LUPTS 50th anniversary reunion:   
3/4/5 October 2008   

 

 

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   Report (by Jonathan Cadwallader)

The weekend that had been chosen to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society fortuitously coincided with the final visit of the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 to Liverpool. On the evening of Friday 3rd October, BBC Northwest Tonight used one of my photos of her arriving in the Mersey, taken from Crosby Beach, as a backdrop to their weather forecast. So, having enjoyed the approval of Dianne Oxberry and Gordon Burns, I later joined approximately 10 members gathered at Seacombe Ferry to view the ship departing from the Liverpool Cruise Terminal at 22.00, to the accompaniment of foghorn and fireworks. A splendid start to the weekend!  


A mock up of the backdrop to the evening weather on Northwest Tonight on Friday 3 October, showing the QE2 passing Crosby en route to Pier Head earlier in the day. Original Photo: Jonathan Cadwallader, mock up by Charles Roberts


The ex-St Helens Regent V, having just performed a difficult manoeuvre because of roadworks at the Brownlow Hill/Mount Pleasant junction, waits to depart with the LUPTS party aboard. Photo: Jonathan Cadwallader

The following morning the party gathered from 11.30 at the University for the start of the main day of celebrations. I had arranged for the preserved former St. Helens Corporation 135, an AEC Regent V, to transport us during the afternoon to the North West Museum of Road Transport and to the Windmill Farm Railway. Departure from outside the Students’ Union building on Mount Pleasant at 12.00 was complicated slightly by the commencement of road works at the junction with Brownlow Hill a few days earlier, but after a three point turn a prompt departure was made. 

The crew were reluctant to take the bus through Page Moss on the direct A57 route to St. Helens, owing to hostile action by locals on a previous occasion. I was not keen on their idea of using the M62, but left the driver to come up with his own Page Moss avoiding route. I was pre-occupied with collecting financial contributions during the first half hour of the journey, but did have time to notice our rather curious progress via Edge Hill, Smithdown Road, Wavertree, Childwall Fiveways and Queen’s Drive, before finally heading along the East Lancashire Road. This gave the opportunity for some to reminisce about the location of old student “digs” of the non-archaeological variety as well as recall visits to Hattons model shop, although it did lead to a 15 minute delay to our arrival in St. Helens.  


Widnes 39 was bought by a group of LUPTS members in the 1960s.  Memorably, the 1968 agm expressed the wish that “... the vehicle would in time provide transport for LUPTS activities”.   Forty years on, some restoration work is taking place. Photo: Jonathan Cadwallader


The LUPTS tour bus outside the St Helens Transport Museum. Photo: Richard Pearson


One from the archives for comparison - Widnes 39 at the St Helens Jubilee Rally on 28 September 1969, the only rally it ever attended. Photo: Alan Murray-Rust


Inside St Helens Transport Museum, the LUPTS party poses in front of St Helens trolleybus 387.   In its later guise as Bradford 799, it was used for a LUPTS tour of that city’s trolleybus system on 15 March 1970. Photo: Paul Hollingurst

The North West Museum of Road Transport is located in the former tram and later bus depot in Hall Street, near the town centre. It recently re-opened following an enforced closure of several years due to the condition of the roof. One Heritage Lottery Fund grant later and the leaks have been stopped. The LUPTS party were able to spend over an hour browsing the impressive collection of buses gathered from North West England and beyond, as well as taking a short guided visit to the normally closed workshop area. This part of the building had not been included in the refurbishment programme and it is to be hoped that it can be upgraded soon. One particularly interesting bus to be found undergoing an engine rebuild was former Widnes 39, a 1935 Leyland Lion LT7. In its later life it was used as a towing vehicle, before being purchased by several LUPTS members in 1963. Amongst their number were Alan Murray-Rust and Brian Faragher, who were thus able to reacquaint themselves with 39. Following a group photo in front of St. Helens trolleybus 387, on loan from Sandtoft, I encouraged everyone back onto 135 for a slightly late departure. 

The collection of 15” gauge railway equipment amassed by Austin Moss at the Windmill Farm Railway is considerable. I can’t profess to know much about miniature railways, but I can appreciate the value of the work that he and his supporters have carried out in saving so many items of rolling stock. The line first opened in 1997 and is now 3/4 mile long. A number of the LUPTS party had visited the site in 2002, following the Sunday lunch of a Bus Tour Weekend, but to many it was a new experience. We took our places for a return trip to the outer terminus, Lakeview, where a pond and picnic area have been established. The engine shed and workshop were then comprehensively griced before some of the group made friends with a few goats and a llama that form part of the farm attractions. The belated discovery of the tea room by some of the party meant that I had to crack a metaphorical whip to get them all back on to 135 for a 15 minutes late departure. 


