainly in Sussex and the fringes of Kent, Surrey and Hampshire. It operated stage-carriage and coaching services from its bus and coach stations throughout the area. It had a network of garages and a works at Portslade. The fleet colours adopted were Apple Green and Primrose for buses and two tones of green for coaches.  
 
   
  Southdown Motor Services Ltd was incorporated on 2 June 1915 as a result of the amalgamation of three companies. Its registered office was in Brighton and operations centered on the South Coast, mainly in Sussex and the fringes of Kent, Surrey and Hampshire. It operated stage-carriage and coaching services from its bus and coach stations throughout the area. It had a network of garages and a works at Portslade. The fleet colours adopted were Apple Green and Primrose for buses and two tones of green for coaches.

In 1969 Southdown became part of the National Bus Company (NBC) as a result of Nationalisation. The fleet was eventually repainted with buses in Leaf Green and coaches white. With Deregulation in 1986, the fleet reverted to the original company colours but in a modified form, and the operation was structured into divisions. It eventually became independent but was purchased by Stagecoach in 1989. With the fleet painted in the familiar livery of this company, the name "Southdown" was used but only for a short period. However, in 2003 the former company name was resurrected and it is now the legal lettering on buses operating as Stagecoach Coastline.

Indeed, 2005 not only saw the latest Alexander ALX 400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 double deckers introduced to the 15 minute interval timetable between Chichester and Bognor Regis but also Route 60 celebrated on the distinctive artwork of KX05 TWG seen here, making an interesting comparison with its brethren in Gloucestershire.

 

Indeed, 2005 not only saw the latest Alexander ALX 400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 double deckers introduced to the 15 minute interval timetable between Chichester and Bognor Regis but also Route 60 celebrated on the distinctive artwork of KX05 TWG seen here, making an interesting comparison with its brethren in Gloucestershire.
 
   
Indeed, 2005 not only saw the latest Alexander ALX 400 bodied Dennis Trident 2 double deckers introduced to the 15 minute interval timetable between Chichester and Bognor Regis but also Route 60 celebrated on the distinctive artwork of KX05 TWG seen here, making an interesting comparison with its brethren in Gloucestershire.

  Although I was brought up in Worthing, Sussex, I did not take any interest in Southdown, apart from using its services. However, nostalgia has now caused me to build a growing collection of models, artefacts and memorabilia associated with this company, which has been formed into a display and is available for rallies and exhibitions. I have also joined the Southdown Enthusiasts Club and take an interest in preservation.  
 
   
  4MM SCALE MODELS  
 
   
  This cameo scene from the 1960s is somewhere in rural East Sussex. The 1956 Leyland PD2 with a double deck Beadle body is on the cross country route 119 from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells. The new Harrington Cavalier bodied Leyland, having left Eastbourne earlier in the day, is on an excursion showing its passengers the delights of the local countryside. The driver waits at the halt sign for the passing of a Lambretta LD150 before he can enter the main road. Although it is the days of Mods and Rockers, the scooter driver is not looking for trouble with his motorcycle counterparts, just a pleasant run to the coast to enjoy the seaside on his day off. Opposite, the postman has just emptied the post box and will proceed to the next collection as soon as the bus has passed his Royal Mail liveried Mini van.  
 
   
  This cameo scene from the 1960s is somewhere in rural East Sussex. The 1956 Leyland PD2 with a double deck Beadle body is on the cross country route 119 from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells. The new Harrington Cavalier bodied Leyland Leopard, having left Eastbourne earlier in the day, is on an excursion showing its passengers the delights of the local countryside. The driver waits at the halt sign for the passing of a Lambretta LD150 before he can enter the main road. Although it is the days of Mods and Rockers, the scooter driver is not looking for trouble with his motorcycle counterparts, just a pleasant run to the coast to enjoy the seaside on his day off. Opposite, the postman has just emptied the post box and will proceed to the next collection as soon as the bus has passed his Royal Mail liveried Mini van.  
 
   
  SOUTHDOWN DOUBLE DECKERS  
 
   
  Buses in Wallace Arnold, London Pride and NBC United markings join Southdown PSVs on Vincent Tweeds display  
 
   
  Ex Southdown buses in Wallace Arnold, London Pride and NBC United markings join serving Southdown PSVs on Vincent Tweeds display.  Also appearing in the "Life After Southdown" section was the Original Omnibus Company model 41912 of 974 CUF - a Leyland PD3 Queen Mary in the colours of the British Shoe Corporation, a Leicester based subsidiary of Freeman Hardy and Willis.  
 
