New to London Transport as one of 263 Leyland Olympians built with Eastern Coach Works bodies this was L261 which was new in March 1987. This was the third from last of the purpose built batch of 260 and also the third from last bus built at Eastern Coach Works in Lowestoft.
This is one of the four last Olympians which featured Coach Seats as they were built more to Private Hire work unlike most other L class Olympians which worked on the London Transport Routes mainly.
It was stored at Plumstead garage (PD) as most L class Olympians did when they were brand new in January 1987. It was thought that L261 was the only one of the olympians new with a different livery, L260/2/3 were new to Selkent with a white band which believed L261 didnt carry but carried smaller gold bands instead which the others later adopted.
In February 1987 it was transfered to Camberwell (Q) ready for use within the Private Hire division with sisters L260/2/3. It was then first Registered in March 1987.
April 1987 L261 and sisters L260/2/3 went to Chiswick works (CS) to be fitted with High Speed Diff to match the work that would be required from them in the private hire fleet.
Being part of the highly prestige Private Hire fleet L261 was treated to a Routemaster plate (like our L138 was). It became 2 CLT which was previously carried on RM1002
February 1989 L261 was transfered to New Cross Depot (NX) where it left its sisters L260/2/3 at Selkent and joined part of London Central, at this time it would of been stabled with fellow IBPG L138 although doing different work.
Fleetnames were changed from 'Selkent Travel' to 'London Central Travel' but L261 was treated to a fresh coat of paint in August 1989, although retaining its current livery it did loose its gold fleetnumbers.
Jumping to October 1994 when London Buses were privatised, it came under Go-Ahead control, later it was repainted into standard London Central livery and refurbished with the bulls eye material used at the time in Routemasters.
In July 1998 L261 was re-registered back to D261FUL and was de-licenced at London Central in August 1998.
September 1998 a new chapter was born when Holmeswood Coaches, Rufford purchased L261 straight from London Central, it went to Mainline Group in Sheffield to be converted to Single door layout CH42/30F from CH42/26D.
It was re-registered A19 HWD in November 2002
In January 2013 Holmeswood decided to update the fleet to ex Go Ahead London Low Floor deckers due to contract requirements and L261 was offered to us at the IBPG.
Was acquired for Preservation in March 2013 with us at the Ipswich Bus Preservation Group and referred back to its original plate of D261 FUL.
It had proudly served with Holmeswood Coaches (mainly in their Leyland depot) for nearly 15 years which they are very proud of and are happy to see a worthy bus enter Preservation. It entered Preservation with us on the same month as its 26th Birthday!