The LUPTS party await the arrival of the special train on the Windmill Farm Railway.  Photo: Jonathan Cadwallader


Charles Roberts, Graham Roberts and Dave Parker (the latter adorned in the legendary ‘Garston’ the pullover) make the acquaintance of some of the non-transport exhibits at Windmill Farm. Photo: Jonathan Cadwallader


The LUPTS TOUR headboard, believed to date from 1969, adorns the loco at Windmill Farm. Photo: Jonathan Cadwallader


Evening entertainment - LUPTS members and guests mill round awaiting the arrival of the sumptuous buffet. Photo: Paul Hollinghurst

Our progress on the A59 back to Liverpool and the University was slower than I had anticipated, with the result that 135 pulled into the bus stop outside the Victoria Building at 17.25 rather than the planned 17.00. A hurried goodbye and thanks to the crew was followed by a quick dash for cover as the threatened rain had arrived. I had allowed quite a lot of time for the party to consume the buffet whilst chatting in the splendidly restored Leggate Theatre, so we were still able to start the evening’s entertainment on schedule at 18.45. I read out a letter that I had received from the new Vice-Chancellor, Sir Howard Newby, welcoming LUPTS members and stressing how much the University valued continued contact with alumni. Charles Roberts read a letter from Professor J. Allan Patmore, the first LUPTS President, who, although unable to join us, sent his best wishes. A list of other members who had sent apologies for their absence was displayed on the projector screen. It was also time to thank Sir Neil Cossons, a founder member who was also unable to attend the event, but through whose influence we had been granted the use of the theatre.

I had asked several members to give 15 minute illustrated presentations about their time as student members of LUPTS, choosing speakers of varying ages in order to  cover as much of the period from 1958 to 1991 as possible. Charles Roberts started the programme, followed in turn by Alan Murray-Rust, Mark Telfer, Martin Jenkins, David Ventry and Alan Atkinson. This approach seemed to be well received. Photographs of places visited by members brought back memories to us all, as did some of the anecdotes about unexpected events, be they the consequences of a loose coupling on the White Moss Peat Railway in Simonswood, an impromptu bus tour around Bourne, Lincolnshire, or the driving of a tram through the streets of Glasgow. I had requested shots that showed LUPTS members enjoying visits if possible and was pleased to find that many such pictures exist. Some were taken on the traditional Wednesday afternoon visits, but others were from trips further afield, on weekends or at the end of a term. The longer trips frequently employed road vehicles of dubious quality, culled from a variety of sources, including the infamous fleet of Guild minibuses. In later years, of course, the annual bus tour was the event that resulted in many group photographs and a few of those shots were shown. The presentations were enhanced in many cases by Charles converting original photographs to digital form and adding introductory sequences.  To add to the slides, before the interval we viewed some splendid 8mm film taken by Brian Faragher of society trolleybus tours and Doxford Shipyard and by Peter Stoddart of local transport and a riotous rag parade! After the break Dave Parker introduced the DVD of an 8mm film shot by himself and his father, Len, on the occasion of LUPTS taking former Ribble PD3/5 1775 to Welshpool, where we hired a train on the W & L L R to celebrate 25 years of the society. Quite a number of the audience were able to recognise themselves and the hairstyles of yesteryear on screen. 


Martin Jenkins shamelessly plugs Online Transport Archive and the book which he and Jonathan are in the process of writing. Photo: Paul Hollinghurst


Alan Atkinson in full flow. Photo: Paul Hollinghurst

A slight overrun in the proceedings and a confusion about the time that the building security staff were leaving led to me having to rush through my section, telling of what LUPTS had meant to me and of the continuing influence it has on the lives of all those present. Many of the evening’s speakers mentioned the camaraderie that they valued throughout their time as students and in the years since. Apart from my own gratitude for the many good friendships I made during 17 years of attending meetings, most of which have endured to this day, I know that others also place great value on this continuing legacy of LUPTS. Social gatherings, whether they be a few friends in a pub on a Saturday night (an almost weekly event if you are in the Merseyside area,) or the annual bus tour, have resulted in members who attended the University years apart becoming friends, sharing holidays, buying buses, writing books and even, indirectly, getting married. Though not to each other! Long may the influence of LUPTS continue.

The Wirral Bus and Tram Show took place on Sunday 5th October and I suggested that members might like to gather at the Taylor Street terminus of the Birkenhead Heritage Tramway at 13.45. Although it was not possible to arrange a dedicated trip for members, about 20 of us enjoyed a return trip to Woodside in Lisbon tram 730, with “LUPTS TOUR” showing on the blind display, thanks to Mike Mercer of the MTPS. After perusing the other trams, buses and sales stands there was a final chat over a cup of tea in the Pacific Road shed before we all went our separate ways. 


The LUPTS party at Woodside on the Sunday afternoon after travelling from Taylor Street aboard restored Lisbon car 730. Photo: Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive (CCR38807)

I would like to thank Claire Jones and the other University staff, Paul Holmes and the museum volunteers for his Regent V, Austin Moss and Mike Mercer. Particular thanks are due to Charles, the two Alans, Mark, Brian, Peter, Dave, Martin and David for their contributions to the evening entertainment.

Jonathan Cadwallader

 

   Attendees and apologies for absence

 

The following people attended some or all of the reunion event:

o                                Alan Atkinson (Chairman 1970/71, President 1973-85)

o                                Jean Atkinson

o                                David Armstrong (Honorary Member) 

o                                Jonathan Cadwallader (Chairman 1976/77, President 1985-91)

o                                David Cope (Chairman 1980-81) + Janice Cope

o                                Alan Day

o                                Paul Desmet

o                                Brian Faragher (Secretary 1963/64)

o                                John Forrester (Chairman 1975/76)

o                                John Fraser 

o                                Adrian Humpage (Secretary 1990/91, Chairman Elect 1991/92)

o                                Martin Jenkins (Founder Member, Chairman 1958-61)

o                                Tim Jenkins (Chairman 1989-91)

o                                Tom Kane (Secretary 1974/75)

o                                Tony Kletz

o                                David Lockyer

o                                Andrew Lowe (Honorary Member)

o                                Rob Marsh + Mick Marsh

o                                Alan Murray-Rust (Journal Editor 1966/67 and 1969/70)

o                                Keith Nason (Chairman 1984/85) + Emma Walsh

o                                Dave Parker (Treasurer 1981/82)

o                                Tom Parkinson (Founder Member)

o                                Richard Pearson (Treasurer 1977/78)

o                                Chris Poole (Treasurer 1980/81)

o                                Steve Poole (Treasurer 1968-70)

o                                David Richards

o                                Alan Roberts (Treasurer 1982/83)

o                                Charles Roberts (Chairman 1981/82)

o                                Graham Roberts

o                                John Robertson (Chairman 1982/83)

o                                John Ryan (Founder Member, Secretary 1958-60)

o                                Geoff Smith (Chairman 1963/64)

o                                Peter Stoddart (Founder Member, Asst Journal Editor 1960/61)

o                                Mark Telfer (Chairman 1985/86) + Wendy Telfer

o                                Graham Unwin (Chairman 1986/87)

o                                David Ventry (Secretary 1975/76) + Moira Ventry

o                                Andrew Wither 

 

Apologies for absence were received from:

o                                Frank Atherley (Founder Member, Treasurer 1958/59)

o                                Chris Bennett (Founder Member, Treasurer 1959-61)

o                                Peter Burton (Founder Member, Committee member 1958/59)

o                                Neil Cossons (Founder Member, Journal Editor 1960/61)

o                                Simon Dunn (Treasurer 1984-86)

o                                Brian Dutton

o                                Tony Henry

o                                Ian Holt (Chairman 1965/66)

o                                Chris Knowles (Honorary Member)

o                                Rob McCaffrey (Chairman 1979/80)

o                                Ian McLaughlin (Chairman 1977/78)

o                                Allan Patmore (President 1958-73)

o                                Bryan Pyne (Chairman 1964/65)

o                                Nick Richardson (Journal Editor 1982/83)

o                                Ray Walkington

o                                Anthony Warren

o                                Roland Williams (Chairman 1983/84)

o                                Matthew Williamson

o                                Ian Winfieldale (Treasurer 1978-80)

o                                Peter White (Journal Editor 1970/71)

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