Sunday, 16 February 2014

London Bus's in Salisbury

Early 1950's my father imported some 20 Red London Double Decker Buses. They were shipped to Durban then driven up to operate in Salisbury. The name of his company was Transrhodes.

When he took them to Mbare for the locals approval they were described as ''Just like the houses in Avondale (suburb of Salisbury), upstairs and downstairs''.

Big crisis to see whether they fitted under the railway bridge on the Hatfield Road.

Salisbury Municipality also operated buses and there was fierce competition for passengers. It was called the Bus War.

Council and Dad ended up in the Supreme Court in Bloemfontein, claiming Council were restricting his trade. Free enterprise carried the day and Dad won his case. 

The buses were not a great success as the body frame work was made of wood which rotted in the hot climate, with the buses basically falling apart. Me thinks it was not a good idea to travel upstairs in those days.

I went to Alfred Beit Junior School and I was very proud being able to get my pals to ride for free in ''My Dad's bus''.

In 1953 Dad sold out to United Transport, who were a TransAfrica multinational transport operator.

Just wonder if anyone remembers those days.

Yours aye,
Ian Johnston.


Thanks to Ian for sharing his photographs and photographs with ORAFs, if you have memories of these buses then please share with us all, send them

(Please visit our previous posts and archives

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At 17 February 2014 at 20:48 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Mike McGeorge Writes:-

Iused to drive a truck from a quarry my brother an I had past Epworth , delivering crushed stone to various building sites in Salisbury, travelling down the old Widdecombe Rd, in Cranborne, and often saw these buses , am sure they went over that low level bridge, that is behind the present Macro in Hillside, one had to give way to oncoming traffic as the bridge was only a single lane affair. This was in the early 50s. Very little traffic problems, and vehicles continuously being checked by VID, that is the trucks and buses, any sniff of black diesel smoke, one was stopped, straight to the VID, tow the vehicle away , and get it fixed, before returning to the road, they would have a field day today!!

At 3 March 2014 at 22:06 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Ian Jack (RhAF) Writes

Reference Mike McGeorge and the quarry past Epworth. Would that be the same disused quarry we used as a swimming hole in the 60's much to the dismay of our mothers who always thought we would drown and it also became a great dumping ground for stolen cars and things as well. If so this quarry was instrumental in my arrival in Rhodesia as a wee lad of 4 years old. My uncle worked as quarry manager for I think those Scottish landowners Keir @ Cawder. He was sent out in to manage in in the early 50's. He liked it so much my father accompanied my Aunt Queenie in 53 to take up a position with the Salisbury Municipality as an electrician he took the Suez route and I have photos of them sitting on a camel at the great Pyramids. We followed in the July of 55. It was at my Uncle Alistair's house in Park Meadowlands believe it or not that I saw my first lion it was lying on a rock in the back yard. We were scared to go outside for days. One of my moist exciting memories was when I would spend the day at the quarry and when the conveyor belt became jammed uncle would just non-chalantly
chuck in a stick of (dynamite) ?? to clear the blockage. The quarry closed and he was sent to another in Malawi. Years later that closed too and he managed a third in Bethlehem in the Free State,. They did not like it there and he moved to Durban where he became the manager of the hotel Edge of the sea for the rest of his days.

At 3 March 2014 at 22:07 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Mike McGeorge Writes:-

Dear Eddie, Ref Ian Jack,s memories of swimming in the old quarry past Epworth. Yes that was my brother John and I, our quarry on the Ruwa river, just past the lowlevel bridge, we took over the defunct quarry in early 1952, worked it for 5 years, taking out about 60 cocopans of granite a day, making crushed stone for the builders we supplied for the many jobs in the Salisbury area. One of our clients was Keir and Cawder,s new quarry in Epworth, where we supplied all the stone for the concrete work for the bins and related structures. This quarry was established to supply aggregate for Rhodesia Railways ballast needs, a rail spur being laid for this purpose. The manager was Jimmy Robertson from Perthshire, with whom we became friends, he joined us in our bachelors mess, which was made up of gliding members, as we had joined the Salisbury gliding club in early 56 when the club was at Thorn Park, on the Golden stairs Rd, about 6 miles from town. Jimmy became a keen member, mounting up many hours of gliding. The manager of Keir and Cawder was George Turk, another Scot, and good friend. He lost a daughter Margaret, when an Express Motorways Bus was ambushed on the Kariba road near Makuti about 1978. Further to this incident, my good friend Peter Dawson, Tengwe, was in a land rover as escort, nailed two terrs with his browning by spraying the bush with his fire. Peter was honoured for this.

After packing up the quarry for various reasons, we established a small transport business, tip trucks where we worked mainly for the Roads Department gravelling roads from Mtoko, down to Somabula and in between, going rate was 8 pence a yard mile! Jimmy Robertson had left Keir and Cawder also ran his own transport in conjunction with us, finally doing well setting up a truck spares business next to Leyland Albion on the Beatrice Road. Eventually he returned to UK, where my friend Peter Dance, ex CAA rep in Natal, also a one time gliding club member, kept in touch with him.

I haven,t been back to the quarry site in years, but do remember Ivor McCormick, ex Hurricane pilot, was active taking sky divers up from Danny Delport,s farm just across from the quarry, also Ivor gave me my first ride in the gliding club,s T31 2 seater, in July 1956, introducing me to over 40 years of gliding and towing. Where else could one do these things other than in Rhodesia!!

At 10 March 2014 at 11:43 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Skippy Michell (RhArmy) Writes:-

As an ex skydiver of Mashonaland Skydiving Club at Delport Farm, I did many a dive from the Cessna (WCP – Charlie Pops) with Ivor “the Driver” piloting. The advice to the new first jumpers then was that you would rather get out the aircraft than come back down with Ivor who would put the nose down and engage dogfight tactics while heading full speed towards terra firma!

I remember the Quarry well, and today wonder how much “katundu” is still lying at the bottom, as during 1982/3 we were getting quantities of ammo, revolvers, rifles, uniforms etc being given to skydivers to “dispose of” as we passed over the quarry while climbing.


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