London’s Red Buses

pleasure Outings
Pleasure Outings by Private Bus, L B Black, 1927

A hundred years ago new bus routes were opening in London every few weeks. After launching its new B type motor bus in 1910 the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) had replaced its entire fleet of horse buses with the new petrol driven wonder in just eighteen months. The B type was the bus equivalent of Henry Ford’s Model T automobile. It was cheap, sturdy and could be mass produced very quickly. But unlike Ford’s car it was not only available in black. The B types were all red, and this has been the distinctive colour of London’s buses ever since.

With motor buses the LGOC could extend its routes into the suburbs and out into London’s country. There were soon open top buses running as far out as Windsor, St.Albans and Dorking. When very few Londoners owned a car, they suddenly had cheap and easy access to the countryside with a Sunday bus trip, sometimes on the same buses that had carried them to work in central London during the week.

Some London bus routes have hardly changed over the years. The 24, for example, was already running from Victoria to the edge of Hampstead Heath 100 years ago. It still does, and appropriately enough it was chosen as the first route to use the brilliant New Routemaster buses designed by Thomas Heatherwick when they went into service last year. So, try taking a leisurely trip to Hampstead Heath on the top deck of the latest London icon.

Written by Oliver Green, London Transport Museum Research Fellow

Museum Week: Monday Theme – Day in the Life

It’s Monday – traditionally the most miserable day of the working week – when that long journey toward the weekend has begun all over again. Given that, it might not seem like the best day to be asking our staff some probing questions about their job – but it’s #MuseumWeek and today we’re looking at ‘Day in the Life’ so what better way than finding out what our staff get up to, from breakfast bagel to bedtime! (Complete with their very own #MuseumSelfies)

https://twitter.com/ltmuseum #MuseumWeek #DayintheLife

Me Sau-Fun Lyndsey Sam Wendy Saskia hannah Julie Eli Caroline Marilyn memet Noel helena2 Stuart SiobhanHarry Ed


Me

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Kirsten Riley and I’m the Web and Social Media Manager here at the Museum

How does your day start?
Around 6:30am. My Boxer dog wakes me up to be fed (I don’t need an alarm!) I have an espresso before heading out the door about 8am.

How do you get into work?
I live in the South-East in Lewisham so I get in via the Overground. Never get tired of the view from Waterloo Bridge!

Breakfast?
Porridge (even in Summer!)

What does a typical day look like?
I get in and have breakfast at my desk while I check email and open up our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter etc – and check for updates and questions. I then plan in my tasks for that day in between various meetings. Normally tasks include optimising images, updating web content, proofing marketing text, collating stats, and updating our various social media sites with content – messages and blog posts. At lunchtime I usually head to the gym so I can unwind (and not spend money in Covent Garden!)

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Being Omni-present. I have two computer screens as I have to watch social media streams while doing my other work so I am always jumping from task to task. It can feel a little maniacal. Right now we’re also developing our new website (due to launch in mid-April) so I have been managing this project while carrying out my business-as-usual role.

What do you love most about your work?
The fact that I get to talk directly to our fans and followers on Social Media (and the people I work with are immense!)

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I get home at around 7:30pm and take the dog out a walk  – my partner works shifts so the dog isn’t left alone all day! I then make some dinner before kicking back to watch some TV or read a book – right now I’m reading The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth. I get to bed about midnight (after checking Facebook and Twitter one last time!)


Sau-Fun

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
Sau-Fun Mo, Head of Design

How does your day start?
Alarm goes off at 5.30am, and once I’ve got myself ready, I put the supper on the automatic cooker ready for the children as soon as they’re back home in the evening.

How do you get into work?
The 6.50 train into Waterloo which tends to be quite busy

Breakfast?
Rarely

What does a typical day look like?
Back to back meetings and creatively directing anything from 20 to 50+ design projects all on the go at the same time. Best moments are when I am doing hands on design.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Time management – ensuring that I am available to all departments as well as my design team.

What do you love most about your work?
Being the creative lead on all design projects and making everything gorgeous

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
By spending precious time with my hubby and children, and OK, maybe a cheeky glass of wine too ;)


Lyndsey

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Lyndsey Mclean and I organise public events at the Museum.

How does your day start?
After repeatedly hitting the snooze button on my alarm, I get up around 7.30am, and listen to the Today programme on Radio 4  and eat my breakfast.

How do you get into work?
I walk and take the bus.

Breakfast?
Absolutely! I love breakfast. I like a poached egg on toast, the more free range the better for a lovely deep orange yolk.

