Heritage Bus Tour: 'The Markhams' Magical Mystery Tour'
On 26 May a very large group of Society members boarded two buses driven by volunteers from Ipswich Transport Museum. We set off from the Custom House on the Waterfront for a nostalgic tour of the town. We had the choice of two double-deckers, both sporting the smart green and cream livery of Ipswich Corporation. AX1, the first of six motorbuses to be purchased by Ipswich Buses, was built in 1950 and had just celebrated its 60th birthday. ADX 63B was of 1964 vintage and one foot wider. Most of us took turns to ride on both vehicles. To add to the authenticity of our memorable journey, Caroline Markham adopted the role of bus conductor and issued tickets (sadly in decimal rather than imperial currency).
As numbers were so great and a running commentary virtually impossible, Bob Markham provided us all with very detailed and informative notes on all the places we would visit or ride by on our route.
We passed several buildings which have been given Ipswich Society Awards, including Isaac Lord's, now a thriving waterfront bar and cafe, the stunning university building, the restored Grimwade Memorial Hall (now apartments) and Endeavour House, home of Suffolk County Council, which was presented with an Award of Distinction in 2004.
Those waiting for modern buses at Tower Ramparts bus station must have had quite a surprise when we drove by and stopped temporarily in our vehicles from a much earlier age.
We paused to stretch our legs at New Cut West, from where we enjoyed a different view of the Waterfront from that most familiar to us, and saw the location of the original lock gates from the 1840s. One fascinating feature of our journey was our visit through Constantine Road depot of Ipswich Buses with a rare opportunity to glimpse the bus wash, bodywork shop and maintenance pits - fortunately none of which was required by our 'fleet'. From the upper decks of both buses we experienced a wonderful view of our town.
Many thanks to Bob Markham for a most enjoyable evening.