Childhood memories of the coach station

A Southdown Leyland coach about to leave for London, summer 1967A Southdown Leyland coach about to leave for London, summer 1967
From the private collection of Martin Nimmo

‘Kind’ and ‘angry’ engines

Each summer an aunt and uncle would come to stay with us from London via Southdown coach. We would go and meet them in the coach station in Steine Street. I was between three and six years old at the time. At that age I would identify different buses and coaches by their wheels, and I would even give them my own made-up names. Most of them, the Leylands, made a ‘kind’ noise, but there was one type which made an ‘angry’ noise, these had more chrome in the centre of the wheel.

Do you remember travelling on a Southdown coach? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.

Engines to be wary of

If I saw one of these coaches come in I would stand back as it seemed to be the practice in those days, to rev up just before cutting off the engine. I later discovered that these ‘angry’ coaches were different, made by Commers, and had two stroke oil engines. Many years later I came to use a two stroke oil engine, it would sometimes start up backwards, giving three reverse gears and one forwards. Needless to say, these types of engine were feared by man and boy alike

Comments about this page

  • When I was a kid in the 40s and 50s, as Chris did, we met relations from London at the Southdown coach station in Steine Street. We also sometimes went to London by coach instead of by train. I remember the halfway house on the way to London which was somewhere in Crawley where we would all traipse off the coach and have a call of nature and a cup of tea and usually a bun or something. I don’t remember Southdown having many noisy engines just mainly big old Gardeners that were work horses. The noisy engines Chris refers to were Commer TS3 two stroke diesels. I have driven many Commer lorries with the TS3 and absolutely loved the roar of the engines. When I worked at the Brighton Municipal market as a driver I had the joy of driving a six wheeler. Sometimes they would decoke themselves when they were under strain, I actually saw this one night as I was coming up School Hill in Lewes looking in the shop windows as the lorry was slugging up the hill there were flames and all sorts of fiery things going on under the lorry. Apparently this was a normal thing for them. Lovely cabs compared to the other motors on the road at the times, good looking sort of American style layout.

    By Mick Peirson (21/09/2014)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.