Optare worked alongside the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group recently to celebrate the opening of the new Charles Henry Roe Wetherspoons in Crossgates, Leeds.
Charles Henry Roe first started building buses in Leeds in 1920, moving to Cross Gates in 1921, where vehicles continued to be built through Park Royal, Leyland and back into private ownership as Optare until 2011, when the company moved to its current purpose-built factory in Sherburn.
Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group, a not-for-profit organisation which cares for several historic buses built at the factory, suggested to JD Wetherspoon that its forthcoming pub could be named after Charles, which was agreed. Although delayed by the pandemic, the pub has now opened, with a vehicle procession that included a representative vehicle of the final Charles H Roe order from 1984, an early Optare vehicle from 1986, and an Optare Metrodecker EV fresh off the production line for First York.
A spokesperson for Optare said: “We were delighted to be invited by the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group to support this event. With over a century of innovation beginning with Charles Roe, it is great to see Charles Henry Roe being commemorated at a site close to the original factory in Cross Gates.”
James Fairchild of Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group said: “We are pleased to collaborate with both Wetherspoons and Optare to look back at the past while at the same time promoting the bus as a viable post-lockdown form of safe transport for all.
“We had originally planned to hold some form of centenary event this year, but we are now hoping that spring 2021, 100 years since coachbuilding started in Cross Gates, can be celebrated, with the modern-day Optare and other industry partners playing a key role and other heritage organisations around the country attending with their historic Leeds-built buses.”
Eddie Gershon, spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon added: “We strive to commemorate historical individuals in the name of our pubs. The Charles Henry Roe is a very apt name for our pub in Cross Gates and we commend the Transport Yorkshire Preservation Group for bringing Mr Roe’s achievements to our attention.”