Pre-War Leyland Cub Central Area
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Notes About This Vehicle

Leyland introduced its Cub chassis in 1931. After its formation in July 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board (LT) acquired one in November 1933 when its then owner, St. Albans & District, came into the new organization. It is not known who built the body of this vehicle.

On these small vehicles the driver also collected the fares. Legislation of the time for one-man-operated buses restricted the number of seats to twenty. Along with the St. Albans Cub, LT inherited a mixture of other such small-capacity vehicles from other operators and manufacturers.

Presumably being impressed with the performance of the Cub chassis, in 1934 LT built a prototype vehicle on one at its Chiswick Works, but with some notable differences to the body design – especially to the front route number and destination blinds. Though the ventilation slots on the bonnet of the St. Albans bus were retained, these were not repeated on the production buses which followed. The resulting bus received the fleet designation C1. It was painted red for the central area and became the model for LT’s standard bus for small capacity services, while the inherited fleet was gradually disposed of.

Following C1 further chassis were bought from Leyland and received similar bodies from Short Brothers. These buses had a front bumper bar, were painted two-tone green for the country area and received numbers C2B to C75B. The ex St. Albans Cub then became C76B. (Country area fleet numbers before the War usually displayed ‘B’ suffixes for bus, and ‘C’ for coach.)

A further 22 were introduced in 1936, this time with bodies supplied by Weymann painted red for the central area. Designated C77 to C98, they were very similar to the country area buses in outward design, though they did not have the front bumper bars. They did however have a prominent route number stencil on both nearside and offside, as was then the usual for the central area.

There were many detail differences between the bodies of the two makers. The earliest by Short Brothers were seemingly built with a 4-hinged emergency door, extending almost to the running board; later ones had a shorter door with only three hinges. Short Brothers’ bodies had running boards extending halfway beneath the emergency exit; those on Weymann bodies were shorter.

The livery and other features are interpreted here in early LT guise, with some particular detail noted from a pair of good press photographs of both sides of central area red C77, though these were taken before entering service and so are not an entirely reliable guide to their working condition. The offside image shows that the ‘LONDON TRANSPORT’ transfer fouled the emergency door and other later photographs show this having been moved rearward to clear it.

C83 is shown here in central area red, when in service between 1936 and 1940 from Barking garage. The blinds showed a via point ‘Mawneys Road’ (as did bus maps at the time) though this was changed to ‘Mawney Road’ a little later after the local authority revised the name.

The last of the central area fleet ran from Hornchurch garage on routes 238 and 252 on 19th July 1949. This was the end of one-man operation in the central area until RFs on 18th November 1964.

Important Notes

Owing to the age of these buses, there are very few colour photographs of them in service and so the application of the livery depicted in this drawing cannot be regarded as definitive. The interpretation of the colour scheme has leaned towards how they were applied to other London Transport vehicles of the time and with as much scrutiny as is practical of about 150 black & white photographs of vary variable quality. It has been particularly difficult to assess black trim and roofs alongside red bodywork; some doubt also surrounds front window frames and driver’s mirror. These features may have varied over the years anyway.

In its restored condition, C94 in the care of the London Transport Museum has a brown roof, though as shown here in pre-war livery, it was probably black.

During their later working lives some Cubs seem to have changed between central and country area livery. Differences between Short Brothers and Weymann bodies also seem to have swapped on some, thus explaining why some Short Brothers bodies lost their front bumpers and some from Weymann gained them.

The photographic record suggests the unladen weight transfers were on the offside until at least May 1936 but by April 1938 were being re-located to the nearside. This almost certainly applied to all LT vehicles of that period.

At that time Metropolitan Stage Carriage licence plates were a mandatory fitment on London buses, trolleybuses and trams. The Cubs carried the oval style of plate that had been introduced by mid 1934, replacing the earlier rectangular ones. The use of these on motorbuses ceased at the start of the War, but continued on trolleybuses and trams.

The bus stop flag is of the square pattern with bronze frame, introduced in about 1938. It is shown mounted on what was later known as the ‘Old Style Concrete Post’.

Notes About This Drawing

This drawing is based on what is probably a Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing, though with a Weymann inscription on it and dated 1937. (There are features on this drawing that only applied to the prototype Chiswick built body on C1.) This type of black & white sketch drawing, as implied by the name, is not intended to define detail but as a specification guide to builders.

About 150 black & white photographs have been examined as well as restored red C94 in the care of the London Transport Museum, and green C4 at Ensignbus.

It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see each part of the vehicle at a truly perpendicular angle. In real life this is of course impossible.

drawing copyright Douglas Rose May 2020
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