Dennis E OT 8902 in 2004
As normal practice, the Aldershot & District Traction Company disposed of buses after their 8 years of working life. In 1936 a large number of buses went to King & Taylor of Godalming and these would have been the Dennis 'E' type of 1928. Unsold as buses, the engines would have been removed and then offered for use as 'garden sheds' or even living accommodation.
So it seems that Dennis 'E' OT 8902, with a Dennis body, was sold to someone in Walton on Thames for use as a 'home'. Parked by the river on, presumably, ground owned by that person, it became a 'home'. Speculate if you must, but maybe the family grew and more space was needed, so a bungalow was built around the bus. There it remained, dry and protected from any weather problems that attacked other buses out in the open. Some 67 years later, developers were demolishing the houses and bungalows on the riverside site and came across the bus. They had the good sense to contact Cobham Bus Museum who immediately despatched a rescue lorry to recover it. Thinking it was a London Transport Dennis, they soon realised that it was in fact an Aldershot & District Dennis 'E'.
Examination provided a number '451', that was an A & D chassis number. No-one knew where the Dennis Chassis number is, so it was then 'thought to be' OT 8902. One week later, Ray Le Mesurier-Foster and Brian Finch, both of ADORR, managed to locate and expose the Dennis Chassis number proving it was OT 8902. Further examination revealed the condition of all the mechanics from the clutch towards the rear was 'tip-top' with lots of oil and grease around. No rust was seen on the chassis and the front springs were as good as new. All the braking system is in place including the Rolls Royce retarder. The body, though quite a lot missing, was in excellent condition with little rot and the roof is perfectly straight and again in excellent condition. The rear dome is missing and some of the doorway. There is no cab or engine, so the whole front end will need to be built. The fuel tank is in excellent condition in its cradle, but no check yet as to any fuel content!
Further examination will be taking place and the bus is to be covered and strengthened before being moved to our Sussex premises. The restoration process will then begin with an assessment first, then costings. The Aldershot & District Omnibuses Rescue & Restoration Society has most of the parts that are missing and initial estimates are for a three year project.