The Rotherham livery application with a black mudguard on the nearside and a cream panel on the offside accentuates the asymmetrical front end. Even from the back the Park Royal body looked ugly and overly heavy, whereas the Crossley, with that outstanding emergency window, appeared very classy and well thought out.But then any livery application would have struggled to disguise this dog’s breakfast of a design. A friend on Merseyside used to joke that Park Royal built the Bridgemaster bodies in one continuous line, and a set of shears simply came down every 30′-0" and chopped one off! The first few pre-production Bridgemasters were built at the Erwood Crossley factory and looked a good deal better.Behind is Park Royal-bodied AEC Bridgemaster 139 (VET 139), just a year old when this picture was taken.In an article in ‘Buses Illustrated’ in June of the previous year on the conversion of the Mexborough and Swinton trolleybuses to diesel buses, and which were operated in conjunction with Rotherham Corporation, the writer Terry Shaw commented that he’d always considered that Mexboro’s Brush-bodied Sunbeam single-deckers were ugly until he caught sight of one of these Rotherham Bridgemasters, five of which made up Rotherham’s contribution to the trolleybus conversion scheme.It’s not hard to see what he meant, as they literally were a ‘box on wheels’ Mexboro’ chose Leyland Atlanteans, almost equally as boxy but still one up on these ‘biscuit tin’ Bridgemasters.I agree the Park Royal Bridgemasters were truly appalling in appearance.Bob Crossley was born in Northwich, Cheshire, in 1912, but grew up in Rochdale, the Lancashire town where his father, an engine fitter, worked.Crossley left school at 14 and spent the 1930s working as a coach painter and signwriter.
This was a London-area series, used from July 1911 through to December 1912 only, thus placing its registration comfortably after the introduction of the 15hp in 1910.
In response to the work of Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton, Terry Frost and many others which he encountered in St Ives, Crossley's painting increasingly expunged references to the external world and preoccupied itself with purely technical and painterly issues.
During the 1960s and beyond, therefore, Crossley's vividly coloured and gesturally assertive pictures contributed to the power and energy of the St Ives "school".
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