Names on the buses

609 Gideon Mantell

Connections with Brighton and Hove : No one suspected the existence of dinosaurs until Mary Ann, wife of Dr Gideon Mantell, decided to go with him to see a patient. While the doctor did his work, she went for a walk in the country and saw something shining in a pile of stones left for road mending. She found it was a rock containing large and unfamiliar fossil teeth and showed it to her husband who was intrigued. Dr Mantell, based in Lewes, had collected fossils since boyhood. He found they had come from a quarry in a forest near Cuckfield. Experts thought they were of fairly recent origin but Mantell persisted until he found they were similar to those of iguanas. Mantell’s teeth were ten times bigger and he calculated they had belonged to a creature 40 feet long which he called an iguandon. His discovery caused a stir a few years late when an almost complete iguanadon was found in a quarry near Maidstone. Mantell moved to Old Steine in 1833 and opened his collection of fossils to the public, attracting thousands of visitors. Mary got fed up with this obsession and returned to Lewes. Mantell moved to London and died in 1852 aged 62. People have been fascinated by dinosaurs ever since.

609 Scania Omnidekka carried name since delivery in June 2003, repainted into new livery March 2006. Bus sold in April 2015.