What does a typical day look like?
I get into work around 10am and check my emails, and the day and week ahead. I work out what I need to do for upcoming meetings as well as any on-going things on my to do list. The rest of the day is spent planning for events ahead – at the moment I am finalising the details of our next Friday Late for the opening of our new exhibition  on 16 May. So I am looking for suppliers and performers, and talking to them about what I want  them to do, as well as updating the information available about the event, and ensuring that I don’t go over budget. I am also responsible for the other events in 2014, so I spend time finalising the details of these, and attending meetings to discuss the overall programme of events, and how it is shaping up, as well as how it might contribute to other aspects of the museum

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Thinking about what will appeal to our audience, making sure it is affordable, and that it will generate enough ticket sales to pay for itself.

What do you love most about your work?
Getting to visit places that the public aren’t usually allowed, and  working out how to make them accessible. Also, the end of successful event is very satisfying.  

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I do an evening drawing class, which is great for not thinking about work, or I go for a drink with friends.


Sam

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Sam Clift and I’m the Volunteer Coordinator at the Museum.

How does your day start?
Alarm goes off at 6am (usually woken up at 5.30am by the radiators rattling with the heating kicking in), get washed and packed lunch ready to be out of the door by 7am.

How do you get into work?
A steady walk (or powerwalk if I’m running late) to Sutton station, jumping on the Southern train to London Bridge at 7.20am and a quick switch onto the South Eastern to Charing Cross.

Breakfast?
Porridge or bran flakes with lots of mixed berries thrown in.

What does a typical day look like?
Get to work by 8.30am, so time for a cup of tea and a chance to chill before the day begins at 9am. I switch my computer on and go through my mountain of emails and check my calendar, then start to prioritise my time for the day by putting a checklist together (which I really, really, really try and stick to but it never happens). I usually have one or two volunteers in the office, so they arrive around 9ish and I spend time chatting to them and discussing their work for the day before they get started. Then I get going with my to do list, which usually comprises of following up on event information/updates, forward planning for the week ahead, responding to email/voicemail enquiries (both from existing/potential volunteers. I head out for my lunch sometime between 12-1pm, when I usually have a walk around and find an interesting subject to draw (I’m working on a person drawing project at the moment). Then I spend the afternoon speaking to lots of staff and volunteers about events and volunteer requirements for various projects.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Its naturally a very sociable job, as I have to work with staff across all departments of the museum and manage 160+ volunteers. Time management is always a huge challenge, and making conversations constructive and relevant to the needs of the museum (whilst staying light hearted and sociable) has become a key part of my day to day.

What do you love most about your work?
Working with so many interesting and passionate people. I love the fact that our volunteers are generally so accommodating and relaxed in their manner, as it’s a breath of fresh air and reminds me why I love this job!

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Seeing my little daughter when I get home, she always makes me smile.


Wendy

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
Wendy Neville – I’m Head of Communications at the Museum

How does your day start?
Chaotically usually. Check work emails, grab papers for meetings, get ready, get train, get to work.

How do you get into work?
Overground to Charing Cross station

Breakfast?
Sometimes. Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel if I do have it.

What does a typical day look like?
Back-to-back meetings; writing copy, checking copy and making things happen.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Managing so many priorities. Lots of deadlines and lots of people from in and outside the Museum needing attention and feedback.

What do you love most about your work?
I love the fact that we can be so creative with our collections. Yes, we are a Museum of transport so we’re big on buses and trains. But we use that to tell a much bigger story about London and design.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I go shopping. ;-)


Saskia

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Saskia Webster-Zazzi and I’m the Venue Sales and Events Executive at the Museum

How does your day start?
With a piecing horn alarm from my iPhone at 7:15 followed by the snooze alarm at 7:35

How do you get into work?
Nice stroll to the tube station with a quick journey on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines

Breakfast?
On a treat days its Starbucks coffee and a bircher. Normal days I opt for Weetabix

What does a typical day look like?
Get in have my breakfast and start reading my emails the phone is usually buzzing and I may have a number of site visits during the day also.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Just making sure I remember everything, all clients have different requirements and needs and I just want to ensure I don’t let anything slip

What do you love most about your work?
A live event- seeing all the planning come to life and watching the client and their guests enjoy all the facilities of this great museum

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
A packet of Revels on the sofa with a channel four documentary


hannah

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Hannah Steele and I’m an Apprentice on the Young People’s Programme.

How does your day start?
My day is supposed to start at 6:30ish… I don’t allow myself to hit the snooze for more than 15 minutes

How do you get into work?
I live on the border of Essex, so it’s a 25 minutes train journey to Liverpool Street, Then about 20 minutes from there.

Breakfast?
I’m going through a juicing phase at the moment, so it’s normally a bright orange or green juice… nice and healthy; followed by biscuits or crisps… not so healthy, I like to think they balance each other out.

