This page created 16th October 2010 using Notepad, by Ian Smith.

The Dennis Es

The Dennis E, with its derivative ES and EV, were the last throws of the 1920s style bus design before the Rackham designs of AEC and Leyland revolutionised the industry in 1930. One innovation they introduced was brakes on all four wheels! They also had pneumatic tyres from the outset. The DE chassis would accommodate a thirty-seater body 25 feet long and 7ft 1in wide.

Public had been a significant user, but its DEs were all gone before the London Transport Board arrived. But they were definitely a single-decker of choice for the London Independents in the late twenties, although the restrictions on trade in London were such that only a few Independent routes needed single deckers.

DE24 drawing

Route 202 buses: DE24-28

Route 202, which wound about beneath the arches of the long railway viaducts north of New Cross, was a single-decker Independent route with several operators. Golden Arrow of Stockwell used a Phoenix-bodied Dennis E on it, which became LT's DE24.

G.H.Allitt & Sons of Rotherhithe, used three Dennis Es on it: one with a Birch body bought second-hand from Eagle (DE25) and two Dodson-bodied (DE26, DE27). DE25 and DE26 were Dennis ES models with a smaller but six-cylinder petrol engine of the same power as the normal four-cylinder model.

DE28 was also used on the 202 by LT, but came from the Gordon Omnibus Co. of Leyton. LT had numbered this as D193 when they first took it over in December 1936, but quickly renumbered it into the DE series and sent it to Old Kent Road. That was the garage that worked these five buses (along with some Leyland Lions) until spring 1936, when the 5Q5s arrived to replace them.

B14 drawing

Route 203/231 buses: Birch Bros: DE29-40

Another significant Independent route was the 203, or 231A, operated by Birch Bros., where leaning trees along the route from Hampstead Heath (Sundays, 231A) or Kensal Rise (203) to Maida Vale and Park Royal were the reason given by the Metropolitan Police for keeping double-deckers off the route. Despite obstructions Birch persisted with the route(s), which became the 231 in 1934. They used single-deckers, and had a dozen Dennis Es in operation on the route by the time of the bitterly-contested takeover by the LPTB. Their fleet, B8-B17 and B23-24, were all fitted in-house with thirty-seat rear entrance bodies. They became DE29-40 on takeover, and continued on the 231, now operated from Chalk Farm garage.

In 1934 there were passenger complaints about their condition and most were replaced by T-type Regals, with a few retained for Saturday extras. These were replaced by 5Q5s in spring 1936, when the whole 231 was converted.

DE41 drawing

Westminster & Prince: DE41-43

The Westminster Omnibus Company also operated a Dodson-bodied DE on the 203/231, which became DE41 on takeover. Prince Omnibus Company also had two similar buses, DE42,43. These three, dating from 1926/7, were among the first to be withdrawn in 1935.

The Country Area

In the Country Area it was mostly just the larger operators who operated Dennis Es: Amersham & District, and Aldershot & District, with C.Aston of Watford and the Penn Bus Company making a contribution.

Country DE drawing Amersham & District had ten ordinary Dennis E buses, bought in several batches in 1928-9. These had 32-seater bus bodywork by Strachans, mostly rear-entrance. They stayed at Amersham after the LPTB takeover, until 4Q4s arrived in 1936. Also adopted by Amersham after the takeover was a Dennis E from the neighbouring Penn Bus Company. They were used on the 353/362 group of services between Amerham and Ley Hill /Berkhamsted, the Chalfonts and Windsor.

Aldershot & District lost some of its territory in the Woking area to the LPTB, and with it came four DEs. One had Strachans bodywork, and the other three were bodied by Dennis. These too stayed in the area they had come from.

C.Aston of Watford also had three Dennis Es, which were taken over by the General (as London Country Bus Services) in July 1933 before coming to the Board in October. I suspect that these went into one of the Watford garages, but in any case were replaced by 4Q4s in spring 1936.

The Dennis EVs

An improvement on the Dennis E, and precursor to the Arrow was the Dennis EV with a 70bhp six-cylinder petrol engine instead of the earlier 4-cylinder model. London Transport took over three EVs, and used them as un-numbered Country buses, disposing of them in the spring of 1936.
D2 drawing

GF6680 came from Red Rover to Green Line, who numbered it D2 and used it for private hire. It had a rear-entrance 32-seater Birch body. LPTB took it over from Green Line, and left the bonnet plate in situ although it was officially un-numbered. They sent it to work as a bus at Amersham.

KX4337 was already an Amersham bus when taken over by LPTB, who probably left it in situ. It had a Strachans 32-seater rear-entrance bus body.

UR4577 came from Comfy Coaches in Harpenden in February 1934. It too had a 32-seat rear-entance bus body, this time by Duple. LPTB sent that to Amersham too.

Ian's Bus Stop Dennis E. DE histories DE photo refs Lancet, Arrow text.