Charles H. Roe

In July 1947 the coachbuilding company Charles H. Roe of Crossgates, Leeds, became a subsidiary of Park Royal Vehicles. Along with PRV, it became part of the ACV group in 1949 and in 1962 part of Leyland that closed the Roe factory in 1984; from which the Optare company was born.  John Kaye has kindly provided some Roe Company's official photographs and I reproduce them here along with his notes.  There are other examples of Roe bodywork within these pages. (also see:

  JR 6600 - Hunter, Seaton Delaval 11, a Leyland Tiger (TS7) chassis with a Burlingham coach body dating from 1937.  It was re-bodied by Roe in 1954 with a B39C body and renumbered 21.

  When new to Cleethorpes Corporation in 1944 this vehicle (Registration Number CFU 35) had a Brush L27/28R body.  It was re-bodied by Roe in November 1958 for Grimsby & Cleethorpes Corporation, that had amalgamated operations by then.  The photograph taken outside Roe's works shows the vehicle with the Roe body No. GO4790 and was H33/28R.

  HGC 125 - Burton Corporation 69, started life with London Transport G415 in 1946, as a Guy Arab with Park Royal H30/26R body B31029.  Along with others, it was refurbished by Roe before entering service with Burton in 1953.  After withdrawal it was exported to a transport museum in Houston, Texas in June 1967 together with HGC 213, a similar vehicle which had also passed to Burton in 1953.

Another Guy Arab III with ROE bodywork (Body No. GO3542) was found in a sad state at Cashmore's scrap yard, Newport, Monmouthshire in 1968 by Philip Mason who sent in his photo of it being used as a lunch room and site office. Originally CBR 535 (8th of a batch of 12) had been built for Sunderland Corporation (fleet no. 135) in October 1952. In the image half of the "B" in the registration has broken away. 
(CBR 539, the last of the batch, is preserved at the North East Bus Preservation Trust (the discrepancy with build/new date is noted.)

  RDH 507 - Walsall 817, is a Leyland Titan PD2/12 with Roe FH33/23RD body GO3710 built on Park Royal frames.  It was new in June 1953.

  RKH 115 - Hull 115, is a Sunbeam MF2B chassis with Roe H30/24D body GO3756.  It entered service in February 1955 and was withdrawn in October 1964 upon closure of the trolleybus system.

  HHL 875 - West Riding 799 is an AEC Reliance with Roe Dalesman C41C body GO3999.  Being the first of four such vehicles to enter service in 1956, it was withdrawn in September 1966.

Pictured outside the premises of Charles H Roe in Crossgates, Leeds this 1957 Leyland Tiger Cub (PSUC/1), Registration Number VKH 668, with attractive Roe B39F body.  This was first of 6 such buses delivered to East Yorkshire Motor Services Limited, of Hull. (Information courtesy of Roger Hardy and Mike Averill.)

TCH 92 - Leyland Atlantean with Roe H44/34F body GO5145 built October 1960 for Trent; pictured at (probably) the 1960 Earls Court Commercial Motor show.

SHL 864 - Guy Wulfrunian with Roe H43/32 body GO5176 built October 1960 for West Riding; pictured at (probably) the 1960 Earls Court Commercial Motor show.


Now for a mystery - can you solve this puzzle?  This object was discovered by a reader's plumber who found it behind a water tank. 

This metal fabrication appears to be some form of cover, a cowling perhaps, though it is too small for an engine. Part of a drive-shaft cover?  Shown here balanced on a chair to give some reference as to its size, it is clearly marked with "Coachwork by Charles H. Roe, Limited, Leeds, Crossgates Carriage Works" on what would appear to be the inside, assuming the "orange" paint is external.  Evidently Roe was proud enough of this fabrication to stamp it with their emblem, so does this mean the fabrication was potentially visible to the public?  Is it some form of hinged luggage cover?  On the "orange" (external?) view there are holes in the top and left edges that definitely had some form of flange attached. And in the white (internal?) view, the side holes appear to have some strengthening strip.  Was this flange a hinge to the top with strengthening or buffering to the left?  But if it was, the logo would be upside down when viewed by a user.  So if it was hinged then the hinge was at the bottom and the object was lifted into position.

Basil Hancock thinks this may be an internal roof cove panel (above the window, curving into the ceiling) as he believes that Roe may sometimes have mounted their transfers there. (Excellent possibility and if this is the case, and it seems probable, the quality and style of the logo makes me think it is a very early example; perhaps the 1920's? The public might have had to crick their necks to see it though. Please write in with your views. No prizes for solving it but definitely the kudos! Ed.)