   
Ex Southdown buses in Wallace Arnold, London Pride and NBC United markings join serving Southdown PSVs on Vincent Tweeds display.  Also appearing in the "Life After Southdown" section was the Original Omnibus Company model 41912 of 974 CUF - a Leyland PD3 Queen Mary in the colours of the British Shoe Corporation, a Leicester based subsidiary of Freeman Hardy and Willis.

Ex Southdown buses in Wallace Arnold, London Pride and NBC United markings join serving Southdown PSVs on Vincent Tweeds display.  Also appearing in the "Life After Southdown" section was the Original Omnibus Company model 41912 of 974 CUF - a Leyland PD3 Queen Mary in the colours of the British Shoe Corporation, a Leicester based subsidiary of Freeman Hardy and Willis.


  In contrast to the rear engined open top double deckers pictured above, these Leyland Titan TD1s from 1929 and 1930 - both with Leyland bodywork - have enclosed upper decks and the half cabs typical of the period. The 1929 model advertises Simonds SB Pale Ale in between its decks.  
 
   
  In contrast to the rear engined open top double deckers pictured above, these Leyland Titan TD1s from 1929 and 1930 - both with Leyland bodywork - have enclosed upper decks and the half cabs typical of the period. The 1929 model advertises Simonds SB Pale Ale in between its decks.  
 
   
  As was the case in Cheltenham, the years after World War II found Southdown investing in Guy Arab half cab double deckers. Park Royal bodied examples in Southdown's fleet embraced the 1946 Arab II ( following on from Guy Arab IIs acquired in 1944 ) and this particular model - advertising Weston's Quality Biscuits - could well be representing the very vehicle that took young Vincent Tweed to school!  
 
   
  As was the case in Cheltenham, the years after World War II found Southdown investing in Guy Arab half cab double deckers. Park Royal bodied examples in Southdown's fleet embraced the 1946 Arab II ( following on from Guy Arab IIs acquired in 1944 ) and this particular model - advertising Weston's Quality Biscuits - could well be representing the very vehicle that took young Vincent Tweed to school! Its front rollers denote a number 8 service to Worthing Pier.  
 
   
  By the time of the 1956 Suez crisis, the Guy Arab saga had reached the Mark IV with Southdown examples still being bodied by Park Royal, the coachbuilders behind the first streamlined diesel railcars of the Great Western Railway. One of the apple green and primrose liveried PSVs has an inter-deck advertisement for Morris dealers Fields of High Street, Crawley. By the mid 1950s car ownership in Britain was beginning to grow despite fuel rationing caused by Anglo-French adventures in the Middle East.  
 
   
  By the time of the 1956 Suez crisis, the Guy Arab saga had reached the Mark IV with Southdown examples still being bodied by Park Royal, the coachbuilders behind the first streamlined diesel railcars of the Great Western Railway. One of the apple green and primrose liveried PSVs has an inter-deck advertisement for Morris dealers Fields of High Street, Crawley. By the mid 1950s car ownership in Britain was beginning to grow despite fuel rationing caused by Anglo-French adventures in the Middle East.  
 
   
Bringing the Southdown double decker story into the Seventies meanwhile was this1974 vintage Leyland Atlantean AN68 with Park Royal bodywork forming a 22B service to Brighton.  Note too the Southown Brighton & Hove NBC branding just behind the front axle.

Bringing the Southdown double decker story into the Seventies meanwhile was this1974 vintage Leyland Atlantean AN68 with Park Royal bodywork forming a 22B service to Brighton.  Note too the Southown Brighton & Hove NBC branding just behind the front axle.

  LEOPARDS ARE SPOTTED!  
 
   
  Formating with a Duple Vista bodied Bedford OB from 1948 are two Leyland Leopard Southdown coaches from the start of the 1960s. The 1961 Leopard L2 on the right has a Harrington Cavalier while the 1962 model is a PSU3 with a Harrington Grenadier body.  
 
   
  Formating with a Duple Vista bodied Bedford OB from 1948 are two Leyland Leopard Southdown coaches from the start of the 1960s. The 1961 Leopard L2 on the right has a Harrington Cavalier while the 1962 model is a PSU3 with a Harrington Grenadier body.  
 
   
  The Leyland Leopards added to the Southdown fleet in 1963 included this PSU3 with a Marshall front entry bus body. It makes an interesting comparison with the 1971 Bristol RE with Lowestoft built Eastern Counties bodywork - headcoded for service 115 - parked next to it.  
 
   
  The Leyland Leopards added to the Southdown fleet in 1963 included this PSU3 with a Marshall front entry bus body. It makes an interesting comparison with the 1971 Bristol RE with Lowestoft built Eastern Counties bodywork - headcoded for service 115 - next to it.  
 