What does a typical day look like?
I get in and check my emails. I then go through the days tasks with Eli: another apprentice, we decide who’s going to take on what and which tasks we’ll handle together. At the moment we’re planning a project; taking on young volunteers to curate two new handling trollies for the museum, so a lot of the work we’re doing is focussed on recruiting the young people. At lunchtime I like to get out for some fresh London air.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Letting go of some ideas after a brainstorm as sometimes we have to let go of some really great ones; they can be quite outlandish.

What do you love most about your work?
I love working with other young people, it’s easy to get a lot done as everyone has great ideas to throw around; we manage to have crazy brainstorming sessions but end up with something succinct and creative. I’m really looking forward to getting the young volunteers on board and mapping how they develop through the process. I’m on the wrong end of the young person spectrum, so it’s cool to be with people that remind me that I’m still just beginning life.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Two days a week I lurk around after work and wait for my dance classes to start at Pineapple, handy that it’s round the corner. On other days it’s home and films or out with friends, I often sneak a cheeky shopping excursion in too.


Julie

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
Julie Lynn, Venue Sales and Marketing Manager

How does your day start?
Usually my 5 year old wakes me up dressed in a superhero outfit, which I have to prise off him and change for his school uniform

How do you get into work?
I walk to school to drop the superhero off then get a train from Three Bridges to Waterloo.

Breakfast?
It used to be sausage buttie but I’ve gone all health conscious at the moment and so as from 4 weeks ago it’s been a banana and Orange Juice…

What does a typical day look like?
Emails, voicemails from clients who are hiring the venue for special events, marketing spend and budgets, spread sheets galore (its year end just now)

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Year end! Juggling full time job with parenting and 3 hour commute.

What do you love most about your work?
Definitely the people I work with but also getting to meet so many people with interesting ideas for their events in our space and helping make it happen for them

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Eli

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Eli Bligh-Briggs and I am one of the Young People’s Programme Apprentices

How does your day start?
Waking up to ‘Wake Up’ (Rage against the Machine) and my dog, Ellie – bowties, braces, pocket watch I’m ready to go!

How do you get into work?
I stroll to the train station and walk further down the platform in the hope of getting a seat in a luggage area on the ever crowded Orpington-Charing Cross line!

Breakfast?
Today included Roundel Birthday cake, dolly mixture birthday cake and Cheerios at my desk in wonderful breakfast company ;-)

What does a typical day look like?
Busy, fun and most of all stupidly exciting with my amazing colleagues and Hannah, the other YPP apprentice. We are working on a Young volunteer project at the moment, as well as curating a new display case. Hannah and myself take lunch usually in Actors Church Gardens as the weather is beautiful. We are also about to launch a new young volunteers project. Later today we have a meeting regarding the Carnival Late Event which sounds super exciting!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
My biggest challenge is my own confidence, but the training and HUGE amount of support here at LTM is crazy and it is growing day by day. ALSO trying not to eat cake is one of the most challenging things ever working here, I LOVE cake and there is ALWAYS cake!

What do you love most about your work?
I love why we are doing what we do, how we are doing it and how many doors it is opening and barriers it’s smashing down. I love the people I work with. And of course I LOVE MUSEUMS!

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
On the train I check my project blogs, feeds and twitters, write/research for my paper and cuddle in front of the fire with Ellie


Caroline

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Caroline MacVay and I work at the Museum as a Curator

How does your day start?
To get to my desk I have to climb four flights of stairs, which wakes me up and saves on Gym membership.

How do you get into work?
In the morning I walk to Crystal Palace station, where I catch the train into London Bridge and then on to Charing Cross.

Breakfast?
Breakfast is often a banana, which I grab on my way out of the door and eat on the way in.

What does a typical day look like?
Typical days don’t seem to happen in this job, which is what I love about it. Today I am working at the Museum in Covent Garden. I will be answering enquiries about the collection, working with the Museum’s Apprentices and writing exhibition text for a new display.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging and pleasurable part of my job is to keep learning about London Transport and to find new ways to show off the London Transport Museum’s amazing collection.

What do you love most about your work?
I love taking groups around the poster and art store at the museum’s depot in Acton. Meeting new people is fun and you get to delight and amaze them with the collection. It’s also a great opportunity to learn new things from other enthusiasts.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I relax when I get home by watching really good or really bad TV, depending on how stressful the day has been.


Marilyn

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Marilyn Greene and I am one of the Public Programme Managers at the London Transport Museum

How does your day start?
I am usually woken up early by the light streaming in to my room but try to get back to sleep until about 7.30

How do you get into work?
Bus and tube or walk and tube if the weather is good.

Breakfast?
Coffee and two slices of toast normally with natural peanut butter or Marmite on

What does a typical day look like?
I have another coffee when I get to work and then I check e mails and my diary.  I organise events for adults so I am researching suitable activities often on line, researching images, timetabling events and liaising with event providers including curators and sometimes volunteers and with the Marketing and Operation teams about the content, advertising and the set- up of events.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Some of the work involves working on risk assessments for off-site events where nothing is straight forward.

