We used to live in Perrins Lane, so when I started at King Edward's in 1954 and had to travel into school in Stourbridge every day I had a choice of two bus routes. In those days the Midland Red ran the S37 which passed the bottom of Perrins Lane and travelled to Stourbridge via the Junction station; and also the S38 which came by the top of Perrins Lane and went via the Lye. The first couple of years after I started at the grammar school I used to catch the S37 because that was the later bus and got me into Stourbridge just in time to get to school before I became officially late. Later on I caught an earlier bus, the S38 at 8:05 am, which got me in at least half an hour before school time but enabled me to hang around in the school yard and chat to my mates.

Anyway, to revert to the S37. This came by at about 8:40 and was often packed absolutely full of people by the time it got to my stop, and therefore whizzed straight on past without stopping. Knowing that this often happened, and that there were a fair number of people who wanted to get on (this was the stop at Ludgbridge Brook, opposite the bottom park entrance) the Midland Red would send out a bus we (and they) called "The Swinger" which travelled empty to Ludgbridge Brook and turned around in the muddy patch in front of the shop at the bottom of Perrins Lane (hence its name) before picking us up and returning to Stourbridge. The problem was, you never knew whether they were going to send it, so sometimes I (and others) were still at the stop at nine o'clock and I was late for school. Fortunately I had prevailed on the school authorities to let me have the precious bit of blue paper which enabled me to arrive late without penalty. But even so, catching the Swinger was a chancy business.

The borough of Stourbridge had chosen to commemorate the Festival of Britain in 1951 with some unpleasant-looking and not very functional concrete bus shelters with the head and torch symbol of the Festival embossed into them. Ludgbridge Brook was blessed with one, and it was there for many years, getting tattier as the concrete weathered and stained, until it was removed when the buses stopped going by there. The substitute bus stop at the end of Springfield Avenue didn't have a shelter at all.

© Darroll Pardoe 1998


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October 1st 2010