Bedford SB – 9 (ADL 459B)

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owned by  –  The Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum (click title to read more…)

Paul's Tours ADL459B is seen displayed inside the Museum on Newport Quay. © Adrian Hill
Paul’s Tours ADL459B is seen displayed inside the Museum on Newport Quay. © Adrian Hill

Paul’s Tours was one of the long established Ryde coaching firms, dating back to the ‘chara’ days and developed from the family farming business at Beaper Farm, off the Ryde to Brading road. Harry Paul had been persuaded by his son, also Harry, to expand the contracting business, which hired horses and carts to the local council, by the purchase of an AEC Y type charabanc. This commenced operation at Easter, 1920, at the same time as Read and Pearce also began coaching. The business developed from these limited beginnings.

In post-war years Pauls purchased Bedfords almost exclusively. 29 seat OBs were followed by the various ranges of SB, VAM, YRT and YMT and ADL 459B, first licensed in March 1964, represents a late version of the SB model. Unusually, they specified petrol engines for their fleet until 1967 and continued to buy one new coach most seasons. They maintained a fleet of 6 coaches for local tours from Ryde Esplanade where they had a booking hut, as well as an office in Union Street. The fleet was parked at Jubilee Garage in Benett Street, which was only demolished in May 2002 for housing development. This had been the stables in pre-motor days. ADL 459B which still retains the Paul’s Tours maroon and cream, was sold in November, 1981, to Harris Super Travel of Bromsgrove who kept it for many years. After storage it was sold to Fowler, Holbeach Drove, Lincs, who also kept it in storage until it passed to the Bus Museum and was driven South in December, 2002. Sadly, ‘Sonner’ Paul, the third generation in the business died aged 91 shortly before the coach arrived back on the Island. The business had eventually been sold to Moss Motor Tours who continued the name and livery for some years, with Mr & Mrs. Paul continuing to run tours from Ryde. ADL 459B is currently mechanically  restored  but is not currently on the road. A repaint is planned for 2017.