Horse tram services started 19 August 1872
Electric traction from 13 October 1898 until 4 September 1962
Tramway abandonment's started in 1926, with major route closures from 1956 onwards
Trolleybuses introduced 3 April 1949 - Abandoned 27 May 1967
It is with the deepest regret and sadness that I have to record the untimely death of my long time
friend John Fozard. I am not sure exactly how we met but it was in either by my responding to an
advert in 'Buses' magazine with regard to printing black and white photographs, or whether it was
because we both owned former London Transport buses. I have green RT 3125 and John owned red
RTL 554 [at one time he also owned Bradford 410 which had previously been RT 172]. John was an
experienced mechanic and related to me his restoration prowess on the RTL. John's interest was not
confined to motor buses and Leeds trams were his tram passion; he stood at the Corn Exchange with
his dad on the last night watching the final procession in 1959. Over the years I would estimate that
John printed about 20,000 images for me, all to the very highest quality.
John reached retirement age in August 2011, which was the same time that Peter Mitchell's 109,000
strong collection of black and white negatives of transport subjects, covering the length and breadth
of Britain, became available to us. As John had liked printing Peter's negatives he decided to carry
on printing but in a limited capacity - this turned out to be a photographic frenzy and John would
regularly tell me about what he was finding. Peter had led a rather reclusive life and when it came
to the preparation of his will, I struggled to think of anybody who could work alongside me as a joint
executor. A common denominator was John who had also been printing photographs for Peter for
many years. I suggested that John become co-executor and Peter agreed.
In the aftermath of Peter's death, John and myself were carrying out the terms of the will, with the
main feature being the estate paying for the preservation and restoration of trams and trolleybuses
that had their origins in the British Isles. The first vehicle to benefit from this is Glasgow tram 488
which will eventually operate at the East Anglia Transport Museum. Having had a lot of contact with
the Ffestiniog Railway, it was John's idea that they be approached to restore 488 - as is well known,
the FR are about to start work on this project.
John suggested that a library copy be made of much of Peter's negative collection; this was a wise
move and for about 18 months he had been working through this, with the result that most of the
British trolleybuses had been printed along with many London buses. Some have been printed as
enlargements, with John's photographic developing skills producing wonderful results. He was self-
taught and knew all the tricks of the trade to bring out the best results.
I could not have asked for a better man to have worked alongside me as a co-executor of the Will. I
will remember him as a fellow bus enthusiast, a jovial individual and someone who had good all
round knowledge about Britain's buses; he only had to look at a negative, let alone a photograph, to
know which type of bus was in the image. He had started work with Samuel Ledgard's as an
apprentice and I recall him telling me that one of his jobs was to clear out an office and dispose of
unwanted items; he came across a pile of redundant Bell punch ticket machines and had the good
sense to retain a couple of them.
When 488 is ready to roll, so to speak, I will ensure that a plaque naming Peter Mitchell and John
Fozard is positioned inside the tram.
Dateline: 29th May 2013
Eulogy to John
John was born in County Hospital, Otley, West Yorkshire on the 7th August 1946 to
James and Dorothy Fozard. John was a fun loving lad, picking up his love of
railways, buses and photography from his father at an early age. The mantel shelf
in his childhood home always had a large collection of well parked dinky buses and wagons.
John attended Otley Secondary School and, as a bright boy, excelled in his technical
drawing skills. However, John's attention was drawn more to the passing buses than
to the academic subjects in hand! When not at school, John would be found near the
railway station watching the local goods trains shunting in the yard, or doing some
out of hours' 'shunting' with his friends on a night where they would let the brakes
off some of the wagons and watch them roll further down the sidings! When asked by
the school's careers adviser what he wanted to do in life, he said he wanted to work
on the railways. Sadly, he could not make it to the local steam shed for the
required 4.00am start.
At 15, John went to work for Charles Smithson the butcher. The shop was located at
the end of the row of houses where he lived. From this time are many tales of near
misses and one hit with the bacon slicer, but it was from being let loose with the
delivery bike, and later the van, that John developed his passion for driving.
