Coach firm celebrates 100th anniversary

Eight-year-old event visitor Bailey Thorpe on board a Southdown N type bus from 1922. PPP-151206-145529002

Eight-year-old event visitor Bailey Thorpe on board a Southdown N type bus from 1922. PPP-151206-145529002

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BUSES past and present gathered on Southsea seafront to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous bus and coach company Southdown.

The event, which was organised jointly by the Southdown 100 group and bus operator Stagecoach, was attended by thousands of visitors, including families, industry figures and transport enthusiasts, with some travelling from Scotland and France.

More than 150 preserved buses and coaches provided one of the best collections of Southdown vehicles in one display.

The oldest vehicles exhibited included a Leyland N type from 1922 and a Leyland Titan TD1 from 1929.

Other vehicles came from as far afield as Taunton, Birmingham, and Wales.

Visitors travelled on many of the classic buses to various locations around the city, including Gunwharf Quays.

Stagecoach’s regional managing director, Andrew Dyer, was joined by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas and former Southdown employees, including Richard Alexander, Thomas Jardine, and Paul Southgate at a ceremonial cake cutting to mark the 100th Anniversary.

Andrew Dyer said ‘We were graced with such great weather for what was a truly marvellous event to mark the 100th anniversary.

‘It was a day stacked with fun memories travelling on the old buses and a chance for our younger generation to experience some time travel.

Southdown Motor Services was formed in 1915 and operated from a number of depots across Sussex and South East Hampshire with an operating area which stretched from Hastings in the East to Southampton in the west and as far north as East Grinstead, Horsham, and Crawley.

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