Ten lost or not-so-lost bus termini within our conurbation

As a logical step from previous postings on Lost Bus Routes of the Greater Manchester area, I thought it would have been a good idea to focus on our dearly departed bus stands. Lost bus stations, stances, shelters, termini and turnarounds. For instance, stops which may have move a few yards and lost a shelter in the process. Stops which are under supermarkets, places we dearly miss, or are glad to see the back of.

Yet these humble combines are as much a part of our history as local landmarks, churches, night clubs and public swimming baths. They are places where we not only waited for buses, but ate takeaways in or had a quick fumble and the like. It is the subject of this instalment of ‘The Not So Perfect Ten’.

  1. Whitefield Bus Station;
  2. Albion Hotel, Dukinfield;
  3. Howell Croft Bus Station, Bolton;
  4. Eccles Bus Station;
  5. Victoria Bus Station, Manchester;
  6. Oldham Coach Station;
  7. Clegg Street Bus Station, Oldham;
  8. Mersey Square stands, Stockport;
  9. Leigh bus station;
  10. Altrincham coach station.

1. Whitefield Bus Station

For several years, Whitefield was linked with Bury and Manchester by means of third rail electric trains. In the mid 1930s, there was a need for integrating bus with rail traction. Hence the construction of Whitefield’s bus station off Stanley Road. It was the northern terminus of the 96 route to East Didsbury and an intermediate stop on the 94 from Manchester to Bolton via Prestwich.

Buses entered from Stanley Road in an anti-clockwise direction with stands on the outer part of the road. As a hangover from the failed Picc-Vic Project, it was refurbished in the mid to late 1970s with toilets and a SaverSales office.

What happened next? The station was destaffed in the mid-1990s with its latter day guise only having two shelters. Today, a Morrisons store occupies the site of Whitefield bus station. Services now call on Bury New Road instead or at two stands on the side of the Metrolink station’s Manchester platform.

2. Albion Hotel, Dukinfield (Eastbound shelter):

For several years, the Albion Hotel stop has remained an important stop for services to Manchester, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyne and Hyde. Historically, it was a terminus for the 21 route prior to its extension to Tennyson Avenue as the 221, and an important terminus for SHMD’s tram routes. In its heyday, the terminus had a commodious shelter complete with toilets. It serviced passengers for the Oxford Cinema and its concurrent guises as the Moon, Hiccups and Drifters discos.

What happened next? Buses still call at the Albion Hotel terminus, only that the new one is 20 yards east of its original position. The commodious shelter was replaced by a standard shelter in the 1970s. It was demolished in 2002. For a while, the newer eastbound stop had no shelter. This was rectified in 2018. At the start of this year [2021], a nice new stainless steel bus stop has been added, in lieu of the lamp post that is awaiting demolition.

3. Howell Croft Bus Station, Bolton:

Not far from Newport Street, Bolton’s main shopping street was Howell Croft Bus Station. It was a favoured stopping place for trolleybus services, close to the Odeon cinema and the market hall. It was right at the heart of the town centre. Bolton Corporation and South Lancashire Transport were the station’s main users.

What happened next? Howell Croft Bus Station became the site of the Octagon Theatre, an award-winning repertory theatre since the late 1960s. Services were moved to the present day Moor Lane Bus Station.

4. Eccles Bus Station:

The original Eccles bus station had two banks of stands with pitch roof shelters. This was used by Salford Corporation and Lancashire United Transport services. By 1979, the pitch roof shelters were replaced by run of the mill Queensbury shelters seen throughout the Greater Manchester Transport network. The shelters were situated in front of the open market ground.

What happened next? Part of the old bus station is Eccles’ Metrolink terminus and a Morrisons store. The new bus station opened in 2001 (some 50 yards west of previous site) with four stands on a single platform and a taxi pick-up point. Its Travelshop is in a shop unit a few yards from the station.

