49 Years, 11 Months

The history of Potteries Motor Traction Ltd (PMT) can be traced back into the 19th century. So it’s no surprise that the museum collections include objects, photographs and ephemera relating the company. We continue to grow this part of our archive with four objects recently donated by the family of Reginald Johnson. They entail a coat and badges worn by Reg during his career at PMT, which lasted for 49 years, 11 months.

Object like these are valuable because they have people’s lives and stories at their heart. This turns day-to-day objects into pieces of history.

Reg started off in the garages in 1930 but was called up to drive buses during the Second World War, a role in which he stayed for most of his career. As his time at PMT continued, so did the accolades: a safe driving medal, 25 years’ service, 40 years’ service, and many glowing reports from his customers.

“I must refer to our driver, Reg Johnson. By the first stop on Monday morning he had become ‘one of the party’ and his interest in his work and his announcement of places of interest en route added the finishing touches to a well planned, effortless and reliable holiday. His consideration and help when one of the party became unfortunately ill whilst at Tewksbury and had to leave the coach was admirable and noted with appreciation by all present.”

Letter to PMT, 11th August 1959
Reginald Johnson, 1914-1988

Towards the end of his career Reg begin to suffer from heart problems and, after several trips to hospital, decided that it was time to retire. He was only one month away from marking his fiftieth year at PMT.

Reg seems to have been committed to giving his passengers comfortable and stress-free journeys. His son recalls that, if Reg ever took a wrong turn, he’d quietly navigate himself back on track rather than stop and turn around – leaving his passengers worry-free and none the wiser!

His safety record was almost blemished by a meeting between a double-decker bus and Stoke Railway bridge, but his conductor managed to warn him just in time! Reg also made a story for the Evening Sentinel as he was convinced he sighted a UFO whilst driving his bus through Werrington.

You can find out more about Reg and these objects by searching our Collections Pages.

Written by Joe Perry (Curator, Local History)

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