ONO 59 - 1949 Bristol K5GONO 59 - 1949 Bristol K5G

Eastern Coach Works L27/28R body

Eastern National No. 1327

Built in 1949, this bus has a 'Lowbridge' version of the Tilling Group's standard Eastern Coach Works body.

New to Eastern National as fleet number 4038, later renumbered 1327 and further re-numbered 2255, this bus covered approximately 550,000 miles in service in Essex and the Eastern fringes of London. The original livery was 'Tillings green' and cream, the same livery as Lincolnshire Road Car. Depot allocations with Eastern National included Chelmsford (CF) in its early years, and later Basildon (BN) and Clacton (CN). The Clacton allocation may have been (in common with many EN vehicles in their later years) for the Summer season service enhancements.

left - As Eastern National No. 1327 at Clacton Bus Station on service 115 to Clacton Wargrave Road. Date uncertain, but prior to the 1964 renumbering scheme.

(c) Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group

right - At Kirby Cross, on route 107 to Clacton, 27 July 1959

photo by Ian Sharpe and used with permission (larger version on the SCT 61 website)


On reaching 'retirement' age, this bus was selected in winter 1966 / 67 by a group of students from South Essex from a batch of buses that had recently been withdrawn from service. They converted the bus to a mobile caravan, complete with bunk beds, cooker and kitchen sink, and a driver / top deck communication device (made from a hoover tube). Platform doors were also fitted - ONO 59 had been an open platform bus in service.

From January to August 1967, the bus covered 120,000 miles through 20 countries around the world, setting off via France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan to India, narrowly avoiding armed conflict in the middle east at the time. From India, the bus travelled to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, by this time each side of the bus was adorned with a large 'Union Jack' based livery, and advertising claiming it to be a 'London double deck bus'. The next stage of the journey was to the USA via Central America. Finally, the bus returned to the UK via Belgium.

'ONO' on tour, in Perth, Western Australia, 1967. Photos - John Ward collection

Having completed this adventure without any serious mechanical difficulty, the students were reluctant to see the bus go for scrap and wanted it to go to a good home. The bus was presented to the LVVS by Mr S Twell of Ingham, a dealer, who was then the Vice-President of the Society.

"ONO" was then used for many years as the Society's Tender Vehicle and mobile accommodation.

Click here for a photograph of ONO 59 ready to depart on its tour

ONO 59 - Bristol K5G ONO59 - Bristol K5G
ONO 59 at the LVVS shortly after arrival ONO 59 in the early 70's. crossing London's Chelsea Bridge - probably on the way home from the London - Brighton Rally.
ONO59 ONO 59 in 1986
ONO 59 in 1971 in Brighton

(courtesy Tom Deakin collection)
ONO 59 in 1986 - opposite the (now demolished) Lincolnshire Road Car garage at St Marks, about to set off to the London - Brighton Rally

A thorough restoration has taken place over recent years, with assistance from PRISM grant

More about progress prior to 2016 can be seen on this page.

Summer 2016 Progress -

It has been a busy time in the workshop so far this summer. The major focus of attention is ONO 59, which is having a lot of attention to its woodwork. Both saloons have had the coving plates replaced along with work on the lower deck floor and front bulkhead and platform area.

The front destination box is being rebuilt, lino has been ordered for fitting later in the summer, and some seats are now complete and are being trial fitted.

ONO 59 ONO 59 ONO 59
above - Front framework being replaced - 4 June 2016

below - upper deck coving plates replaced, 8 June 2016
above - Lower deck 'bench seats' under construction - 4 June 2016

below - rear framework being replaced,10 June 2016
above - Upper deck seat frames ready for seat cushions - 4 June 2016

below - two Eastern National Clacton depot allocation plates, recently donated to us for the restoration by Mr Brian Young
ONO 59 ONO59 Clacton Depot plates
ONO 59 ONO 59 ONO 59
above - Upper deck seats ready for trial fit - June 2016

below - view through rear destination blind windows (awaiting re-fitting of destination blind box) - July 2016
above - framework between decks, rear offside - 22 June 2016

below - wiring for nearside indicator receiving attention - 10 July 2016
above - new cover for front destination box - July 2016

below - old and new - when the seats were removed for conversion to a caravan, the mounting bolts were cut through. A new set has been made.
ONO 59 ONO 59 ONO 59
ONO 59 ONO 59 ONO 59
above - a week in July - new framework in place, painted with primer, and panelling going on.

More and larger resolution photos can be seen on this album on our Facebook page

above - New and repaired framework - 29 July 2016

below - electrical work in progress - 6 August 2016
above - Front dome under repair - 2 August 2016

below - upper deck interior panelling - 10 August 2016
above - Off-side panelling - 3 August 2016

below - lower deck - 10 August 2016
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above - Staircase - 11 August 2016 above - trial fit of Clacton depot allocation plate - 10 August 2016 above - rear dome under repair - 13 August 2016
ONO 59 ONO 59 ONO 59
ONO 59 ONO 59 - September 2016 progress

above - upper deck floor showing new gangway coving panels, lower deck floor showing new lino, and re-fitted offside window pans

left - offside panels and window pans

right - rear framework and panelling.
ONO 59

October 2016

Bristol K5G ONO 59. Above - lower deck window pans primed, and lower deck interior panels painted, 25 September 2016

Below - front offside, 19 October 2016, and new reproduction front number plate and Eastern National fleet number plates - these have been made by Tippers of St Austell, generously sponsored by Brian Young.

December 2016 - Bristol K5G / ECW, ONO 59 - Paul's work on the timberwork is nearing completion, and preparation on the paintwork is continuing ready for the painting season.


Jan 2017 - Tillings Green paint has started to be applied (undercoat at this stage) to ONO 59 (pictures taken 11.12.16)


April / May 2017 - Recent progress includes new woodwork at top of the staircase, lower deck saloon paintwork, new upper deck interior panelling receiving coat of primer, and new front end woodwork including destination box frame. Externallly, it has now received body-side straps / beading and is having repairs to the staircase. Various small parts including the bonnet side cover and destination box are being painted.


September 2017 - Paintwork continues, and lower deck seats have been trial-fitted.


December 2017 - Painting is well in hand, seats are being fitted and most of the windows re-installed.

A destination blind has been donated by one of our members after it surfaced in Essex

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ONO 59 platform, 10 October 2017 above Clacton depot destination blind

right - more filling - 13 November 2017
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ONO 59 - undercoat on upper deck floor, 18 November 2017 ONO 59 - upper deck floor painted,
20 November 2017
ONO 59 - upper deck seats
being fitted
25 November 2017
ONO 59 left - ONO 59 - upper deck seats being 'test driven' - 25 November 2017

right - ONO 59 - upper deck seats in place - 7 December 2017
ONO 59

April 2018 - Lots of smaller jobs have been progressed during the winter. Panelling is now complete, with beading being finished off. The platform handrail and used ticket box have been fitted and the seats are all in. If it had been warm enough we could have painted it!

ONO 59

above - beading being fitted

right - platform handrail in place

May 2018 - ONO 59 has now had its first top coat

(photos 17 May 2018)

July 2018 - 'ONO' is getting closer to being finished - the gloss coat is now complete and the lining out in black is now starting.

ONO 59 - June 2018 ONO 59 - July 2018

September 2018 -

ONO 59 has successfully been presented for MOT test at the Lincoln MOT Centre.

We are proud to report that our 1949 Bristol K5G, ONO 59, won the Shillibeer Award as first prize at this year's Showbus event at Donington Park on 30 September 2018 on its first major outing since restoration. ONO59 Showbus 2018


Bristol K and L Web site
Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group

page updated 27.10.18