What do you love most about your work?
The feedback from happy customers who have enjoyed the event and activities we have organised.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I’m often rushing to other meetings in my local community but otherwise I like to make sure I cook a quick meal and watch selected TV programmes and/ or talk to friends on the phone. (I don’t normally get to sleep before 12.30!)


memet

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Memet Bunyan and I am Retail Manager at the Museum.

How does your day start?
My 4 years old daughter is my alarm clock: without an exception, she always wakes up at around 6am!

How do you get into work?
W7 and then Piccadilly line from Finsbury Park

Breakfast?
School run dictates this. If I am lucky, some marmite on toast and an unfinished cup of tea.

What does a typical day look like?
My normal day starts with the previous days’ stats and then I go through my emails, then I make my way down to the shop floor.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Finding the killer product to sell in the shop!

What do you love most about your work?
Product development and numbers: I love numbers!

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Unwinding: what’s that??


Noel

Who are you and do at the Museum?
Noel Coleman, Im the ICT Projects Manager at the Museum.

How does your day start?
It starts around 5:20am, train at 6:20 then exercise in a park near work starting at 7:30am for 45 minutes.

How do you get into work?
I live in South East London and get a national rail network train in to Charing Cross.

Breakfast?
Typically porridge, fruit and a protein shake

What does a typical day look like?
I get to work, having checked my emails on the way in. I line up which tasks need to be completed today. This generally involves lots of meetings, discussions and testing. I hit the gym at lunch time then get back to whatever tasks I’ve set for the day.

What’ the most challenging part of your job?
Adjusting to new technologies very rapidly, over the past few years and the advent of cloud computing technology and how it’s used moves significantly more rapidly than I’ve ever experienced.

What do you love most about your work?
For a local authority museum we’re considered pretty cutting edge technology wise. We’re just about to move all of our desktops to virtual desktop platform, I gather we’re one of the first museums in the country to do this.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I get in around 7-8pm and watch a few episodes of whatever TV program I’m currently watching, currently Game of Thrones.


helena2

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Helena Callow and I am one of the Youth Travel Ambassador Coordinators based at the museum (the noisy lot on the 4th floor).  I cover the whole of south east London, which includes 8 boroughs and 25 schools.

How does your day start?
Wake up at around 6:30am, eat breakfast, shower and normally end up running to the station because I leave too late, literally leaving 2 minutes earlier would make such a difference

How do you get into work?
Depending where I am first thing, I would usually get the train to the office, but I often bus it if I’m at a school.

Breakfast?
Porridge and a cup of tea…same every day, just change the flavour of the porridge

What does a typical day look like?
It really depends where I am. If I am office bound I struggle all the way up to the 4th floor and then recover for a few minutes. I get the lap top out go through my emails and then do all my follow up work for each of my schools.  However the majority of the time I am travelling around south east London visiting the YTA students in each of my schools, running workshops and facilitating them through the project.  In between schools, if I am too far away from the office, I find myself setting up my own mini office in a Starbucks (other coffee shops are available) somewhere. In this job I am always on the go, but I love it!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The constant travelling and dealing with so many different people – from students, to teachers, to borough officers to my own colleagues.  It can get very confusing at times juggling all the different projects.

What do you love most about your work?
Working with young people and being about to see them grow with confidence throughout the project.  I get to work with so many different schools giving me a wide spectrum of young people to work with.  I love that I am not office bound all the time.  Of course, my colleagues are great too J

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I get home at around 6:50pm, have some dinner and watch TV.  Most people may think having caffeine before bed is silly, but I need my 9:30pm cup of tea to unwind.


Stuart

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Stuart Umbo, I’m the Schools and Families Officer. I manage the events for schools and families

How does your day start?
With great difficulty. The hardest thing I have to do all day is claw myself out of bed

How do you get into work?
Public transport of course! I work for London Transport Museum! 91 bus followed by a short ride on the Piccadilly Line.

Breakfast?
Canned fruit at my desk. Minimal preparation. Maximum vitamins

What does a typical day look like?
A strong coffee and breakfast at my desk whilst I reply to emails. No one day is like the next in my job. It might be checking in with our workshop developers to see how they’re getting on with producing the next event for the school holidays, developing resources for visitors with special educational needs or helping write exhibits for our latest exhibition

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Time! There’s just not enough of it

What do you love most about your work?
I love London. And I get to discover something new about it every day. Working with the LT Museum’s collection is a real honour.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Depends on what type of day I’ve had. Occasionally I might take out some frustrations on the squash court. But more often I can be found frequenting one of the pubs of North London


Siobhan

Who are you and do at the Museum?
My name is Siobhan Ion and I am the Marketing and PR Executive.

