Book reviews: Two new releases from Venture Publications

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Andy Izatt reviews two new releases from Venture Publications

A Lifetime on the Buses

New from Venture Publications, priced £20, is ‘A Lifetime on the Buses’ by Jim Sambrooks. [wlm_nonmember][…]

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A native of Sunderland, Jim’s 48-year industry career encompassed working for London Transport in its country area, London Country, Doncaster Corporation, South Yorkshire PTE, Blue Line, Armthorpe Motor Company, Leon Motor Services, Wilfreda Beehive, Yorkshire Traction, Stagecoach and First at Doncaster, the city where he first started driving buses for the corporation back in 1973.

Prior to that, he’d been a fitter – a richly varied career with some very different employers. Jim has been involved with The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft over many years and continues to be so.

This is one man’s personal story told eloquently and with passion and humour. He rightly says at the end: “I’ve seen many changes,” pointing out that, “once buses were maintained up to a standard not down to a price. Passengers were king and we looked after them.” I think he felt the industry had become a very different place by the time he retired in 2014.

Bullocks Coaches, comfort as standard

Also from Venture Publications is ‘Bullocks Coaches, comfort as standard,’ a well illustrated tribute by Carl Jarman to the well-known Cheadle operator to mark its 90 years of service. It’s priced at £20.

While pictures of vehicles take centre stage, there are numerous personal touches that give the reader an insight into the people who ran and worked for the company. They include driver Tony MacLaughlin’s tribute to Geoff Bullock who died in 2003. “A great boss, but more importantly a decent and nice guy,” he says. The reproduction of fascinating documents and brochures also all add to the story.

“I should imagine that there are very few people in Cheadle and the surrounding area that have not travelled at some time on a Bullocks coach,” says the author in his introduction. Rightly, he lets Operations Manager Clare Bullock, the only one of the fourth generation of the family to work full-time in the business, have the final word.

“We need to be proactive and not reactive,” says Clare, adding later: “If other family members don’t want to get involved with the family business then perhaps we have to bring in good managers with good incentives. Who knows what the future holds. It’s a difficult one.” It’s a dilemma that many operators will be familiar with.