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Former Eastern Counties Omnibus Company bus conductor, 92, recalls memories ahead of Norwich Bus Bash fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 13:32 12 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:32 12 August 2017

Sidney Ulph, 92, with his wife Marjorie, 94, who he met when he was a bus conductor, and they have been married 69 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sidney Ulph, 92, with his wife Marjorie, 94, who he met when he was a bus conductor, and they have been married 69 years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

He helped hundreds of workers and shoppers across Norfolk during his nine years as a bus conductor during the 1940s and 1950s.

An employees handbook, bus tickets and timetables, and the Busmen football team, from when Sidney Ulph was a bus conductor with First Eastern Counties from 1946. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY An employees handbook, bus tickets and timetables, and the Busmen football team, from when Sidney Ulph was a bus conductor with First Eastern Counties from 1946. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And ahead of this Sunday’sFirst Eastern Counties charitable Norwich Bus Bash, 92-year-old Sidney Ulph has been reminiscing about his previous career.

The event, in aid of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (EACH) nook appeal, includes vintage bus journeys and the opening up of its Roundtree Way bus depot from 11am-4pm to the public.

Mr Ulph, from Turner Road in Norwich, worked for the former Eastern Counties Omnibus Company - which became First Eastern Counties - from 1946 after four years in the Navy.

He kept his employees handbook, published on May 1, 1941, the Highway Code based on the 1930 Road Traffic Act, two ticket cards, and the timetable from route 29A from Drayton to Norwich - where he met his wife of 69 years.

Sidney Ulph, back row, third right, in the Busmen football team when he was a bus conductor with First Eastern Counties in 1948. Sidney Ulph, back row, third right, in the Busmen football team when he was a bus conductor with First Eastern Counties in 1948.

The Norwich born 92-year-old, who was in his 20s while working for the bus firm, issued tickets for routes throughout the city and across Norfolk.

He said: “It was very enjoyable work and a very enjoyable experience. My favourite route was the 29A because it was used by Marjorie and her family.”

He met her six months after starting with the company.

His future wife, who was 23 at the time, got on the 7.40am Drayton to Norwich bus every morning for her machinist shift in a shoe factory at St Mary’s Works. She caught the 5.30pm bus home.

Bus timetables from First Eastern Counties from around 1948. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Bus timetables from First Eastern Counties from around 1948. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I fancied her and I asked one of the other passengers to ask Marjorie if she would like to go to the pictures with me.”

The couple went to the Regent cinema on Prince of Wales Road and married at Drayton Parish Church on June 5, 1948.

Mr Ulph added: “The buses were very important to people back then. You got to know people on the buses. You picked the same people up and knew where they were going and what they would pay.”

He got the conductor job through his uncle, who worked for bus firm, and felt lucky at the time as jobs were limited after the Second World War.

Sidney Ulph, 92, with an employees handbook, bus tickets and timetables from when he was a bus conductor with First Eastern Counties from 1946. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Sidney Ulph, 92, with an employees handbook, bus tickets and timetables from when he was a bus conductor with First Eastern Counties from 1946. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Ulph, who played with his bus colleagues in a football team mainly at Eaton Park, worked on “plush” double decker Leylands 48 hours a week where tickets ranged from one old penny to two shillings.

EXCERPTS FROM THE 1941 EMPLOYEES’ HANDBOOK

Below are a selection of excerpts from the 1941 Eastern Counties Omnibus Company employees’ handbook.

Undesirable passengers - Passengers under the influence of drink, who are likely to interfere with the comfort of passengers may be refused admittance. Those causing disturbance in the bus may be removed by a police constable.

Uniform - The company’s uniform when provided must be worn and kept neat and tidy. When worn out and upon leaving the service, employees shall return all uniform belonging to the company, and no wages due shall be paid until this has been done. Light flannel trousers must not be worn whilst on duty.

Appearance and behaviour - A clean and neat appearance and politeness are qualities required of the driver and conductor of a public service vehicle at all times.

Smoking - Drivers must not keep cigarettes or parts of cigarettes behind the ear.

NORWICH BUS BASH DETAILS

Guided tours, live demonstrations and photo opportunities will be just some of the family-friendly attractions at the inaugural Norwich Bus Bash.

It is the first time First Eastern Counties has opened its Roundtree Way depot to the public.

One of the main features of the day will be journeys past Norwich landmarks on vintage buses dating back to the 1950s.

The day, including bus trips, is free but donations can be made to the EACH nook appeal.

Launched two years ago, the appeal is raising £10m for a new facility at Framingham Earl, Norfolk, which will replace the charity’s Quidenham base.

One of the heritage vehicles used for the special routes is a 1959 Bristol MW5G, known as the LS789.

It operated express coach services from Norfolk across the country but was brought out of service in 1976.

Visit www.firstgroup.com/Norfolk-Suffolk

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