How does your day start?
My alarm usually wakes me at about 8am. It usually takes me a couple of attempts to get me up though. I’m definitely more of a night owl!

How do you get into work?
I jump on the Piccadilly line in from Finsbury Park which generally allows me to have a bit of time to read one the many books I have on rotation.

Breakfast?
I eat breakfast at my desk – muesli, yogurt and fruit. That is usually done around 11am after I have got into the swing of things for the day.

What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different here – I spend my days doing things such as writing and editing copy, working on the e-newsletter, making and answering advertising enquiries, sending images, talking to media, and going to various meetings – the list is endless.

What’ the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping track of everything. With so many things going on I have so many lists!

What do you love most about your work?
LTM is such a dynamic place that there is always something new and fun happening.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I try and get to a dance class or the gym after work then will usually catch up with friends, cook dinner, do a bit of reading and then fall into bed around midnight.


Harry

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
My name is Harry Young and I’m an apprentice working on the Battle Bus project that the museum is running through 2014

How does your day start?
Wake up 7:15 and ram my breakfast down, make sure I’m ready and then head out to the station at 8ish.

How do you get into work?
I get the train from Dartford to Charing Cross and then walk along the strand to Covent Garden.

Breakfast?
Nice big bowl of cornflakes and a cup of tea.

What does a typical day look like?
I usually get into the office around 9:30, check my emails and my schedule for the day and then get to work on whatever I need to do. Break times are usually spent at Denmark St. or around Covent Garden as I like to get some fresh air.

What’ the most challenging part of your job?
Currently I’m planning the talks, tours, the display vehicle and the volunteers activities that will go with the Battle Bus, so it’s mainly having all these great ideas, but trying to make them work.

What do you love most about your work?
I work at London Transport Museum and that’s pretty cool all on its own. But I would say seeing the Museum in full swing full of people is nice to see too.

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
I usually get home around 7 but to unwind I usually sit back and play my guitar whilst watching my favourite YouTube personalities.


Ed

Who are you and what do you do at the Museum?
I’m Edward Currie and I’m Museum technical support

How does your day start?
Woke up by my daughter usually wanting to play

How do you get into work?
C2C from Southend then walk from Fenchurch Street if sun is out. If not, District Line.

Breakfast?
Porrige and coffee

What does a typical day look like?
Repairing faults in gallery setting up AV for clients

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Fault finding resolving problems that occur

What do you love most about your work?
The different jobs not always the same thing and the people you work with

How do you unwind after a hard day at the office?
Watch In the night garden after daughters bath then falling asleep on the couch

A Live Steam Bus!

This weekend, on Saturday 15 and 16 Sunday March, the Museum Depot at Acton will be opening its doors for its bi-annual Open Weekend. A highlight of the event promises to be the attendance of Walter Hancock’s Enterprise replica steam bus. A faithful replica of the 1833 original, it will be a rare opportunity for the public to see this pioneering bus up close.

Enterprise_2014_2
Enterprise Replica in Covent Garden Piazza on Friday 14th March 2014

Walter Hancock’s Enterprise was built by Walter Hancock of Streatham for the London and Paddington Steam Omnibus Company. The vehicle represented the first mechanically propelled passenger bus, entering service on 22 April 1833. It ran a regular service between London Wall and Paddington via Islington and required three men to operate it: a driver, an engine man to control the water and a fireman. With the driver perched at the front and the rest of the crew positioned at the back, it must have been a challenge to communicate with each other.

enterprise_1883
Illustration of the Enterprise steam coach run by the London and Paddington Steam Carriage Company. The engraving shows the steam bus overtaking a lady and gentleman in a horse-drawn carriage with onlookers waving and cheering. A man and a dog run behind the vehicle, unable to keep pace with it, to prove how fast the steam bus travels.

Whilst the top speed was about 20mph, the Enterprise usually cruised at a comfortable 10mph. Up to 14 people could travel on the vehicle, sitting in two rows facing each other. A clever design meant that the fumes were driven away by a fan, ensuring that the exhaust was, in comparison to other steam buses, quite clean. Although others were experimenting with this technology, they tended to be noisy and dirty, with Hancock’s bus a notable exception. The Enterprise was innovative, namely thanks to its pioneering engine configuration and the fact that, unlike Stephenson’s Rocket train of the same era, the working parts were all concealed.

Although the Enterprise service was discontinued due to a dispute between Hancock and the operators, Hancock continued to build steam buses. In 1836 he introduced the famous Automaton, running over 700 journeys between the City of London and Paddington, the City of London and Islington and Moorgate and Stratford. Unfortunately, due to the poor state of the roads and opposition from a powerful horse carriage lobby, Hancock had to cease his public services. He did, however, continue to use his buses for personal use!