5. Victoria Bus Station, Salford/Manchester:

There had been a bus station off Victoria Bridge since the 1930s. The outer section of the station had stands along the perimeter with westbound facing stands in the centre. The original set of stands came from recycled tram cars with cantilever metal shelters in the centre. A brick building with access from the station and Victoria Bridge had toilets from the bridge side, and an enquiry office and newsagent at the station side. Victoria Bus Station was often confused by many with the stands around Manchester Victoria railway station and Greengate bus station, underneath Exchange station.

What happened next? In its first form, Victoria Bus Station was used right up to 1988. It was derelict until 2005 when GMPTE brought it back into use as a stopgap prior to the opening of Shudehill Interchange. Instead of reverting to its previous layout, they favoured a single terminal layout where buses would pull in and reverse out. Though some passengers regarded the temporary facilities as better for the city centre than its forerunner, it became a car park before being landscaped.

6. Oldham Coach Station, Rhodes Bank:

The centre of Oldham has gone through a fair share of bus termini in its last 50 years. Other than Mumps Bridge and Clegg Street, one less obvious station was the coach station at Rhodes Bank. Till 1989, it was a regular haunt for National Bus Company services and Yelloway coach excursions.

Opting for a pull in and reverse out method, it was an austere place with access via the station’s travel centre or a gate. From the travel centre, passengers would book their ticket and go through a full length turnstile, prior to boarding their National Express or Yelloway service. I remember the turnstile and terminal making for a depressing facility, though the Yelloway coach I boarded for Chester Zoo in 1984 was a fine vehicle.

What happened next? After a brief period as a charity shop, the travel centre remains vacant. The bus station itself was later used by First Manchester as a bus park for out of service vehicles. Today, the bus station is a private car park and the terminal roof has been demolished of late.

7. Clegg Street Bus Station, Oldham:

A short distance from the coach station off Union Street was a modern bus station on Clegg Street. The one I am not referring to is GMPTE’s 1981 example beside the Town Square Shopping Centre. I am referring to one on the southern side of Clegg Street.

Opening in 1966 was North Western Road Car Company’s most northerly depot, which included a bus station under the same roof. It was a modern concrete and grey bricked building of similar design to the present Manchester Arriva depot. If anybody else can fill me in more on its original purpose, I would like to hear from you.

What happened next? The depot was surplus to requirements after SELNEC’s acquisition of North Western Road Car Company services in its operating area. In 1973, Oldham services moved to the Wallshaw Street with buses calling at the Mumps Bridge stands and Market Place stops instead. It was sold to the Co-op before being converted to a night club, known at one stage as ‘Henry Afrikas’. Then it was demolished at around 2000. Sainsburys and TK Maxx stores occupy the site of a bus garage which only lasted 7 years!

8. Mersey Square stands, Stockport:

Before the opening of Stockport bus station in 1980, the main terminus for Stockport was Mersey Square. Passengers alighted and boarded at stands facing the Plaza cinema. Buses were housed on the left of The Mersey Tavern (today’s Chestergate pub) or on an open air bus park west of Wellington Road South bridge.

What happened next? Mersey Square bus depot was demolished in the early 1960s to make way for the Merseyway Shopping Centre. By 1970, Stockport’s buses moved to the new Daw Bank depot west of the viaduct. The Mersey Square bus stands continued in use till 1980. Over 30 years on, Mersey Square’s road layout has been remodelled leaving no trace of any passengers alighting or boarding (unless you count the nearby stops on the side of Merseyway precinct).

9. Leigh Bus Station, Spinning Jenny Street, Leigh:

On the southern side of Lancashire United Transport’s 82, Leigh had two small bus stations. One was close to market hall on King Street, served by the corporation’s buses. The second one was of Spinning Jenny Street.

Leigh’s largely forgotten bus station was the terminal point for South Lancashire Transport’s trolleybus services and Lancashire United Transport’s services prior to its acquisition by Greater Manchester Transport. Services departing from there included the 51 to Warrington, with trolleybuses for Bolton and Mosley Common.

