|Following on from last months feature on the Primrose Charabancs, this month I'm featuring a trip to London Zoo in July 1920 by a group of children from West Mersea Council School on a Primrose double decker open topped bus.
The two images show the Karrier bus HK5195 preparing to leave High Street opposite the Primrose bus garage which is now the MICA centre. We can feel the excitement as they look forward to the great day out.
This would almost certainly be one of the first, if not the first time such an outing would have been undertaken from our school and fortunately headmaster Mr Green entered details of the day in the school log book.
He writes - 19th July 1920. School closed. I took a party of 47 including two assistants and four pupil teachers on an educational journey to London.
We left at 7am and travelled by bus through Tiptree, Kelvedon, Chelmsford, Ongar, Woodford, Tottenham and Holloway to Regent's Park.
About three hours were spent in the Zoological Society's Gardens and then we drove through the streets for about two hours. The return journey was made via Stratford, Ilford, Brentwood, Chelmsford and Heybridge and Meresa was reached at 9.30pm.
Considering the mode of transport and solid tyres this was a marvellous achievement. I'm not sure of the speed that these buses travelled but I recall my Uncle Herbert Green who was one of the original Primrose drivers, telling me how he and another driver took two bus loads of people to Felixstowe and were stopped for speeding. They were fined
£4-10/- each which was more than two weeks wages and hit them hard. I seem to remember he said they were doing something like 18mph when the limit was 15mph.
On the image above, the figure hanging on the back of the bus is Ernie Fenn and the young lad upstairs nearside front is Arthur Death. In the image below, Headmaster Mr Green is the figure on the stairs wearing a trilby hat, and note the wooden chair under the stairs for the conductor.
The driver on that trip was Kenny Thorp who probably took a nap while the party were in the zoo?
Article for Mersea Life, March 2015.