Vintage Bus


Ride the vintage bus at Open Gardens. A former Eastern Counties single decker bus dating from 1949 will be plying the streets of our delightful ‘walker friendly’ historic town on both Saturday and Sunday to get you within easy reach of most of the beautiful Gardens open for your appreciation and enjoyment over this very special weekend in Eye’s calendar.

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“The Bus is my very favourite thing over the weekend, you can go round and round all day!”


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BODY NO: 4649

1950 Bristol L5G 35 seat saloon with ECW bodywork and Gardner 5LW oil engine.

Vehicle owned and fully restored to original 1950s condition by Patrick Burnside of Eye, Suffolk.

Rescued for preservation from Trevor Murray, a Kessingland motor trader in November 1984.

Restoration completed in September 1988.

Photo taken in the early 1960s at the top of Norwich, Surrey Street Bus Station.

Photo taken in the early 1960s at the top of Norwich, Surrey Street Bus Station.

Post war half cab Bristol L, LL and LWL type saloons were once very numerous throughout the Company’s operating area before the days of ‘one man operation’ which sadly witnessed their ultimate demise in the late 1960s.

LL 711 was one of a final batch of four 35 seat Bristol L5G saloons delivered to the company in July 1950 and was initially allocated to Norwich’s Surrey Street depot, where it is known that she often operated the early morning service 33 from Pilson Green to Norwich, Woodside Estate, where her number was changed to a 94, continuing via the city centre to South Tuckswood. A service she would remain on for the rest of the day.

It is also known that she was out-stationed in the border market town of Harleston during the late 1950s, where she operated the railway replacement Beccles to Tivetshall service 71 via Bungay, Harleston and the Pulhams.

However, during the greater part of the 1960s decade, she was allocated to the remote out-station of Northwold, a west Norfolk village close to the fenland border. Whilst there, she quickly became a very familiar performer on the long distance stage carriage route 15, a picturesque rural route which ran from Norwich to Downham Market via Hingham, Watton, Northwold, Methwold and Stoke Ferry.

Ultimately, she was transferred to King’s Lynn depot in the winter of 1967, where she worked the local town services 38 and 39 until she was finally retired from passenger carrying service in January 1968.

Apart from having her front destination indicator modified to a three track number and single line display around 1963, she remained largely original throughout her service life with the Company.

It is interesting to note that LL 711 was the last 27’ 6” x 7’ 6” half cab saloon to operate for Eastern Counties and was withdrawn in 1968 after seventeen and a half years of sterling passenger carrying service.

Subsequent history
After leaving Eastern Counties service, she passed to Ben Jordan, motor dealer, of Coltishall, Norfolk who quickly sold her to Simplex Switchgear Manufacturers of Sawston, Cambridgeshire, where she received an all over green livery and was operated as a factory workers’ bus for an amazing seven and a half years!

Upon withdrawal from Simplex, she passed via a Great Yeldham motor dealer to John Bemrose, a Lowestoft preservationist who kept her at the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville. Later, she was sold to Trevor Murray, a Kessingland motor trader, who kept her firstly, near his home at Sotterley near Beccles, Suffolk, later moving her to a yard adjacent to his motor business in Kessingland a year or so later.

Finally, she was acquired by her present owner in November 1984 who carried out a full restoration which was completed in time for the September 1988 Norwich Bus Rally at the Royal Norfolk Showground. Since this time she has attended many rallies, shows, museum open days and classic bus running days throughout the Eastern

Counties area and beyond from Lincoln in the north to Southend and Canvey Island in the south, winning many awards along the way!

Interestingly, LL 711 has featured in a film called ‘How’s Business’, a story of a soldier returning from the 2nd World War, made by the Children’s Film Unit based at Battersea in London. Filming took place at Clare, Suffolk during the summer of 1991.

Thank you to Patrick Burnside for supplying all the information, you can view more at his website: