This years event celebrated the centenary of the EAST KENT ROAD CAR COMPANY Ltd with an impressive line up of preserved vehicles at the Detling Showground.

For decades their cherry red and cream vehicles were a familiar sight as they threaded their way through an area stretching from Faversham to Hastings and Maidstone to Dover. Being part of the British Electric Traction empire there was major co-operation and joint workings with their BET neighbours at MAIDSTONE AND DISTRICT with whom they shared common management shortly after nationalisation in 1969.

The NBC era saw the much loved cherry red and cream buses re-appearing in the corporate National Bus ‘poppy red’ livery from 1972 but the individuality of EAST KENT remained, not least with the fact that none of their vehicles carried fleet numbers until 1977, until then only being identified by their registration plates. During this period there were several exchanges of services and vehicles between EAST KENT and M&D but thankfully the proposed complete merger and renaming of the two companies as NORTHDOWN was resisted. In fact the two companies gradually moved apart in the early 1980’s and then split formally in 1983 as a precursor to deregulation and privatisation, which happened in 1986 and 1987 respectfully, with a management buy-out of the company. The cherry red and cream livery was reinstated in a revised style, but this was to be short lived as the company was acquired by STAGECOACH in 1993, bringing their corporate image to the buses of Kent.Geoff MarApr 12 129

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