Mancunian tribute

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Three Mancunians parked together for the first time in 30 years. CHRIS NEWTON











Nick Larkin reports on a special get-together at Manchester’s Museum of Transport

Not only did the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester manage to get three legendary ‘Mancunian’ double-deckers together for the first time in 30 years recently, but also the vehicle’s designer! A total of 492 Mancunians were built on Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline, Park Royal, East Lancs, MCW and Roe chassis, being delivered to Manchester Corporation and its successor, SELNEC, from 1968-1972.

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They were originally in a new corporation red and white livery, before switching to SELNEC orange. The Mancunian was the first double-decker designed with one-person operation in mind. Features included a large glass area, deep windscreens, roof glazing and a centre staircase. Many of the Mancunian’s features would later be incorporated into SELNEC’s own standard bus.

The man behind the Mancunian’s design, Ken Mortimer, was a particularly welcome guest at the Manchester Museum of Transport’s gathering of the three Mancunians. Ken happily chatted with museum staff and visitors, as well as answering questions and reuniting himself himself with his creations.

Museum spokesman Paul Williams said: “Ken Mortimer’s name should be up there with the great industrial designers who pushed the boundaries against tradition and inertia to create great transport icons. The Mancunian is the only bus in our collection that people put their hands out for at bus stops. Ken, we salute you!”

The Mancunians present were HVM 901F, the first example and part of the museum’s collection; RNA 236J, owned by the Telford Bus Group for many years; and the SELNEC Preservation Society’s newly restored NNB 589H. Regular and valued Industry Heritage correspondent Chris Newton, who kindly supplied the photo of the three buses said: “I made the trip to the museum especially to get this photograph and I wasn’t disappointed. The buses all looked stunning and
are a credit to all involved who have helped restore them to their former glory.”

Ken became the design head for Greater Manchester Transport. His department’s 1982 Design Manual is available as a download from the museum’s online shop, and Ken has written a foreword to introduce it.

Mancunian designer Ken Mortimer. GMTS