Learning to drive around the butcher's pig field on a night enabled John to pass his
car test only one week after his 17th birthday, much to the surprise of his
girlfriend, and later wife, Anne, when he drove the 30 miles to see her. On this
occasion, his Dad who had accompanied him thought they were just going for a little
drive in the country! In the future, there would frequently be an ulterior motive
for a trip out!
John moved on to become an apprentice fitter at the local bus company of Samuel
Ledgard whose distinctive blue and grey buses he had watched all his life. After
passing his bus licence, he could always find a rattle or a squeak, inaudible to
others, to fuel the excuse to go for a test run out, always accompanied by his
camera, of course!
After Ledgard's was taken over, John moved on to West Riding Motor Services as a
fitter at the Featherstone depot. He later returned nearer home when he joined West
Yorkshire Road Car at their Grove Park depot in Harrogate.
In 1972, John decided that crawling under buses at 4.00am for a living was not for
him and so John began a change of profession. Teaching himself the art of black and
white photo processing in his little darkroom at home, this was something that he
would do and enjoy for the rest of his life. John's customers frequently commented
on the quality of his printed photographs.
John was always passionate about his buses and trains. This led to him purchasing
his first bus, a South Yorkshire Albion coach, with the affectionate name of Cyril,
in 1975. Traveling up hill and down dale, Dunbar to Brighton, he did it all. After
purchasing two more buses in the late 1970s, which originally came from London and
were similar to what he had worked on at Ledgard's, John continued to live his
dream, much like one of his favourite 1960's pop stars, Cliff Richard. He really
did have a "Summer Holiday" with his buses.
In November 1978, John's one and only son, Simon, was born and, in turn, he passed
the family interests on to him. Together, John and Simon had many happy days out
photographing trains and buses all over the country. When John discovered that
British Rail did a family rover ticket, entitling him to travel anywhere on the
network as long as he had a child with him, the family day out to Leeds became
Penzance with John showing Simon the country by train!
In the 1980s and 1990s, John continued to process photographs, although he later
went on to spend a winter back at the wheel of the buses when he went to work for
Black Prince Coaches of Morley.
By the late 1990s, John was tiring of the busy life of Bradford and Leeds and longed
for something different. After holidays to Malta, Spain and other sunnier climates,
he realised it was time for a change.
In late 2000, John moved to Anglesey for a slower and more peaceful pace of life
after over 50 years of living near a large city and its associated bustle. After
looking at many places, he chose a new bungalow in the village of Llanerch-y-Medd,
where, ironically, he would live next to a couple from Yorkshire! Being able to
walk on the cliff tops, in the open spaces and watch the ships in Holyhead harbour
were a great draw for him.
After Simon moved to Wales to start working for the Ffestiniog Railway in 2002, John
would visit him on days out. This would start a ten year association with the
Railway for John. In 2006, he started to volunteer for the occasional day on the
buffet cars with Simon or in the shop. This led to two summers on the temporary
staff working in the shop. John enjoyed talking to the customers, working with
young people and made many friends there.
Over the last few years, John enjoyed time with his new partner, Judy, and her
family. They spent many happy hours walking around Anglesey and North Wales,
including climbing Mount Snowdon, and holidaying together. I'm sure that John
enjoyed watching the ships in Holyhead harbour from Judy's house!
John had a passion for France and had visited many times in recent years, touring
all around the country either by car, train and tram. Loving every part of the
country, John had just returned from five enjoyable weeks in France, some of which
he spent with Judy, only a few days before he died. In fact, he was already
planning his visit for next year when he hoped to stay even longer!
John will be remembered by many people, all of which will probably think of him in a
different way. Undoubtedly, many will remember him for his time keeping, 'I'll be
there around 12.00ish' which could mean any time from 12.00pm to 12.59pm, and
his laid back attitude. Others may remember him with his yellow coat on, camera
round neck, photographing trains!