   
  Two more of Southdown's Leyland Leopard PSU3s - from 1965 and 1968 respectively - had Plaxton Panorama 1 coach bodies.  
 
   
  Two more of Southdown's Leyland Leopard PSU3s - from 1965 and 1968 respectively - had Plaxton Panorama 1 coach bodies.  
 
   
  NATIONAL FRONTS  
 
   
  Just as Bristol REs of the 1970s followed 1960s Leyland Leopards in to Southdown's inventory, so the latter half of the 1970s saw the Mark 1 version of the Leyland National rear engined single decker join what had by then become a division of the National Bus Company (NBC). Just like the Leyland TD1 double deckers of half a century before, they had Leyland built bodywork.  
 
   
  Just as Bristol REs of the 1970s followed 1960s Leyland Leopards in to Southdown's inventory, so the latter half of the 1970s saw the Mark 1 version of the Leyland National rear engined single decker join what had by then become a division of the National Bus Company (NBC). Just like the Leyland TD1 double deckers of half a century before, they had Leyland built bodywork.  
 
   
  Just as Bristol REs of the 1970s followed 1960s Leyland Leopards in to Southdown's inventory, so the latter half of the 1970s saw the Mark 1 version of the Leyland National rear engined single decker join what had by then become a division of the National Bus Company (NBC). Just like the Leyland TD1 double deckers of half a century before, they had Leyland built bodywork.  
 
   
  SOUTHDOWN BRANCHES OUT  
 
   
  As well as the revenue earning stock familiar to the travelling public, every bus and coach company employs maintenance and other service vehicles. These often have driver training and recovery roles but the Leyland Titan PD3 pictured above has had the roof taken off its upper deck and a white and yellow applied behind the National Bus logo and Southdown name for conversion to a tree cutting vehicle - removing the branches that might otherwise hinder the PSVs and other tall vehicles on money making missions.  
 
   
  As well as the revenue earning stock familiar to the travelling public, every bus and coach company employs maintenance and other service vehicles. These often have driver training and recovery roles but the Leyland Titan PD3 pictured above has had the roof taken off its upper deck and a white and yellow applied behind the National Bus logo and Southdown name for conversion to a tree cutting vehicle - removing the branches that might otherwise hinder the PSVs and other tall vehicles on money making missions.  
 
   
  An even rarer bus company vehicle type was this AEC Mark V fuel tanker, used to move DERV between Southdown depots during the fuel crisis following the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  
 
   
  An even rarer bus company vehicle type was this AEC Mark V fuel tanker, used to move DERV between Southdown depots during the fuel crisis following the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  
 
   
  Click here for more on 4mm scale model buses and lorries.  
 
   
  LARGE SCALE MODELS  
 
   
  Southdown only ever took delivery of two Bedford OB coaches with 27 seat Duple bodywork and that was in 1948. They were numbered 70 and 71 in the fleet and carried the registration numbers JCD370 and 371 respectively. They were used initially for express coaching services from Hayling Island to cross the weak structure of the former Langstone Bridge which linked the island with the mainland. They were downgraded to bus duties in 1956 floowing the construction of the new Hayling Bridge.  
 
   
  Southdown only ever took delivery of two Bedford OB coaches with 27 seat Duple bodywork and that was in 1948. They were numbered 70 and 71 in the fleet and carried the registration numbers JCD370 and 371 respectively. They were used initially for express coaching services from Hayling Island to cross the weak structure of the former Langstone Bridge which linked the island with the mainland. They were downgraded to bus duties in 1956 following the construction of the new Hayling Bridge.  
 
   
  This 1:24 scale finely detailed model by Original Classics, in the coach livery of two tone green with the Mackenzie script style fleet name on the sides and rear, depicts number 71 on en express service to London Victoria Coach Station. It has poseable wheels, opening door, sliding roof, detailed roof and working head, tail and interior lights.  
 
   
  This 1:24 scale finely detailed model by Original Classics, in the coach livery of two tone green with the Mackenzie script style fleet name on the sides and rear, depicts number 71 on en express service to London Victoria Coach Station. It has poseable wheels, opening door, sliding roof, detailed roof and working head, tail and interior lights.  
 
   
  The cheery faced model driver is dressed in the smart summer uniform of a Southdown coach driver with the long white coat trimmed with green collar and cuffs and white cover on his hat. Although there are many Bedford OBs in preservation, the two owned by Southdown did not survive and were eventually withdrawn and scrapped.  
 
   
  The cheery faced model driver is dressed in the smart summer uniform of a Southdown coach driver with the long white coat trimmed with green collar and cuffs and white cover on his hat. Although there are many Bedford OBs in preservation, the two owned by Southdown did not survive and were eventually withdrawn and scrapped.