As well as its appearance on the Covent Garden Piazza today, the replica Enterprise will be on show and in steam at the Acton Depot Open Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. Come and see a crucial part of bus history in action as we continue to celebrate Year of the Bus. The Enterprise replica is kindly provided by Tom Brogden.

 

Becoming a bus driver…100 years ago!

busdrivertraining

Everyone at London Transport Museum is getting excited about the restoration of the B-type bus. It will be some sight to see it driving the streets of London, and northern France and Belgium, to commemorate the beginning of the First World War. Bus drivers today require special licenses, but what was the situation over a century ago when B2737 was new in public service?

For ordinary vehicles, driving licences were introduced courtesy of the Motor Car Act in 1903. Initially issued by County authorities, it was not until 1930 that they were accompanied by competency tests. However, prospective bus drivers had to complete an extensive programme of training and testing before they were allowed on the road.

Predictably, if you wanted to drive a bus you had to fulfil the criteria for an ordinary driving licence. For example, any applicant had to be a minimum age of 21 years, have a certificate of good conduct for the preceding three years, and provide a medical certificate of personal fitness. It was down to the particular bus companies to enforce more stringent rules to assist with selection. London General Omnibus Company enforced a number of supplementary rules. It raised the minimum age, extended the good conduct requirements to five years, selected married men in preference to single men and selected men with previous driving experience in the streets of London.

Applications were made by letter and likely candidates were interviewed. If a candidate did not already possess an ordinary driving licence he was required to obtain one immediately. Subject to a successful medical, the applicant travelled down to Scotland Yard to apply for a Stage Carriage Licence (to supplement the ordinary driving licence).  The police, in turn, required the equivalent of a P45 and two references.

Once these requirements were successfully negotiated, the candidate would finally go to a garage for training. However, there was still no guarantee of a job afterwards and he did not get paid. Training was spread over about five weeks, with a combination of practical and theoretical teaching. Prospective drivers learned about mechanics, road rules and driving in different environments. Once trained, drivers took police tests and the Public Carriage Licence test. If successful, the driver was finally allotted to a garage for employment where he continued to train and learn.

New Apprentices Visit Battle Bus

On Friday 21 February, Richard Peskett and his restoration team hosted an event for a range of Museum stakeholders to see the progress being made with the restoration of the Museum’s B-type bus. In attendance were key representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the London Transport Museum Friends, Transport for London, bus operating companies and historians. The event was the perfect way to showcase how the restoration of the bus has progressed over the last few months.

Fretwork

It was also a chance to get to meet the team behind the restoration and hear more about its fascinating story.  A number of discoveries have been made since the restoration began including several tickets and newspaper clippings found tucked behind an original seat in the bus body. Also in attendance was a group from the HLF, who had travelled down to take a look at the bus and to meet the apprentices who had started a few weeks before.

moquette

The Museum’s Director Sam Mullins introduced the background to the project and the Museum’s programme for the year ahead, while the restoration team spoke on a range of subjects including how the team uncovered the bus’s unique fleet number B2737 and the work to return the engine to operational working order.

engine

Although the body had not yet been mounted onto the chassis, the visit provided us with a wonderful opportunity to see the beautiful restoration work undertaken on the chassis and the engine. It was thrilling to see parts of the vehicle which won’t be visible when the body is reinstated, such as the gear box and the engine. We were also given the opportunity to see an original seat removed from the body during the restoration, as well as the seating moquette that will be used on the new seats when they are fabricated and the fret work that will accompany them inside the body of the bus.

bus stakeholder visit 3

The event was also an opportunity for myself and Gianna Fiore, as the Battle Bus project apprentices, to witness the project for the first time. We collected feedback from the visitors and both thoroughly enjoyed the event and the chance to meet the key stakeholders in the project.

Even though it is not completed yet it was still impressive to see the bus chassis and the body mid restoration. It was the first time I had seen the bus and after weeks of hearing about it and seeing pictures it was a real thrill to see it with my own eyes. It was equally fantastic to meet the people behind the restoration and hear some of the fascinating stories unearthed during the restoration process.  It was also a pleasure to meet representatives from the HLF who have funded the project, including our Project Grants Officer Laura Butcher, London Committee Member Jennifer Ullman and Wesley Kerr, Chairman of the London Committee. Having now seen the half completed bus, I can’t wait to see the bus in all its glory this summer.

Having visited Haslemere to view the progress of the restoration, Gianna couldn’t wait to get started on the upcoming project. She enjoyed the opportunity to meet all the interesting people involved in the project, incuding the project funders from the HLF (and was fortunate enough to interview some of our guests and get their views on the project.) Gianna discovered that two people had even written books about B-type buses and was excited to find one stocked in our very own library at the Museum.

