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Dorothy Dodson wrote under MISC about her trips to Rhyl; this sparked my memories of trips on Flight's Coaches to such places, including BLackpool. Flight's in the 60's were a relatively small concern operating out of a garage on Victoria Road. Look at them now !
Yes I remember Flights, i remember before we were married, we would go on a Sunday Night mystery tour, i seem to remember that it would be about 3/- for the two of us.
I never did get my head round the fact that it was a mystery tour, and i would say to Bill - "but where are we going?" He just looked - he's always had that look.
However, when we were kids, the chap who lived up the entry a couple of doors up from us, was named Mr Smallman and he used to drive a Flights Charra, his son Raymond was one of our hoppos, and when his dad used to come home for his, dinner? we would all pile on to the charra - and have a rare old time, until Mr Smallman came down the entry, and with a few choice words and flailing arms and hands would chuck us off his charra.
Another little story, a couple of years ago, we went on a 5 day trip to Bournemouth with our local coach company, Voels (note, not charra anymore). And there was a Flights coach party in the same hotel. It seemed really weird hearing all those Brummie accents again. But i digress; the one day their driver went off without a couple of his passengers, and as our party were going on a day trip, our driver offered them a place on ours. Our driver was your common or garden Scouser, smashing bloke - and he introduced them as refugees from Flights, all good fun. We had a lovely day, and if they should read this...I hope they enjoyed their day and our company.
I remember 'Andy's', went to Blackpool on one in the early 60's When I worked at Wimbush Bakery Little Green Lane. Also went on a day out to Kettering (A fun park) with the Nechells Community Centre when it first started in Melvina Rd around 1958-9ish. I think all these facts are right! I did do the trips though and had a great time on both, 8) that I do remember correctly.
Hi Frantic, I hope that i didn't confuse you in saying that we had a Scouse driver, he wasn't the Flights chap, but ours from our local coach company Voels.
But, Chris, Andys coaches, i think we did go on their tours/trips? yonks ago. Seem to remember going to Rhyl once, to Sunny Sands Holiday camp (it's still there).
We also went to Westward Ho Holiday camp, before we were married, it was a Co-op camp, so dont know if they were Co-op coaches - but we went from Vauxhall. On our last day, we bought this record of Anne Shelton singing 'Come to the Station' she was the top of the 'hit parade' with it. How sad could we be in those days? Anyway i digress, i was really careful with this record which was 78rpm and very very breakable, looked after it like a baby, and when we got to Vauxhall stood up to get my jacket from the overhead rack, the coach lurched, i sat down - end of record (i can truly say that i was record breaker that day)
Billy Anderton was the owner of Andy,s coaches, they had a slogan on the back of the charras, "travel the Andy way", i often heard the expression, "travel the Andy way, come back in the family way" , don,t know how true it was :wink:. Also do you remember the original coach company, Claribels in Wainwright st Aston, that was started by Ronnie Lees?
I don't recall Claribels of Wainright Street, but we have Claribel private buses on the routes I use, i.e. 92, 93, 94 and 55, these mainly run from Chelmsley Wood and Castle Bromwich area into the city, and you can use your bus pass on them. Is this company descended from the original coash company?
J Hogarth...I seem to recall now that Andys coaches were a bit traumatic if you happened to be a longer distance passenger (Well was Weston S Mare long distance?) Yes i remember now, my mum and dad booked Andys on a weekly return to W S M, and even in the late 50s it really wasn't that far.
They were due back about 5pm on the Saturday, and eventually arrived worn out and bedraggled at about 11.30pm vowing "Never Again!" The coach had broken down about 6 times and the last time, it was considered beyond repair, and they and all the other passengers had to wait for another 'Andys' coach to go out and rescue them, and it seems that the rescue coach had broken down on the way to them. It was pouring with rain and they were all thoroughly cheesed off. Have to say that was not the exact description that my dad used but.....
Sylvia i do seem to remember Claribels as well from our younger days, but are they a new phenomena around the CB, Chelmsley Wood, Shard End area? I do remember that there were a few private buses when the free for all started with WMPT buses ...but they were all rather basic. Ahhhh those were the days. We're lucky to see a regular bus round here, but then i really dont rely them at the moment. But the day will come....
As far as i,m aware, Claribels of today are descendant of the old company, in their days they had double deckers among the fleet as well as coaches, to jog your memory , Claribels were situated right opposite Thompsons pork butchers, just behind a petrol station/ tyre company where i used to work. Talking of long distant coach travel, in 1963 me and my intended went to Brixham in Devon with Stockland coaches, took us 9 hours , and that was through the night , must have been foggy or something :?
Up until relatively recently (maybe five years ago) Flights depot was on the corner of Soho Road and Alfred Road in Handsworth. Long before they moved they were operating ing the package holiday business - a long way from their humble beginnings.
