The spirit of Midland Red and much more!
Midland Red history, and the author’s entertaining tales of his 50 years in the bus and coach industry – all influenced by Midland Red.
The ideal follow-up book to Inside Midland Red.
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Midland Red Influence is Ashley Wakelin’s new follow-up and companion book to Inside Midland Red. This is a new and fascinating high quality Midland Red book. Like the earlier book it has two parts. Part One delves further into the history of Midland Red, including its origins, its vehicle design, and its pioneering use of pneumatic tyres and computers. Part Two covers the author’s 50 years in the bus and coach industry, and follows on from his time working for Midland Red that was covered in the second part of Inside Midland Red.
Midland Red Influence is over a third bigger than the earlier book, with three dozen varied chapters across 176 pages. It is amply illustrated by images taken from black & white and colour negatives, coloured plates and slides, most of which are previously unpublished.
One of the chapters covers three stories of “Little Midland Reds” (some rather special model buses), and there’s a trio of chapters recalling Ashley’s transport-related diversions into railway heritage and railway-themed fine dining, which were all additional threads of his original Wheels business plan!
Ashley’s 50 years experience in the UK’s bus and coach industry have been wide and varied, starting from a career with his beloved Midland Red as it changed from BMMO through MROC to Midland Red South. He has also worked in the independent sector, had a spell in the planning and transportation department of a county council, and has had over seventy buses and coaches pass through his hands since the age of 16. He is a an avid enthusiast of everything Midland Red!
This book recalls stories over those 50 years and beyond, including, with the help of dedicated colleagues, the provision of nostalgia and enjoyment to passengers with his vintage vehicles on a range of special duties: Weddings, Funerals, Proms, Corporate Work, Specialist Excursions and Bus Driver Experience Days – all of which were pure “Omnibus Theatre!”
The foreword for Midland Red Influence is by Ashley’s late colleague and friend R. E. S. ‘Bob’ Richards from Midland Red’s experimental department, who also provided relevant passages and comments throughout. This is a wonderful bit of historical detail for those interested in social and industrial history, bus enthusiasts, and anyone who has worked for the empire-like Midland Red.
Hard back, 176 quality pages with over 330 photographs and illustrations, most not previously published.
Image rightabove: Colin Webster looks through his new Midland Red book on his ninety-something birthday in October 2022.
Colin is a universally respected career employee of Midland Red from the late 1940s to the 1990s. He worked mainly in the Northern and Eastern divisions of the Company, starting by conducting and driving buses in Leicester, and he recalls the times of driving petrol-engined buses where the driver sat on the petrol tank. He progressed his career as Inspector, Traffic Superintendent, Disciplinary Officer and latterly Staff Officer.
Ashley, the author of Midland Red Influence has known Colin continuously since the 1960s, and as both are now in retirement they have time to reminisce over their time working for Midland Red. Colin Webster also wrote the foreword to Ashley’s earlier book Inside Midland Red.
All of Ashley’s books are ideal for ex-employees of Midland Red, anyone interested in social history or politics, and of course bus enthusiasts. The books are not all about bus numbers or technical detail — they are full of illustrated stories of real day-to-day life on the buses!
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You can also buy from “Kenilworth Books”, the vibrant independent book shop in Talisman Square, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 1JB. You can also find most of our books at Transport Museum Wythall, MDS Books and Julian Bowden Transport Bookshop.
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