There have been three distinct services given the letter B in Oldham. The original one was an early service which developed into North Western's 159 (see the North Western gallery) whilst the second, more long-lived version, was replaced by the 11 and 12 and is covered in the history of those service.
The new B service started on 18th July 1948 and ran from Belgrave Road to Middleton Junction station, using Honeywell Lane, Ashton Road, Chaucer Street (King Street in the opposite direction), Union Street West, Crossbank Street, Manchester Street, Manchester Road, Oxford Street, Block Lane, Fields New Road and Foxdenton Lane.
In September 1951 journeys to Middleton Junction ceased to use Chaucer Street but went via King Street and up George Street to join Manchester Street at Market Place. In the opposite direction buses turned from Manchester Street into King Street.
In 16th July 1953 it was extended from Belgrave Road into the new estate at Fitton Hill, along Keswick Avenue and Fir Tree Avenue to the junction with Beechwood Road, just a stone's throw from Hathershaw terminus. It was further extended from 22nd September 1963 along Rosary Road and Springwood Hall Road, making a terminal loop using Fold View, Fircroft Road and Rosary Road prior to returning along Springwood Hall Road.
The one-way system introduced in the town centre from 22nd March 1965 saw buses to Middleton Junction run along King Street and down Manchester Street, missing out Market Place, whilst in the other direction they used Duke Street, West Street and George Street.
From 1st April 1968 the service was re-numbered 21. By July 1969 it had been diverted in Chadderton from Foxdenton Lane along Broadway to the terminus at Whitegate Lane, where it terminated at the Boat and Horses.
In April 1970 it became the second Oldham service (after the Holts Estate circulars 25 and 26) to be worked by one-man double-deckers. Possibly at the same time the route in Fitton Hill was slightly revised, with buses returning from the terminus along Rosary Road instead of via Springwood Hall Road.
On 2nd December 1973 the service was renumbered 421 in the SELNEC series, but otherwise saw little change until deregulation on 26th October 1986, when it was extended along Broadway and Owler Lane to Moston (Gardener's Arms). From 22nd March 1993 journeys on the 421 were curtailed to run from Fitton Hill to the Sportsman's Arms in Chadderton, with a new 423 service operating from Fitton Hill to Moston.
Operated by GM Buses North it was also at times worked by Citibus and Bluebird before ceasing operation between 1997 and 2000.
© David Beilby