lifestyle

Huddersfield bus's new lease of life as a cafe in Hastings

Readers will remember the only red bus on Huddersfield's roads between 1983 and 2003

It was a familiar sight on Huddersfield’s streets ... and has now been transformed into a cafe on the south coast of England.

The story of this special bus has been revealed by bus enthusiast Elliot Day who reckons it is one of the town’s transport icons.

And it certainly stood out against the rest of Huddersfield’s buses which were painted green and cream.

Its number was 6299 and it began service in 1981 and remained on Huddersfield’s roads up until 2003.

Elliot grew up in Golcar and attended Royds Hall and now lives in Hull where he works as a transport manager for Wincanton Logistics. He had travelled on the bus countless times while living in Huddersfield.

He said it first took to the road with West Yorkshire PTE, before passing to Yorkshire Rider and First Group and then was sold to a local preservationist.

The bus is a Leyland Atlantean with bodywork by Charles Roe who were based in Leeds. The style of bodywork was almost unique to the West Yorkshire area.

It carried the red livery of the Huddersfield Corporation for much of its operating life and was first painted in these colours in 1983 to celebrate 100 years of municipal public transport in Huddersfield, though this was refreshed many times in its life.

Elliot said: “In 1883 Huddersfield Corporation was something of a trendsetter, being the first council to operate it own public transport service. It probably says much about the prosperity of the town then that such an enterprise could have been embarked on. Seeing the red 6299 on the streets of Huddersfield reminded you of this civic pride!

“And 6299 also appeared on the small screen, stealing the show more than once on Last of the Summer Wine although never once in the script did Compo race a double decker bus down a hill in a tin bath! Shame that.”

 

Elliot added: “6299 also has a sister, 6300. This too was painted into a special livery but in 6300’s case it was the maroon and cream of the corporation’s trams. Although both entered preservation both were then sold on eBay and 6299 has ventured far and can now be found in Hastings having been converted into a cafe.

“As an enthusiast this is not the future I hoped would be in store for such an icon, but there is reason for consolation. 6299 bus has become something of an icon in Hastings for a wholly different reason, now being run by the 1066 Bakery. And I guess you can say that after 30 years this bus is providing a public service – and now a decent breakfast too. Mind you if my numbers came up on the lottery I know how I would spend the money, and I would not just be turning up to buy a bacon buttie! Now what were those number again, aha yes, a 6, 2 and a couple of 9’s should do it.”

The bus is known as Double Decker cafe and owner Darren Trevett paid £5,000 for 6299 on eBay and has then transformed it into a cafe with the kitchen downstairs and seating for 28 diners inside and a further 30 outside. It has been open for around 18 months now.

Darren used to take it to festivals in the south of England but it’s so popular now it’s staying where it is.

He said: “Everything is in working order and the kids love to have their photos taken behind the wheel. We get bus enthusiasts who know all about its history, that it came from Huddersfield and was on Last Of The Summer Wine.”

The original seats were refurbished and then some turned around with a table inbetween them.

For more on the bus’ current role go to www.doubledeckercafe.co.uk

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