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Happy Harold is a restored 1928 trolleybus that is a regular feature in carnivals and other events around the town.
On the first of April 1928 Hastings was in the forefront of transport technology, the ageing fleet of tramcars on their worn out track was being replaced with trolleybuses.
At the time, the fleet of 50 single deck and 8 open-top trolleybuses was one of the largest in the country but what made the fleet unique was the 8 open-toppers, no other town in the whole world had purpose-built open top double deck trolleybuses.
After the war this unique vehicle languished at the back of Bulverhythe Tram Depot (which is still there as Coleman's soft-drinks depot on Bexhill Road, St.Leonards) and was faced with an uncertain future until Hastings Tramways decided to revive the pre-war tradition of decking out vehicles with lights to celebrate special events – in this case the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II , and so, with seats restored and the ‘bus painted in a ‘Royal Maroon' and cream livery and proudly proclaiming that it was 25 years old this unique vehicle re-entered service carrying a placard above the cab proclaiming the new Queen, this was later replaced with a life-size cut-out of the Conqueror and in typical Hastings fashion the vehicle was unofficially renamed "Happy Harold” rather than any allusion to William!
The open-topper proved to be an enormous success and was in service right up to the end of the system in mid 1959
In 1980 Hastings Borough Council acquired the vehicle for £1000 to ensure its survival and it appeared at rallies promoting Hastings Tourism.
When you see "Happy Harold” try to imagine it in its heyday, before the noisy diesel engine was fitted - silent, energy efficient and non-polluting, using no energy at all whilst standing still and even producing electricity through its regenerative braking and then remember it was built 80 years ago and ask yourself, have we really made any progress at all with public transport.