Written by Harry Young, Battle Bus Project Apprentice

Safety First on the buses

Don't run across the road to catch a bus

The rise of motor traffic in the Edwardian era led to an unprecedented rise in accidents. Pedestrians accustomed to the slow meandering nature of horse vehicles were unprepared for the speed of new buses like the B-type. The increase in accidents sparked a number of public safety initiatives.

Starting in the 1910s, the Safety First campaign used posters to emphasise the correct behaviour passengers and pedestrians should employ when near buses. One poster strictly explained how to alight a B-type bus in a safe manner, whereas others exclaimed ‘look before you leap!’ This latter point seemed to be a common problem, as passengers were accustomed to leaping on and off transport because traditionally it had been so slow-moving. The advent of faster motor buses meant this became considerably more dangerous.

One 1915 poster underlines this problem with speed. It read ‘don’t dodge out in front of a slow moving vehicle unless you have made sure that a fast moving vehicle is not overtaking it’. Graphic drawings and photographic mock-ups of accidents were used as a shock tactic to encourage people to act safely.

Look before you leap

The staff magazine of the time, called Train Omnibus Tram (TOT), also expressed the importance of Safety First and of being cautious while using the transport network. Photos from training classes show instructional Safety First posters plastering classroom walls, and there were awards for drivers whose record was free from accidents. The campaign even had its own publicity emblem – a white triangle with red interior lines and the words ‘Safety First’.

Safety is still a high priority for Transport for London. It runs a programme, based at London Transport Museum, called Safety and Citizenship which aims to promote safe and responsible behaviour amongst young people on London’s transport system. The team visit schools across London, organising activities to improve understanding of safety on the network. Transport for London also runs a continuous safety marketing campaign. Although today’s messages may have slightly different priorities, the notion of responsible behaviour as originally described in the initial ‘Safety First’ campaign is still relevant today.

What’s in a number?

ledger

The identity of a vehicle starts with its chassis and the project team has been fortunate to establish that ours used to be B2737. From scrutinising witness marks (rivet holes) on both side rails, it is evident the chassis once carried a four figure LGOC fleet number starting with ‘B2’. In addition, a second set of screw holes overlaid on top show the remains of where a ‘National Omnibus and Transport Co’ number plate was once fitted. From researching company fleet records, only eleven ex LGOC double decker ‘B’ types starting with ‘B2’ were sold second hand to the National. Of these, just the numerals of B2737 fit all the remaining frame fixing holes in the correct order.

Through answering this most intriguing question, it has been possible to research further the history of our vehicle. Within the depths of our archive there is an old leather bound ledger charting the allocation and disposal of a number of B-type buses. One page notes that B2737 was requisitioned for use by the War Department, not returning to the LGOC until 19 May 1920. It then served for several months as a ‘ Khaki traffic emergency bus’ before being withdrawn from London service on 28 January 1921. Another page notes that on 24 February 1922 our B-type chassis was joined with body number B2364, for onward sale to the National Omnibus Company. Whilst research is still ongoing, it is pleasing to note how a four digit number can help reveal such a wealth of information.

 

On this day in 1920: King George V’s inspection

KingGeorgeV

In 1920 the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) nominated a single bus to represent the contributions of their bus drivers and mechanics who played such an important role during the First World War. The chosen bus was B43, later known as ‘Ole Bill, after a famous wartime cartoon of the same name. Built in 1911, B43 was one of the first London buses requisitioned for the war effort and saw action along the Western Front, in Belgium and Northern France. One of only 240 B-Types to return from France, B43 was refurbished by the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) in 1919 and put into service as a Traffic Emergency Bus, on routes 8 and 9.

On 14 February 1920, the bus was inspected by King George V at Buckingham Palace, becoming the first time the King had boarded a bus. The LGOC staff magazine – Train Omnibus Tram (TOT) – dedicated four pages to the event and it received wide press coverage. Thirty-five LGOC drivers were carried as passengers into the courtyard of the Palace where they were congratulated by the King. As well as the drivers, a number of high profile public figures also attended, along with Lord Ashfield, the chairman of the Underground Group that owned the LGOC.

LTM_galleries

After the King’s inspection, a brass representation of the celebrated cartoon character ‘Ole Bill was attached to the B43’s radiator, along with a name plate and a plaque recording the major battles it was associated with. ‘Ole Bill was created by cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather in 1914-15, depicted as an elderly, pipe-smoking ‘tommy’, complete with a walrus moustache. The cartoons were sometimes controversial, but always extremely popular during the war, raising morale for the troops with ‘Ole Bill himself even starring in his own West End musical in 1917.

