BOOK — ‘Once a Busman...’, Bernard Jefford, Green Chain Publishing.
THIS stimulating autobiography covers popular Bernard Jefford’s 44-year career ‘on the buses’.
Yet one of his earliest experiences on a bus led to a dead end in Hucknall!
Nottingham-born Bernard, pictured front right, was five years old when he travelled with his mum on a Midland General bus through the town.
It was at a time when ex-servicemen home from World War Two were recruited as drivers and did not always know the route.
He writes: “All went well until we turned at the Byron Cinema, where the driver followed his nose. He took a left fork by the Station Hotel into a cul-de-sac.”
The bus reversed after facing a fence and Bernard was amazed because he had not realised such vehicles could go backwards!
Bernard’s family tried to persuade him to become a coalminer because it was a ‘job for life’, But his heart was set on joining the bus industry and, after a spell of selling bottles of pop house to house, he achieved his ambition.
Frustratingly, instead of driving motor buses, he was at first restricted to getting behind the wheel of trolleybuses with Nottingham City Transport.
It was not until after a move to Bristol that he returned to Nottingham with a coveted PSV drivers’ badge and was given access to the city’s motor fleet.
Eventually, he joined the Trent bus company — on the day his son, Bernard jnr, was born — and he drove ‘all sorts of vehicles on all sorts of routes’. He later became a senior inspector.
During the miners’ strike of 1984-85, Bernard went to Trent’s Portland Road depot in Hucknall to find a large contingent of pickets from Yorkshire waiting for miners to report to work at the adjoining ‘Bottom Pit’ “Any bus crew changes had to take place two stops before the depot to avoid confrontation,” he writes.
Bernard held a launch of his well-illustrated book at Hucknall Library. Priced at £12, it is available from the Nottingham City Information Bureau on Smithy Row.