Fill ’er up guv – a tankful of your finest steam water please

Former Park's delivery driver George Sessions
Former Park's delivery driver George Sessions
Lord Mayor Alex Bentley and Tony the Tiger. PPP-180619-094155006

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Red-hot riders pedal their way to the city

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Agood friend of mine, Brian Sessions, lent me these two photographs of his late father George.

George worked for Park’s removals about which I have included several pictures lately.

George Sessions in later life when he drove buses for the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department

George Sessions in later life when he drove buses for the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department

Brian remembers his father telling him they used to deliver as far afield as Cornwall using a Foden truck and he was away from home for the best part of a week.

The Foden was a steam truck and according to George they used to stop next to a stream to fill up with water to replenish the boiler – at least it was cheaper than petrol.

In the photo on the right George poses in front of his lorry about 1930. He lived at 121, Balfour Road,Portsmouth. In later life he became a Portsmouth bus driver.

In 1956 he was told of better opportunities in Nottingham and he moved the whole family, less Brian who was married, up to the midlands where they remained.

William Brown's delivery van. 'Draper' must have meant much more in those days with lino on sale as well.

William Brown's delivery van. 'Draper' must have meant much more in those days with lino on sale as well.

Barry Cox tells me the bus is one of a batch of Leyland PD2 buses delivered in 1956.

They had 56-seat bodywork and many survived well into the 1970s.

A few were converted into open-toppers for summer services.Some still survive and might be on show in Portchester.

n A draper was a person who sold British and imported cloth, especially linen from Ireland.

William Brown had a store that ran across 28, 30 & 32 London Road, North End. The telephone number was a quaint 4978.

It appears from the roof advert on top of the van (picture, facing page) that he also sold linoleum. Who remembers the days before wall-to-wall fitted carpets when all rooms had was a central carpetwhile around the edges was lino, to which the word was abbreviated. Lovely days.

It appears drapery was a lucrative trade. A draper’s assistant could earn enough to have a large family and own a house.

n On Sunday, June 25, there is an open day at the Wicor Mill preserved bus depot at Cranleigh Road, Portchester. It will be open from 10.30am until 4pm.

For all bus enthusiasts it will be a superb day out. There will be free bus rides all day long with a non-obligatory donation.

Parking is scarce in that vicinity so only disabled parking please. Drivers should park in Portchester and board a free bus that departs from the Red Lion bus stop to the site. More information from Nigel Appleford on Chairman@cpptd.co.uk.