Kingston upon Hull Trolleybuses Sorry, sold out.......
By Malcolm Wells
This is another full British trolleybus system history, which took several years to thoroughly research, write and publish. At the time not everyone had a home PC and handwritten manuscripts and addenda needed typing out! This is the story of the backbone of a town on Britain's eastern coast's municipal transport system.
Told within 136 pages of a softbound A4-sized book, with full-colour laminated card cover, there are three rather well-chosen colour sections, together accounting for 13 inside colour illustrations, which, plus the four on the cover, adequately capture the essential flavour of the Hull trolleybus system by themselves on several counts. Firstly, they gently remind us that apart from the 16 famous Coronations delivered with one-manning in mind (and years ahead of their time) that there were 100 trolleybuses before them, of the more traditional type, all two-axle, which included Leylands and Crossleys before the War, ubiquitous Sunbeam W utilities during the war and afterwards; and some Sunbeam F4s, ten 7ft. 6in. wide and ten 8ft. 0in. wide, quite attractively bodied by Roe at the end of austerity. Secondly, the streamlined livery, white droops and swoops on prussian blue, which was part of the trolleybus story in Hull, from its beginning to its end; Thirdly, the big route numbers, which conveyed to the locals everything they needed to know, viz., which traffic artery they traversed Chantelands Avenue, Newland Avenue, Beverley Road, Holderness Road, Anlaby Road or Hessle Road; and, Fourthly, Hull's famous level crossings. Although hilly terrain will demonstrate a particularly useful facet of the trolleybus, Hull was flat and particularly plagued with railway level crossings. Latterly, these played havoc with traffic congestion and the running of a bus service to time. But, otherwise, Hull's traffic arteries and the dense housing streets off them were just the sort of environment on which trolleybuses in Britain thrived the best.
We know that no available stone was left unturned during the preparation of this book, the result of which is that the end product could be regarded as a role model of the sort of product that is achievable by anyone with a will to achieve the best. Whilst the chronological history is well told against a properly-appreciated social history of life in Hull, many of the Appendices have been hailed as masterpieces in their own right; and as models which other authors might care to note. Some of the statistical information is, even today, of immense value in certain quarters. But the book is also drawn together by 106 monotone photographs, a small part of a truly magnificent collection by the author that he has managed to find to illustrate some special occurrence or simply to illustrate some nostalgically typical day-to-day sight. Hull people, it turns out, are fairly nostalgic of their trolleybuses and wish they hadn't disappeared without trace. Malcolm Wells, brought up in Hull and still living relatively locally, continues to find more archive material and contributory data from some most unlikely sources.
Total weight: 695g. id - GB17.