‘Ole Bill appeared in the first Armistice Day parade in 1920, and for many years afterward, with a group of surviving LGOC men, as well as special events and funerals for fallen soldiers or LGOC employees. After leaving public service in 1924 ‘Ole Bill was maintained as a kind of mobile war memorial by the wartime busmen’s ‘old comrades’ association.

On May 5 1970 Ole Bill was presented to the Imperial War Museum driven by a veteran. It remained on display there for more than thirty years. As part of London Transport Museum’s Goodbye Piccadilly – From the Western Front to the Home Front exhibition, which focuses on the role of London’s transport during the First World War and the effect of war on the Home Front , ‘Ole Bill will appear at the Museum next to a B-type bus which already resides within the Covent Garden collection.

On this day in 1956: The first ever Routemaster enters service

RM-type bus_blog
RM-type bus No, RM1. The bus is seen with its original  radiator grille (later redesigned) in a procession for the 1956 Lord Mayor’s Show in London. Copyright TfL

The first London Routemaster (RM1) came into service on 8 February 1956. Routemasters remained in full-time service until December 9 2005, showing incredible longevity on London’s busy streets. The Routemaster was conceived as an idea in October 1947, just five months after the first post-war RT buses went into service. The vehicle that emerged from the extensive design process would become a vital part of the capital’s identity.

The design team, headed by Arthur (‘Bill’) Durrant, set out to design a low maintenance bus with performance as good as a private car. The stylish bodywork was designed by Douglas Scott, a freelance industrial designer who had previously worked on one of London Transport’s RF types. Constructed from a lightweight aluminium alloy, following the successful use of the material for aircraft during the Second World War, the metal body frame and stressed skin eliminated the need for a conventional chassis. As well as the bodywork, Scott gave the Routemaster a distinctive moquette fabric design. Matching the colour of the interior, the vivid design remained inviting whether in broad daylight or under the evening tungsten lighting.

The first of four Routemaster prototypes was originally unveiled at the Earl’s Court Commercial Vehicle Show in September 1954. On a snowy February 8 two years later RM1 entered service on route 2 from Golders Green to Crystal Palace. Passenger response was generally positive, with some complaints about spongy seats and unfamiliar noises. A number of alterations were made, including an entirely new engine, and the Routemaster went into full production in 1959.

The Routemaster soon became synonymous with London and it developed into an international icon. Today a fleet of heritage Routemasters ensure their presence has not been entirely removed. Transport for London’s New Routemaster is being gradually introduced onto London’s streets, bringing back the open rear entrance of the original Routemaster and continuing the design heritage of its predecessor.

Poster Parade – I Love London

summeroutings_posterparade
Summer outings by private bus, Verney L Danvers (1925)

This year London Transport Museum is celebrating the Year of The Bus and to mark the centenary of the First World War the Museum is restoring one of the last surviving B-type buses. At the beginning of the War over 1000 operational B-type London buses were commandeered for transporting troops to and from the Western Front. They were also used as ambulances on the front line and even as a mobile pigeon lofts. Once restored to full working order, our Battle Bus will act as the centrepiece for a programme of commemorative events and displays.

Our latest Poster Parade I Love London features 20 posters specially chosen by staff here at the Museum that demonstrate what they love about living and working in London. Included in the poster parade is Summer outings by private bus by Verney L Danvers (1925).

In order to maximise profits at weekends from the late 1920s up until the early 1960s London transport offered many of their vehicles for private hire at a fee. Often these busses were hired out for leisure to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and venture out into the country.

This delightful poster was designed at a time when London’s population was continuing to grow in the early decades of the 20th century and the city expanded rapidly through suburban development at the outskirts of London and into the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey.

Time to indulge in leisure activities was becoming more widely available, not least day trips to the beautiful London countryside of the Home Counties. In London days out by bus were promoted by the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) and included private bus hire as illustrated in the poster.

The excursionists are wearing their Sunday best outfits ready to enjoy a delicious picnic in the bucolic setting of a bluebell wood. Country walks were marketed as a healthy antidote to a week spent in an office or factory. Longer distance ‘rambling’ became particularly popular during the interwar years. The shadows on the pathway show that it is a brilliant sunny day and the image communicates blissful tranquillity and leisure, giving no hint of the undercurrents of the famous General Strike which took place the following year.

The London bus companies also laid on transport for the thousands of Londoners who went to the Epsom Derby every year.

derby

Buses hired out for use at The Epsom Derby, June 1931 showing people sitting eating at a table on board the top deck of B-type bus.

daydrip derby

The Underground Group also organised many such trips on buses and trains to take children all over London.  The charitable outings, often for underprivileged London children, also generated positive publicity for the transport services.

Children’s outing arranged by Dalston bus garage, here the K-type motor buses have been hired out for an underprivileged children’s outing on 17th of August 1927.

Private hire children

Written by Chloe Eden Winter Taylor, Trainee Curator