Hants & Dorset – the red years

A change of livery for a bus company is perhaps not so momentous an event as some enthusiasts might believe. However, Hants & Dorset’s adoption of the NBC red livery coincided with two other significant changes in the company’s history, so it is justifiable to identify the following period by the livery.

First of all, it marked the completion of the absorption of the old Wilts & Dorset company. The W&D name disappeared, and it is understood that the red livery was chosen, in preference to the anticipated green, as something of a consolation for ex-W&D staff disappointed by the loss of the identity of their company.

Secondly, the new livery was accompanied by a change in vehicle policy, with large numbers of Bristol VR double deckers and Leyland National single deckers – but no more Bristol REs. The LH was purchased in large numbers, and Fords appeared as well. The increased numbers of new vehicles certainly helped speed up the one-person-operation conversion program.

Perhaps it seemed like a new dawn for H&D – but it wasn’t. Serious problems remained unresolved, and ten years later, the company was split, with a new Wilts & Dorset taking over the operations in those two counties, and Hampshire Bus assuming responsibility for most operations in that county. But the Hants & Dorset name never re-appeared, and nor did green buses.