News reaches us from our old friend (and bus nerd) Aidan Turner Bishop of the death of Ralph Bennett aged 91.
"Who he?" i can hear you cry! Ralph Bennet was general manager of Manchester City Transport in the mid to late 1960's and it was he who commissioned Ken Mortimer to design a new type of bus, rear engined, more efficient and capable of being driver-only operated. What Mortimer designed, the Mancunian 1001, was a radical departure for bus design and informed bus design from there on in the world over. Whilst London was still hanging on to the outdated and over rated RouteMaster, Manchester was rewriting the rules (as usual).
After his modernisation of Manchester City Transport he was poached by London Transport and served them throughout the 70s until he was sacked by a Thatcherite hatchet man.
So - farewell Ralph Bennett - a true Mancunian Modernist
The 1001 has become a favourite of the Manchester Modernists and the good people at the Museum of Transport have let us have a ride on a couple of occasions - here she is parked outside our temporary exhibition space in 2005.