Greenslades has been a familiar name in Bristol’s world of transport since the early 1900s, when two brothers William and Gilbert Greenslade founded a small taxi service with a Model T Ford. Demand grew from people wanting a day out and so the business grew until they acquired a charabanc capable of carrying more passengers. As the years went by, the colours of their liveried transport changed with different company mergers and takeovers but for the bus collectors of today, the Greenslade pale green and cream colour scheme is the one which most usually comes to mind.
Between 1919 and 1989, Duple Coachbuilders were associated with the majority of the great names in British coach and bus designs, working with equally well-known UK chassis producers to bring a wide range of public transport vehicles to our roads. Duple Bodies & Motors was formed in 1919 by Herbert White in Hornsey, London. He developed the name Duple following an idea he had in which the name was intended to convey the principle of a single vehicle being suitable for a dual role. This enabled small business owners in particular who had a working van/private vehicle by merely removing the decking at the rear of the car and fitting a van top.
The 1950s saw Duple suffered quite badly for various economic reasons and they moved to Leicestershire and the business was renamed Duple Motor Bodies (Midland) Ltd. In 1961 the permitted length for coaches was increased to 36 ft with a maximum width of 8ft 2 ½”, which meant larger vehicles. Duple launched the Commander, built initially at the Hendon works but subsequently in the Blackpool factory, home of their Burlingham acquisition.
Just like the original, our Oxford tooling on the Duple Commander allows for variations to front and rear wheels, additional roof windows and vents and various front grille options.
The Greenslade Duple Commander II is registered FFJ 150 and is bound for Plymouth. Printed on the black variation of the radiator grille, note the distinctive inverted triangle with the Greenslades name through it. On this model too, the upper body has more windows along the side of the roof and on the roof itself, with the front skylight roof window tinted orange with a black surround. The wheels appear with small silver hubs and black surrounds. The interior features beige seating, a green floor and a grey dashboard with black steering wheel.
Greenslades may have finally ceased operations in 2011 but their West Country legacy lives on