Comments about this page

Fantastic photos. Pictures of Southdown in and around the town are few and far between. What a pity we can't wind the clock back to those good old days when the town had some character. Pity pictures 7 & 8 never came through. Being an ex Southdown Driver/Conductor I always drool when I see pictures like these. Thank you so much for putting them on the web site for all to see.

By Jim Still
On 07/04/2014

I can remember catching most of these buses! The photo of the top of Gibbon Road brings back memories, as the car at the right is parked right outside where we used to live at No. 226. We'd moved a couple of years before this was taken, but I'm sure I remember those cars belonging to neighbours. You might well have driven me to the town or to Denton and back on the 26, Bruce!

By Andy Gilbert
On 08/04/2014

Can one of the editors put me in touch with Bruce Macphee as I too was a Southdown Driver/Conductor late 50's to late 1967 and just like a chat about days gone by. Thank you.... JIM Have sent email to Bruce asking for his permission, Jim............. John Editor

By Jim Still
On 10/04/2014

My Gran lived in Lewes Road and the 123 stopped outside her house. There was no bus stop there but people always waited there and the bus would stop. Always liked going into Brighton on the 12. My dad would take us on a trip around Denton on the 26. Great days and one's I will always remember. Great to see your pics.

By James Tant
On 12/04/2014

These photo's bring back many memories. The diversion of buses from Lewes to Brighton via the A27 also brought Maidstone and District vehicles through Newhaven, some of which used Murray Avenue and Lawes Avenue or Evelyn Avenue. The Murray Avenue junction with Brighton Road was particularly difficult to negotiate.

I remember Phil Amy and Ranji Robinson very well as I joined the then East Sussex "Specials" in 1962 and after being guided by Ranji, I also directed traffic at Lewes Road junction on Sundays until I moved from Newhaven in 1963. Ranji was my mother's (Ivy Robinson - maiden name) cousin.

By Graham Norris
On 12/04/2014

I love the black & white photos & the memories they evoke. I used to catch the 123 from Denton Corner to Lewes station then walk up Keere (cobbled) street when I worked in Lewes Library HQ, then I caught the 12 from Denton Corner to Seaford High street when I worked at the Doctors' surgery. I used to get a monthly bus season ticket out of my wages which I could also use evenings & weekends. Upstairs, up the front, light up a cigarette, those were the days! On my afternoons off I used to bus to Eastbourne & Brighton for shopping too & I loved the views. Also remember Denton Corner bus stop before they modernised the roads, which was more to cross from Mount Pleasant. 


By Brenda Hall
On 13/04/2014

Thanks for this page , it is lovely - and it is nice of you to mention me and show my family in photo 5 .  This was when we lived on Lewes Road and walked into town for shopping, when we had a good range of shops before the ring road and the supermarkets took the trade away from the town .

By John Lonsbrough
On 17/04/2014

Additional information:

As this item was not about buses, but about the Newhaven scenery surrounding them, I resisted the temptation to include anything about the vehicles themselves. However, here are a few details for those who might be interested - others should look away now.

Southdown usually managed to reserve “blocks” of registration numbers for new vehicles so that the last two digits, at least, could coincide with fleet numbers - “car numbers” in Southdown parlance. Thus, in photo 1, the Guy Arab IV, registered PUF 643 is car 543; bodywork by Park Royal Vehicles, N.W.10. These had slow-revving Gardner 6LW engines; which, along with driver unfamiliarity, made timekeeping difficult and they weren’t kept on ser.12 for very long. They were, however, “opened-up” in later years and many ended up on the joint services with Maidstone & District from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells and Gravesend, where M&D drivers, used to Leylands and AECs with synchromesh gearboxes, hated them. One of the batch, 547, survives; when I took it for disposal in Jan 1970, little did I think I would drive it again over 40 years later!

Photo 2: Leyland Tiger PS1; E181 7.4 litre engine, similar to that used in War Office Hippo mk.II 10 ton G.S. trucks and developed from the engines used in pairs in Matilda tanks; bodywork by Eastern Coachworks, Lowestoft. This was car no.1234, one the first new coaches delivered after the war; later relegated to bus work, it was renumbered 680, Southdown not bothering to match-up the numbers. Two of this type survive in preservation.

Photo 3: Leyland Titan PD2; O600 9.8 litre engine; Leyland bodywork. No fewer than 80 of these were delivered to Southdown in the first half of 1948. The PD2 was one of the earliest heavy vehicles to have a synchromesh gearbox, and these had many teething-problems. During the course of delivery, Southdown changed the spec. for the last 30 or so to have a “crash” box, similar to those of the earlier PD1/PS1; thus car 355 illustrated here is “synchro” and 384, lurking behind 543 in photo 1, is “crash”. Southdown specified crash boxes for the next 65 PD2s (700-764), reverting to synchro for 1955 deliveries (765-776) and those which followed, by which time the box incorporated synchromesh for 3rd and top only.

Photo 4: Leyland Titan TD5; E102 8.6 litre, next to the Gardner, the Leyland “8.6” was one of the earliest successful oil engines for road vehicles; car 180 was new in 1938 and a new Park Royal body was fitted in 1949. When photographed, 180 had only 6 months left to run in Southdown service. One identical vehicle survives.

Photo 5: Leyland Titan PD1; the first post-war model and mechanically similar to the PS1 in photo 2; Park Royal body; car 271 delivered in 1946 lasted with Southdown until 1963.

Photo 6: Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1; O350 5.75 litre horizontal under-floor engine; crash gearbox and 2-speed axle; bodywork by John C. Beadle, Dartford. Car 1004 was among the first of 115 basically similar vehicles delivered 1955-7, a further 15 differed only by having Albion 5-speed gearboxes, single-speed axles and bodies with an entrance at the front instead of at the centre; Beadle’s bodyshop closed down when this order was complete, although the name survives as a main agent for new cars.

By Bruce MacPhee
On 21/04/2014

Does anybody remember Leisurelink buses operating from the old Haven Bus depot in North Quay Road?  It was started and owned by me with an old Southdown bus which the roof come off in the summer.  I wish now that we had thought of the 26's as we could have done that route on the back of our 12's to Brighton as we did the 92D school route to Tideway  from Denton.  We ended up with 22 buses and a lot of contracts from East Sussex council until Metrobus took a share in us then closed us down.

By Clifford Jones
On 19/06/2015

Clifford Jones is seeking information about Southdown's former Green (really yellow!) Goddess Breakdown which, for a while was in my ownership when I operated and owned Red Bus Services, East Devon.

I do not know the person but he was, last year, enquiring about the Bedford when in my ownership - if someone could let me have his Contact Details or pass my email address to him a.s.a.p. I'd be obliged.

Richard Holladay, Exeter

Clifford Jones made the comment without registering with us, so we have no contact details. If he reads this and makes contact with us, we'll put you in touch. Andy - Editor

By Richard Holladay
On 20/02/2016

Hi Richard

I have many memories of the garage I had in Newhaven and competing with B & H on the 12's into Brighton.  The irony was I ended up working for B & H as an inspector in a rapid response car

Regards - Cliff

Note for Richard:- We are checking if Cliff would mind his contact details being passed on to  you.... Editor

By Clifford Jones
On 22/06/2017

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