As part of the restoration of our B-type bus, the Battle Bus project restoration team have been carefully examining an original seat cushion. Intriguingly there were, lodged between the layers of fabric and matting, little scraps of old newspaper. The fragments tell some fascinating stories affecting the everyday lives of Londoners all those years ago.
One contains an advertisement which mentions ‘The Yarmouth Belle’ – a paddle steamer, built in 1898, that regularly sailed between London, Clacton and Yarmouth until the late 1920s. According to the advert, the steamer was due to leave London Bridge at 08.55.
Another fragment describes the cost of a ‘bedstead with bedding’ as 4/-monthly. In today’s money that’s about £15.70 – a far cry from today’s prices! It is interesting to note both cash, or credit was accepted for this item, advertised as an ‘Astounding Bargain’.
A final cutting describes fighting between Reds and Nationalists, with nine people killed and 19 others wounded. The early period of the 20th Century, when B-type buses were first used in London, was particularly turbulent. Although vague in detail, the snippet of information reported clashes, possibly between German Nationalists and Communists. Such incidents were commonplace in an unsettled Central Europe on the eve of the First World War.
It is remarkable to think that a few scraps of newspaper survived for so long, hidden from view since the beginning of the 20th century. As work continues on restoring the bus, the team wonders what other exciting material may await discovery!