The Missing Town

I’d seen the advert pinned up for it at Whiteman’s, of course. But I’d nicely forgotten that on a trip to Manchester I’d purchased a copy of Curtis & Walker (2007), “Bristol Omnibus Services: the Green Years”, from Ian Allan. I’d given it to my wife for safe keeping till Christmas Day. At least one of us remembered—and it wasn’t me.

Several browses latter and I can safely say that the £20 investment in Curtis & Walker was a good one. It’s risen to my second favourite Bristol book. (It would be unfair to include Stroud’s Buses in this list, of course, though I’d like to).

1948 BTCC cover - notice anything missing?

The image on the rear of Curtis & Walker is a gem. It’s a scan of a BTCC country timetable, dated 1 January 1950. As the picture accompanying this post shows, above, it was a design featured in the late 1940s. It shows the main towns then served. Has anyone spotted the town that’s missing?

It’s Stroud, of course.

At the time BTCC produced this graphic, Bristol was still a minority player in the Five Valleys. Though this was to change dramatically in 1950, it was either Western National or Red & White operated virtually all Stroud routes.

BTCC crept into Stroud from Gloucester via Painswick or Stonehouse, and Cheltenham, and on to Nailsworth. That was it. From the perspective of the traffic department siting in Bristol’s “chief office” at St Augustine’s Place, there was no need to recognise Stroud. Stroud simply didn’t play an important enough part in the grand scheme of things.

How it showed. And how it would change.

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