What happened next? Spinning Jenny Street bus station was surplus to requirement by deregulation. All services were transferred to King Street with a new GMPTE Standard bus station opening in 1991. Part of the enquiry office of Spinning Jenny Street bus station is used as a taxi office.

10. Altrincham Coach Station, Stamford New Road:

Altrincham’s pre-1969 buses were offered largely by North Western Road Car Company who also operated Altrincham’s original bus station. The terminus was opposite the railway station, on the right hand side of The Station pub. Buses pulled in and reversed out.

What happened next? Altrincham’s bus station moved to the railway station’s forecourt, opening in 1976. It was the first new bus station to have opened under GMPTE, with great emphasis on integrating bus and train connections. The old bus station became a mixed-use development incorporating a new library (opening in 1981) and the Stamford Shopping Centre which had its own footbridge to Altrincham Interchange. Today’s version of Altrincham Interchange has five bus stands and a glass footbridge that replaced the leaky predecessor.

All change please…

Feel free to add any comments and anecdotes about the lost termini mentioned here. Or suggest a few others for a future feature. If you can recall waiting for buses at Victoria Bus Station or remember using any of the two from Oldham as a driver, we would love to hear from you.

S.V., 07 January 2011.

Updated on the 09 February 2021.

21 thoughts on “Lost Bus Termini of Greater Manchester: The Not So Perfect Ten

  1. This is certainly a good read. For one, it also answers why First have an express to Leigh branded as ‘The Spinning Jenny’.

    Apart from past/present stations, what about Ashtons future position, as it may be regenerated… again lol, that station has had its fair share of history.

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    1. Hi William,

      The history of Ashton-under-Lyne’s termini would make for interesting reading, and as a future post on East of the M60. I can recall four different versions on a site between the old Woolworths and the Prince of Orange pub. There could be reference to the future version.

      Glad to see it’s answered a Leythan bus based enquiry for you.:-)

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    1. Hi Conn,

      I’ve only ever seen the new stands at Whitefield on Google Street View. It is quite a come down from the original facility in its heyday. The thing is though, it would have been hellish for the bendibuses [135] to use the original Whitefield bus station. Hence the on-street stop. Likewise the slight reduction in journey time on the 98, not having to turn right before continuing to Bury via Radcliffe.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  2. Maybe it’s before the period you remember, but what about the North Western “Coach Station” in Mersey Square and the fantastically attractive loading stands adjacent to the toilets down what must have been the windiest street in the area, leading to Daw Bank. The whole area was demolished in the sixties/ seventies it included the old Tramways club. It was later the area which after what seemed centuries, was developed as the new bus station
    Selnec and GMT as well as Crosville and National used it as a parking area for many years. We often used the slope to bump start!

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    1. Hi Pete,

      A good shout! The NWRCC coach station is way before the period I remember and definitely one for me to find out more about. I have seen pictures of the ‘windiest street in Stockport’ in Michael Stokes’ seminal ‘Greater Manchester Transport Album’ along with the parking area.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  3. Here’s one for the list – Lower Mosley Street bus/coach station on the site that is now the Bridgewater Hall…

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    1. Hi Rob,

      I’ve not forgotten that one. I have decided to concentrate on some of the lesser ones first and create a follow-up post with some of the better known ones. For Lower Mosley Street, I may consider a separate article on the former coach station as I thought it was worthy of one of its own rather than as one of ten short entries.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    2. I used to get the bus to Nottingham from there in the 1960s. There was an incredible club opposite, near the Briton’s Protection. I think it was called the Bacchus club or something like that. Girls used to sit round the edge with prices written on the soles of their shoes. Like something from 1930s Berlin. And the Briton’s Protection was a rough pub, unlike the yuppies’ paradise it is now.

