Bus Station

HAVING QUICKLY emptied my battered old oak plan chest after selling it on eBay last week I spent most of today sorting through its contents. It’s like going back through my life; mainly from the last 30 years of my work as an illustrator but also work from my student days and even, as here, from my schooldays.

This pastel on grey sugar paper, 10 x 12 inches, is dated 27 February 1962, when I was 11 and in Mr Lindley’s class, 4D, at St Peter’s junior school in Horbury. It might have formed part of the work for my 11-plus exam.

It brings back memories of the once very familiar old bus station. Dominating the city skyline, Wakefield Catherdral spire, yet to be sandblasted, is soot-blackened. The flats that would block the view of the spire as you approach the city from the south are under construction. The cooling towers of the Wakefield Power Station are steaming away in the distance. It’s a dull afternoon with reflections of the buses appearing in on the wet tarmac.

I’d forgotten the clock tower at the entrance to the bus station. Is it showing 4 pm or 20 past 12?

The green bus is the Ossett 20, which I used to queue for at the stand in the north-east corner of the bus station, across the road from the old Cathedral School, then still in use of as a school. Almost hidden behind the bus is one of two small waiting rooms that used to stand on either end of the island central island platform, adjacent to stand 7, according to my drawing.

The bus is a Leyland (name in block capitals above the radiator) operated by the ‘West [Riding] bus company and the red ‘VE’ on a yellow background on the poster on its side is, I guess, an advertisement for Vernons football pools.

I wish that I’d drawn more of these view of the familiar scenes of my childhood.

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