Out of interest, I have done a Google search but have not been able to find them. Does anyone know if they're still in business? It would be a shame if they have finished trading as they always provided an efficient service with a fleet of vehicles maintained to unbeatable standards.
Frantic, was that the same John Collier with "the window to watch"? :wink:
i worked for flights for a time in the early 80's and am a bit of an anorak with buses and stuff
they were started by Frank Flight in the early 1920's on Victoria Road where they ran a garage and taxi business. Over the years they expanded and had a car dealership as well as travel agents and coaches.
In the early 70's they sold out to Bowens.
Ken Flight then started up again on Soho Road as Forward Coaches - part of the deal with Bowens was that they couldn't trade with the family name within (I think) 30 miles of Birmingham for "x" number of years. The funny thing was that once they got outside the 30 mile radius, the drivers would remove the board on the side of the coach that said Forward, and underneath it read Flights !! Apparently Mr Bowen was not too happy about this but there was nothing he could do.
They built up the Flightlink airport coach services and sold it off in the late 90's to National Express. They then bought a big coach tour company called Excelsior from Bournemouth which made them I think the 3rd largest private coach firm in the country. Unfortunately, it seems it got a bit too big and all went a bit pear shaped in about 2001. The name is still about and I think Frank Flights grandson Geoff has something to do with it but they are part of a big group now.
They have provided the Aston Villa Team coach for years and I remember seeing pictures in the office of the '57 team going up Colmore Row showing off the Cup in a convertible open top coach !!
I remember Flights well but we always used Bowens on our holiday trips to Mrs. Eatons Eatonia guest house in Blackpool. The Bowens coaches had Dennis engines in them as I recall and realy used to move. There was also Worthingtons with their fleet of Bedford coaches. The ones that had a seat beside the driver. Went to Leamington lights on one of those and a trip to Llandudno.
If I recall we used Flights to travel to Biarritz about 5 years ago they were being taken over by another company, the drivers were concerned that they might not have a job to return to. Although they have kept the Flights name on the coach I think it does come under Dunn-line now. It is at the Long Acre site.
YES I REMEMBER SMALLBONES ON VICTIORIA ROAD, ALSO THATTHE EARLY DAYS OF FLIGHTS GARAGES WHEN THEY HAD ONLY ONE COACH TO START THE BUSSINESS, I LIVED AT 47 VICTORIA ROAD ON THE OPPERSITE SIDE TO THEM JUST ALONG FROM THE CHIPPIE, I CANNOT REMEMBER THE WOMAN,S NAME WHOM RAN IT THRE GREAT GRAND FATHER STARTED THE BUSSINESS WITH ONE COACH , BUT HE MADE A RAG TO RICHES COME TRUE, BECAUSE HE WAS A RAG AND BONE MAN BEFORE HE BOUGHT A COACH , NOT MANY PEOPLE KNEW THAT , NOW THEY ARE INTERNATIONAL KNOWN , ALSO REGARDING CLARIBELLS COACHES, THEY WAS AT THE BACK OF THE LITTLE PETROL STATION ON THE LICHFIELD ROAD OPPERSITE DIRECTLY CROMWELL TERRACE WHERE I WAS BORN IN FACT IT WAS 5/92 UP THE TERRACE AT ONE TIME THEY USED TO KEEP A COUPLE ON THE FRONT OF THE FORECOURT, THEN THEY MADE AN EXIT TO WALK THROUGH TO WAINWRIGHT STREET WHEN THEY ACQUIRED AFEW MORE COACHES AND SET UP A LITTLE OFFICE THERE THEY HAVE BEEN THER AT LEAST FROM THE FORTIES UP TILL THE SIXTIES, AND NEXT DOOR WAS A LITTLE PAPER SHOP, CALLED GREEN,S AND YOU HAD TO STEP DOWN INTO THE SHOP IF HE HAD TREE PEOPLE STANDING IN THERE HE WAS PACKED, AS TIME WENT ON AND THE DEMO LITION STARTED I BELEIVE HE WENT DOWN TO JOHN BRIGHT STREET BY THE NEW TOWN PALACE , PICTURE HOUSE WHICH EVENTUALY TURNED INTO A BINGO HALL AND HE SET UP AS A WHOLE SALE NEWS AGENTS SUPPLYING OTHER NEWS AGENTS AROUND B,HAM, TERAH FOR NOW CATCH YA LATER, ASTONIAN,;;;
With reference to Andy's Coaches i remember that our school used Andy's in the late 50' and 60's for our trips to Dudley Zoo and Drayton Manor Park.
My Uncle, George Deeley (now deceaced) used to drive for both Andy's and Flights before they sold out to Bowens i'm not sure if he actually drove for Bowens.