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      1. Hi Chris,

        I wish I had the joy of using Lower Mosley Street Omnibus Station, having heard and read so much about the place. Today, many people would laugh at the fact they queued around the block for an X60 to Blackpool. Few would believe the fact it was almost as regular as today’s 192 service (immediately after the Second World War), or more regular than a lot of today’s bus services in Greater Manchester.

        Chorlton Street Coach Station lacks the same kind of allure, even in its present refurbished form.

        Bye for now,

        Stuart.

        Like

  4. The original terminus of SHMD’s 21 was Stalybridge, Stanley Square and not the Albion Hotel. These days you would find it hard to turn a Robin Reliant round there! The reason for this appeared to be it’s closeness to the depot on Tame Street for crew changeovers. It was odd that this service terminated here, short of Stalybridge town centre.

    Manchester Lower Moseley Street is long gone and as already said, now the site of Bridgewater Hall, home of the Halle Orchestra. This was the terminus for, amongst others, the jointly operated (Manchester, Ashton, SHMD, NWRC) No: 6 service to Glossop as well as several North Western Services into Cheshire and Derbyshire, plus Ribble services to the Rossendale Valley towns and Blackpool (X60). Also the terminus of many other long distance services, including Scottish services. It is, worthy of an article in it’s own right, as you say.

    Also Manchester Aytoun Street was the terminus for several services unable to fit into Piccadilly, the 153 express to Carrbrook being one.

    Before the bus station was built at Stalybridge, services used to terminate (or call) at the bottom of Rasbottom Brow, near the railway station. the railway arches and the Q pub.

    Prior to Ashton bus station being built, services used to terminate on all sides of the market hall, market ground and in the surrounding streets. Bow Street for trolley bus services and Fletcher Street for the 3/14 services come to mind. Buses used to lay over around the railway station.

    Like

    1. Hi Buspilot,

      I have seen in a few bus books of mine, with early-1970s pictures, some pictures of 21s with the ultimate destination being Albion Hotel. Could these have been peak hour short workings?

      It was most odd for the 21/220 to stop short of Stalybridge centre, something which was rectified by the late-1970s. Even in the February 1975 GMT Central Area timetable, the 220 terminated at Stanley Square back then.

      I also remember Aytoun Street as being the terminus for Football Ground buses. Again, from the 1975 timetable, the 236 was extended to Deansgate station with additional stops at St Peter’s Square and Piccadilly.

      Yes, I do remember (though from secondary sources) there being several stops around Ashton. The 11 used to call at St Michael’s Square before continuing to Stalybridge (Grey Street) or Newton (Lodge Street). According to W.G.S Hyde’s book on Ashton Corporation, the SHMD routes didn’t move to the bus station till early 1969, though the bus station opened in 1963. Plus you also had the Transport Office by Wellington Road and the Town Hall (the 9 and 10 used to stop there).

      I have also seen pictures of Stalybridge’s buses parked by the railway arches and today’s Q Bar. It must have been better than the present site if you needed to hurry for a train or a pint in the Buffet Bar.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  5. Stuart

    I’ve been trawling back through the years on the 21 route. It has always been SHMD operated, although shown as a joint service with Manchester .

    It commenced as express service service 32 from either Cannon Street or LMS to Upper Mossley in January 1930, which was not a success, being cut back to Dukinfield in March that year, then in November extended back to Upper Mossley departing from Piccadilly
    .
    In March 1932 alternate journeys again terminated at Dukinfield and it was renumbered 21 in 1934. The alternate services were extended to Stalybridge Stanley Square from Dukinfield after the second world war and then in 1957 alternate journeys terminated at Dukinfield Yew Tree Estate. Mossley appears to have been dropped as a destination, sometime after the end of the war. The service moved to Chorlton Street Bus Station between 1950 and 1960 when the bus station there opened.

