This is going to be my last post on London Transport buses for awhile, I promise you. It’s a bit of a history lesson. So hop on board.
I was born in 1951 and brought up in Barnet, North London. At Barnet Church in 1938 a tram and trolleybus pose for the cameras. Trams, which had run in the area since 1905, were replaced by trolleybuses on 5 March 1938. Trolleybuses ran until 2 January 1962, when they were replaced by Routemaster buses.
This photograph was taken by Barnet Church 21 years later in 1959. No more trams. The trolleybus reigns supreme. Trolleybuses drew electricity from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles.
Journeys could be delayed if there were problems with the power supply or if the trolley booms got disconnected from the overhead wires. This was not unusual in London. In this picture a driver uses a bamboo pole to reconnect the trolley booms after a dewirement which was always a dramatic spectacle for passengers and passers-by.
This is Charlie Wyatt. Why is he here ? Well, he began as a conductor on London’s trolleybuses in 1951 and became a driver in 1955. He worked throughout his trolleybus career at Finchley depot in north London. He was on trolleybuses until their last day there. I must have travelled on his buses many a time. So thanks for the ride Charlie. He is now well into his eighties and still going strong.
Barnet Church again in the mid-70s and a couple of Routemasters.
Well that’s about it for now … ANY MORE FARES PLEASE!!
In 1951, there were different types of public transport operating on London’s roads, including diesel buses, electric trolley buses and trams. They often ran in close proximity to one another so accidents were inevitable.
London transport ‘s RTL 1166, a Park Royal bodied Leyland Titan is knocked over by a tram on route 56 along the Victoria Embankment on 11th September 1951when the Wandsworth garage bus on route 70 towards Wandsworth was turning out of Temple Place to head west crossed over the east bound tramway and was hit. Several passengers were injured on the bus.
This is a picture of the bus being righted by LT’s recovery team.
The days of trams in London were now numbered. They were seen as being increasingly economical. “Operation Tramaway”, the replacement of the tram service by diesel buses, was announced in July 1950 by Lord Latham of the London Transport Executive. Retirement started in October 1950 and London’s last trams ran in the early hours of 6 July 1952 to a rousing reception at New Cross Depot. This is a short news clip of that nostalgic event.
For many of us, buses are as much a part of our childhood as toys and teddy bears. Taking a trip on a London Transport bus during the 1950s was always an adventure. The constant ‘ting ting’ of the wire string bells. The glorious occasions when the conductors changed the rolls on their ticket machines and gave you the remainder of the roll.
Today’s offering is a couple of brief snippets about London buses in 1951 courtesy of Pathe News. Please watch them as they are NOT what you are probably expecting. I guarantee that they will make your happiness factor go up a few points.
How’s your happiness factor ? This next clip should just about finish the job.
The 1951 Club is intended to be a celebration of all-things associated with the year 1951. Someone asked me why I did a blog about the year of my birth. Simple. It’s easier than doing one about the year of my death.