Buses, Beer & Lamp-posts

The conductor in the photograph is L.P. Oddy, a familiar sight on the 24 bus route in the 1960s.  As can be seen, his bus had automatic doors at the front; these had replaced the open rear entrance during that decade.  There is also a ‘No Smoking’ sign; in those days smoking was permitted upstairs.  The post of conductor survived until the following decade, when single-man operation was introduced.

The 24 route operated between Halifax and Leeds via Bailiff Bridge, Hartshead Moor and Cleckheaton, after which it rejoined the Leeds and Whitehall Road to its terminus in the city.  It passed the Half Way House at Birkenshaw, so named because of its position half way between Leeds and the Whitehall Inn, Hipperholme.

A fully-laden double-decker bus, whether it be a Leyland or a Guy, often had difficulty ascending Birkby Lane, and there were times when passengers had to be shed until flatter terrain was gained.  In the days when Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School took pupils from the Hipperholme, Lightcliffe and Bailiff Bridge areas, it was not uncommon for the youngsters to have to alight and walk to the top, accompanied by their modern languages teacher, Harry Hinchliffe, who also used the service.  Other notable passengers included Philip Tordoff, who rode from Cleckheaton to Hipperholme on his way to teach music at the grammar school, and the secretary of this local history society, who still recalls with excitement the 9d. return tickets, Hartshead Moor to Lightcliffe Station, which rested in his pocket through his days as a young teacher at the primary school.

At the time of the photograph the service was run by Yorkshire Woollen District Transport, based in Dewsbury (buses were garaged at Frost Hill Depot in Heckmondwike), but it was shortly to be taken over by Hebble, although it later reverted to Y.W.D.T.  Eventually Arriva ran the service, and the 24 became the 224.  The route disappeared from the timetable in January, 2007.

                                                                                                                                                   RMH

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