    However the 1960 service list shows services 21 and 21A.Still alternate services on both routes terminated at Stanley Square, the others at Yew Tree Estate. the 21 routed via Chapel Lane in Dukinfield and the 21A via Boyds Walk, Dukinfield.

    In 1969 a further revision took place with all service 21 terminating at Dukinfield Yew Tree Estate and routing via Chapel Street, with all the 21A terminating at Stanley Square and routing via Boyds Walk.

    Bit of a history on this route alone!

    Like

    1. Hi Buspilot,

      Your history on the 21/21A is most interesting, given that I have tried (though not yet completed) a history of the 220/221 route and its predecessors for http://www.stuartvallantine.co.uk. The route in past and present forms has seen a great many termini. In recent times, this has included Piccadilly Gardens opposite The Piccadilly (present day stop), the same location by Wetherspoons and (for temporary use nowadays) Newton Street.

      I can remember alighting and boarding 220s under Greater Manchester Transport on the station approach of Manchester Victoria. On one occasion, I came back with my Dad from a gaffe prone trip to Morecambe. On the way back, our train was delayed at Lancaster (2 – 3 hours), then I tipped an ashtray on a Mk2 carriage at Preston. To cap it all, the Almex machine on the 220 home wasnt working!

      A post on lost Manchester Bus Termini is on the cards.

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  6. There’s certainly some confusion over the 21/21A terminus, but it definitely was the Albion Hotel for quite a long time: on Sunday mornings around 1960 the 21s used to stand in Foundry Street alongside the Oxford, before turning right and right again to go up Town Lane and back down Chapel Street. Journeys which terminated at Stanley Square turned by reversing into Bailey Street well into the 1960s.

    AS a matter of interest, there was another brick bus shelter exactly like the one at the Albion, with its arched facade and public toilets at the back. This was in Mottram Road Stalybridge, right opposite the end of Acres Lane. That’s another lost terminal point now surrounded by a forest of traffic lights. Try turning a bus there!

    Like

    1. Hi David,

      Thanks for filling me in on the 21/21A. Stanley Square to Bayley Street must have been one Hell of a run to reverse.

      I’ve seen traces of a lost bus shelter at the corner of Mottram Road/Acres Lane. Could that be the other brick shelter in question?

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

    1. Hi David,

      We could be onto a winner with a future article on the redevelopment of Piccadilly bus station. Like Ashton-under-Lyne’s bus station, it has seen three different incarnations in the last five decades. A while ago, I found a picture of a future Piccadilly Bus Station on the Capes Dunn website. The watercolour image within their online catalogue (by Essex, Goodman and Suggitt Architects) shows the Manchester Corporation stands redeveloped with the brown tiles of SELNEC.

      Image source: http://www.capesdunn.com/Catalogues/co080311/lot0195-0.jpg

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

  7. re Bolton

    Howell Croft was a huge area in the middle of which the Town Hall and Civic Centre were built splitting it into two called Howell Croft North and Howell Croft South. The bus station was always called the Howell Croft South bus station.

    It has actually been replaced by the Octagon (multi-storey) car park. The Octagon Theatre is just further north the other side of Ashburner Street

    Like

  8. Great read. Just one note on Alty Bus Station. Some buses reversed out, but that would be because something was blocking them. There was another exit to the station on to a road that’s not there now, as it’s been replaced by Station House and all the other modern excrescences.This road led up to Dunham Road from Stamford new Road, if my memory serves me. I’ve checked with my friend whose Dad was a NorthWest bus driver and he agrees with me.I used to get the 71 and 80 there all the time as we lived in Baguley but my mother’s family all came from Alty. You can see it on the old maps of Alty.

    Like

    1. Hi Chris,

      Interesting to find that drivers using Altrincham bus station could depart using more than one method. From what I have seen through archive pictures, it was a well turned out terminus.

      Here’s a link to one image of the NWRCC bus station from the 1960s which you may appreciate:

      North Western  FOB 830

      Bye for now,

      Stuart.

      Like

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