Tuesday, 15 November 2011

What's Happened to Princess Rd Bus Depot

On Monday I borrowed my brother's car. I wanted to go somewhere in South Manchester so drove down Princess Rd. Now ever since I can remember there has been a bus depot in Princess Rd. In fact in 1948 I went to the school, Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial School, that was right next to the bus depot. From time to time our football would get kicked over the wall for the school playground into the depot and I used to go round to collect it. The bus drivers usually made us wait at the entrance while they went and got the ball but now and then we went for it ourselves. So this was the first and as it happens the only enclosed bus depot I have ever been in. It was huge, smelling of oil and full of noise and loads of mysterious machinery and a few buses. Always an exciting place to visit.

So there I was driving down Princess Rd looking out for the big clock tower. Under the clock tower was the original entrance, very high for the trams to get in but by the time I started school the trams had all been taken up to Hyde Rd depot, had petrol poured over them and set on fire. Sad. Past Clarmont Rd and no sign of the clock, I was getting worried, what had happened to it?

I was soon to find out, sadly.

It has been pulled down, demolished, flattened, turned into a pile of rubble to make way for 200 houses. The has school suffered the same fate. Is nothing sacred? Have all the buses been taken up to Hyde Rd depot and set on fire like the poor trams?
PS 62 years after setting foot in Bishop Bilsborrow school I decided to look him up and find out why he had a school named after him. he was Bishop of Salford in the last quater of the 19th century and a strong advocate of eduction for all, rich and poor. He died in Babbacombe in 1903. You learn some thing new every day. (I hope)


Cabbie J said...

Hello David just read this article in the Herald about Elliot from TorbayBusRoutes:


tony /ex busman said...

Everything that used to be at Princess Road Depot is now in a brand new "state of the art" Depot at Sharston.where all the buses are parked outside.(progress)

Anonymous said...

Stagecoach Manchester closed its historic 100-year-old Princess Road bus depot and moved to a new open air depot in Sharston. In door bus depots are athing of the past it seems. The move marks the acquisition of the Moss Side site by Manchester City Council as part of its scheme to regenerate Hulme and Moss Side.

David said...

Thanks to Tony and anon for that info. It would have been nice if the city council could have left the tram entrance and clock tower standing.

Anonymous said...

The clocktower has been dismantled and saved for eventual rebuilding, possibly at Heaton Park Tramway Museum. The smaller artefacts, such as the huge wooden internal depot clock and the original 1908 foundation stone which had been lost and forgotten about since the War when the entrance arch was bricked up has been recently salvaged by the Transport Museum.

Norman from Old Trafford said...

I was at Princess Road 1960-1970 during the transition from the old half cabs to rear engine buses and finally one man operations and from MCTD to SELNEC. The stories one could tell in that 10 years would take a long long time.
I remember that the depot in Wythenshawe had an outside parking area and during the winter months each bus had a steam hose placed into the radiator to stop it freezing during the winter. The open back buses also would be so cold that when passengers finally got on the windows would all steam up.
To eliminate Princess Road seems counter productive. It was a well laid out depot and easy to drive around.It had its own tyre shop, workshop with pits, fuel bowsers which kept the buses always topped up and wash bay. Now to go out from a well placed location in Moss Side to outer Shsrston with outside parking leaving the buses open to the elements and no doubt graffiti attacks seems questionable. Ah well it is supposed to be progress they say.