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Gosport and Fareham Omnibus Company
(Provincial) - History of the Company
The company originated in 1878 when a bill
to develop the Gosport Street Tramways, a subsidiary of the Provincial
Tramways Company Ltd was promoted. No results were evident until 17th July
1882 when 8 horse cars ran a 7½-minute headway route from Gosport Beach
(now the ferry) via Elson Road to Brockhurst. This was one of the many
Provincial Tramway systems in Portsmouth, Cleethorpes, Devonport and
Tram at Fareham
The Gosport and Alverstoke Urban District Council decided to acquire the
system within their boundary at a meeting on 20th October 1900, but a
legal complication stopped them taking this course of action. A similar
action was proposed in 1956, but got no further than the council's minute
book. The Brockhurst route was extended to Fareham Railway station and
electrified commencing 24th January 1906. A bill to change the Companies
legal name to Gosport and Fareham Tramways was proposed in 1906, but not
A picture taken circa 1920's outside
the "Royal Arms" pub. in Stoke Road, Gosport. It shows a Provincial
charabanc, probably a Thorneycroft (Photo supplied by Alan Dale)
It was however, duly adopted as the fleet name. A bus service form Bury
Cross to Lee-on-Solent was opened up by the tramway company in 1910 and
later extended to run from Brockhurst to Lee-on-Solent . The 1914-18 war
terminated bus operations and in the early post war years a large number
of one-bus operators appeared in the Gosport and Lee areas and through the
1920s competition with the trams grew fierce.
In 1929 the Bury Cross route was converted to motor
buses and the Fareham route cut back to Ann's Hill. The last trams ran on
31st December 1929 and the company changed its name to the Gosport and
Fareham Omnibus Company. Seven tramcars went to nearby subsidiary of
Provincial Tramways, the Portsdown and Horndean Railway, which continued
until acquired by Southdown in 1935. Six cars went to the Great Grimsby
system, also a Provincial Tramways fleet. The replacement buses were
mainly three axle Chevrolets. these were replaced by deliveries of AEC
Regals and Regents, the majority of which were still in service up to the
early seventies. Some of the Chevrolets were transferred for, further
service in the Cleethorpes fleet.
The intensive network of services radiating from the
Ferry, Haslar, Elson, Fareham Railway station and West End Estate, and a
number of circular routes in Gosport were built up before the Second World
War. The Company was hard pressed during the war due to the many service
establishments in its area of operation; at the time of D-Day, even the
veteran Leyland's saw service. Since the war the large Bridgemary estate
has been served, and open toppers popularised the Stokes Bay route.
One-man vehicles were introduced after 1953 on four lightly patronised
routes. With nationalisation imminent, the private hire
department was detached in 1947 to the parent company, Provincial Traction
Company. Since 1936 the company had been the sole survivor of the once
large Provincial system.
"Old Bill" Provincial's (at the time)
beautifully restored 1922 Leyland G7, which is still preserved but in its
original Southdown livery. This picture was taken at the 1951 Gosport
Carnival in which it always took part, and this year won first prize.
Between 1947 and 1954, all additions to the fleet were
new vehicles, initially AEC and later Guy. From 1954 to 1968, with the
exception of two Guys in 1958, second-hand vehicles were acquired and
existing vehicles rebuilt very extensively and re-engined and rebodied. Eight acquisitions were necessary to plug the gap caused
by the fire at Hoeford depot at midnight on 18th June 1957. Four double
deckers, a coach, a derelict saloon and two new lorry chassis stored for
dealer were destroyed. One double decker and four saloons were damaged. In 1968 and 1969 two batches of Seddon Pennines were
purchased to expand one man operation, and the double deck fleet was
considerably reduced as a consequence. Further second-hand vehicles of AEC
and Bristol types were acquired in 1969 and 1970. Six new Roe bodied
Daimler Fleetlines were on order for 1971, but these were diverted to
Hants and Dorset at the NBC takeover, and six Bristol RELLs arrived
One of the two guys (70/71-SCG622/3) no 71 is pictured
above. It is a
Reading fully fronted bodied Arab IV - Photo Cliff Essex).
In March 1969 the parent company Provincial Traction
Company Limited (so renamed in 1936) was taken over by the Wiles Group and
from 20th May 1969, this group was renamed the Swain Group. On 1st January
1970, the bus operations were sold to the National Bus Company, the head
office of GFO Co being transferred to The Square Bournemouth. Hants and
Dorset Motor Services now administered the company, although Gosport and
Fareham Omnibus Company remained the legal owner. Day to day control was
still conducted from Hoeford and the fleet was operated as a separate
entity. It also remained leaf green when H&D became poppy red.
In the late eighties after deregulation the company was
bought from NBC by its management and employees and became Peoples
Provincial. First Group acquired the company in the 1990s and it is now
part of First Hampshire along with Southampton Citybus. By this time
Peoples Provincial had expanded into Portsmouth and Harry Blundred's
"bread van" operation (Red/Blue Admiral) had also been taken over by First
and combined with Provincial in the new First Provincial Company.
The garage and offices were at Hoeford, near Fareham,
alongside a stream called the Hoe. This provided the water for the tramway
generating station and also formed the Gosport/Fareham boundary. Another
generating station was near Ann's Hill Cemetery.
The livery of the fleet was emerald green with cream
bands above and below the lower deck windows on double deckers. On Saloons
and coaches there were cream bands above and below the windows. The fleet
name Provincial in script was on the side panels. Fleet numbers were
carried on the front dash and rear, where they were surrounded by a garter
with the company name in the belt. In the spring of 1969, the livery of
saloons was altered to all cream above the waistrail and the script style
fleet name on stage carriage vehicles was replaced by one in normal
capital letters in a horizontal line. From June 1969, the double deckers
were repainted with cream window surrounds on both decks and cream roofs.
The garter fleet name around the rear fleet number was gradually abandoned
in 1970, small white fleet numbers being applied to both sides just below
window level near the front from early 1971. On NBC take-over the livery
was leaf green, with white bands in later days. Peoples Provincial
restored the old Provincial emerald green livery along with the garters,
but eventually opted for a more cream based livery with dark green bands
in its latter days. On the take-over by First, a red and cream livery was
adopted, but increasingly as new vehicles join the fleet the Corporate
"Barbie" colours are becoming more common.
● Without doubt one of Gosport's best
hotels that successfully combines style and elegance with a very
is in front, the number of possible way to arrange Santa's other eight
reindeer is 40,320.
Divide your weight by six to get the approximate number of quarts of
blood in your body.
A rat can go without water longer than a camel can.
The Monongahela River's name translated into English means "high banks
breaking off and falling down in places."
The most common name in the world is Mohammed.