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A Clutter of Buses

January 25, 2014  •  7 Comments

It was the early 1970s. I distinctly recall my mum was wearing a smart leather jacket when she was mistaken for an undercover police woman! She was innocently buying tights in bulk from a cluttered shop in  Cheetham Hill - a vibrant inner city mulit-ethnic area of north Manchester. The trader shouted abuse at her and we swiftly left. He must've been 'up to no good'. Anyway,  I never stepped out of a car again there ... until last week when I visited the Museum of Transport. The barbed wire and grilled windows didn't offer a warm welcome and so I chose my car parking spot carefully. I felt the vibes from my husband... "where on earth has she brought me now?"  I had flashbacks of the angry man in his shop. 

Such a surprise lay beyond the door.  A huge old building adjoining a garage and crammed full of colourful buses and memorabilia spanning a century. 

Although a little tricky though with all the reflections in the glass and chrome, the exhibits were a delight to photograph.

A subtle selfie in the lamp of the horsedrawn carriage.

Four weddings and a funeral...

Bus conductors and drivers were always immaculately presented for duty. 

Perhaps a reminder to polish the mirror is needed! 

This tram from 1906 has been painstakingly restored. It had previously been used as a unique garden shed!

I spotted a well-travelled  battered old case tucked under a seat.

This brass horn wouldn't be heard amongst the traffic in the city today...

...and I can't imagine the drivers wanting to crank up the engine!

Drivers hopped off the bus to change the destination sign with this device.

Vibrant red. Best recognised as an iconic London double-decker bus - the Routemaster. Perhaps you've seen the sight of London on one?

Not this vintage one, I hasten to add, but I used to take the Bury bus with my gran during the school holidays. 

And here's me driving a bus at Bury Market, famous for black puddings!

A few mechanical exhibits amongst the buses.

I regret not taking more time to capture the fire engine because I have a family connection. 

As a young lad, my grandad lived at the fire station in nearby Salford. It must've been exciting for him. The fine stone building still stands and is another on my 'to visit' list.

Early advertising for the smart man in town...

Vintage buses are restored here. The many layers of paint are revealed  - a history of the bus as liveries changed over the decades.

Of course I visited the cafe. The food on offer - tinned soup and meat pies - didn't tickle my tastebuds so I made do with a piece of sultana flapjack and a cuppa. But it was worthwhile just to take a peek into the world of the bus enthusiasts. The stark room was filled with plenty  of reminiscing and tales of buses, engines and journeys. I discovered that bus engines are now assembled from imported parts - a sad reflection of the decline of the British engineering industry and even more poignant industry in Manchester - the heart of the industrial revolution. 

I hope you enjoyed my walk around the Museum of Transport in Manchester. A great place to visit on a rainy day. Cheetham is a district full of interesting historical links which I plan to reveal over the coming months.

I'd love you to show me where you've visited with your camera - please feel free to share via the Link-up below. I'm hoping the weather will brighten soon so that I can get out into the countryside for more lengthy walks and fresh air.


Have a great week! Appreciate the present moment.

Here's the link



Helen still trying to catch up with blogs. That looks like my sort of museum I love transport museums It's so sad to think these days that these beautiful machines are no longer made in the UK but thank goodness for all those volunteers and enthusiasts.....
Cindy Swainson(non-registered)
What a great museum! Wish I could have joined you there, but your photo essay made it possible for me to enjoy it anyway.

Well done!

Love the old photo of you, the wee bus driver.
I love the colorful buses all in a row. Makes me wonder why ours are all greyish. :( How boring that is.
Kelly L McKenzie(non-registered)
What a lovely surprise for you! The front of the building does look rather grim. That photo of you driving is so very cute and I love the photo of all the multicoloured buses lined up. We have a museum in Ottawa that I've visited which is comprised solely of war vehicles. It reminds me of this - all lined up and restored. Good on you to give the tinned soup a miss - I would have as well. Looking forward to your next post - always a photographic treat for me.
What a great weekend walk! It looks like a fascinating place. You've captured so many wonderful vintage details, but I think my favorite shot is the one of all the colorful buses lined up next to one another.
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