All posts by Girl Nextdoor

On this Day: 17 October 1917

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This staff notice gives details about what would happen to trains in service during an air raid, in particular where they would travel to for safety. Trains were stopped in tunnels if possible and only moved along the track during periods of cessation to allow passengers to disembark. All trains which were forced to stop in the open were to extinguish all lights, but those in the tunnels could keep their lights on for protection.

If you want to know more about how London kept moving during the First World War then come along and visit our special exhibition Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front. http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions

Goodbye Piccadilly: Joe Clough’s Story

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Joe Clough (1887-1976) was not only one of London’s first Black  bus drivers, but he was also  among the first drivers of the  mechanised motorbuses that  replaced the horse-drawn buses.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1887, Clough worked for a Scottish doctor, Dr RC White. When Dr White came over to England, he brought Clough with him and after learning to drive as his employer’s chauffeur, he managed in 1910 to secure a job as a bus driver with LGOC. He drove the Route 11 between Liverpool Street and Wormwood Scrubs.

In 1915, Clough joined the Army Service Corps at Kempston Barracks and drove an ambulance on the Western front in France until the end of the War. Clough was a popular member of the Army Service Corps and he was the captain of the cricket team. Yet as one of few black soldiers, he was sometimes the victim of racism. Demobbed in 1919, he became a member of the Royal Legion and joined the National Omnibus Company at Bedford, where he lived with his wife Margaret. Between the world wars, Clough would drive an open-topped bus in Cambridgeshire every year on Remembrance Day.

Joe Clough’s story can be seen in a video made by a group of young people from the Theatre Royal Stratford East that features in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.

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The story of London’s busmen at the front is also told in our new book by Dr William Ward, Ole Bill – Londons Buses and the First World War.

TELL YOUR STORY

If you have any personal family stories, photographs, mementoes, medals, letters or diaries that you would like to share with us then we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at collections@ltmuseum.co.uk

Bus House Cemetery

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Today Battle Bus visited Poperinge and Bus House Cemetery, a significant historical location for WW1 and the men who took their buses to the Western Front.

“On 29 October 1914, the 1st Auxiliary Omnibus Coy conveyed 28 officers and 750 men of the London Scottish, including the future film star Ronald Coleman, to the first battle of Ypres…One of the London Scottish, Baxter Milne described the journey:

‘The road was abominable and we travelled without lights. Our particular bus was ditched four times, which meant we all got out and pushed. The other buses did not fare much better, but we all helped each other.’

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The London Scottish made a famous bayonet charge in which they suffered fifty percent casualties.  Two buses were lost to heavy shell-fire at St. Eloi.  One of these buses was trapped between the opposing lines and, despite attempts to retrieve it, had to be abandoned.

The site of the action is easily recognised today because the farm alongside it became known as Bus House and the Bus House Military Cemetery is still there. The bus men had to fight their way out of several small skirmishes, and one proudly bore his prisoners back on the upper with the rails adorned by German spiked helmets.”

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Extract from newly published book Ole Bill – London Buses and the First World War

Goodbye Piccadilly: Charles Lee’s Story

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Charles Lee, c.1910

Charles Lee was one of the first bus drivers to volunteer for war service. In September 1914 he left his bus garage in Putney and joined the crews of 70 London buses sent to Dunkirk. The drivers were attached to the Royal Naval Division. Charles Lee’s unit drove soldiers from the docks to the besieged town of Antwerp.  Following the fall of Antwerp, the same buses helped evacuate wounded British soldiers and some were captured by the Germans.

For his services in the First World War Lee received four medals:  British War Medal 1914-1920, Allied Victory Medal 1914-1919, the 1914 ‘Mons’ Star and the Auxiliary Omnibus Companies’ Association medallion.

Other First World War stories feature in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.

web-events-olebill

The story of London’s busmen at the front is also told in our new book by Dr William Ward, Ole Bill – Londons Buses and the First World War.

TELL YOUR STORY

If you have any personal family stories, photographs, mementoes, medals, letters or diaries that you would like to share with us then we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at: collections@ltmuseum.co.uk

Goodbye Piccadilly: World War 1 Facts

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The B-type bus was surprisingly easy to adapt for military use. Many buses were used to transport troops into battle. However the London bus chassis was versatile and could be adapted into a range of specialised vehicles, from ambulances and messenger pigeon lofts to anti-aircraft gun carriages and freight lorries.

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WE’RE CROWDFUNDING!

Can you help get ‘Battle Bus’ to the Western Front? You can get involved and back the project for free by becoming a project Cheerleader and sharing it with friends and family or make a pledge from as little as £20 and in return for your support you’ll receive some exciting and unique rewards!

Find out more: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/battlebus

Navigating Eros in 1919

1  1998-88554 Piccadilly Circus traffic scene dominated by B-type buses. Copyright TfL.
Piccadilly Circus, 1919. In the background the Pathé film, J’accuse, directed by the influential filmmaker Abel Gance (1889–1981) is showing at the Pavilion. It was a spectacular success throughout Europe, using innovative filming and editing techniques and real soldiers as actors.

Recently we’ve received a great deal of feedback on the photograph above which seems to show buses ‘circling’ Eros in Piccadilly Circus the wrong way.

Our Curators were as intrigued as you and decided to take a closer look. Upon further investigation it became apparent that the size and layout of the island in the middle of Piccadilly Circus  – not to be confused with a traditional roundabout – has changed several times since Eros was unveiled in 1893. Before the Second World War there was a more complicated road layout with two-way traffic (in 1919 there were not enough vehicles on the road to warrant traffic lights!). In the photograph this gives the illusion of traffic moving the ‘wrong’ way around a roundabout.

Goodbye Piccadilly: Florence Cordell’s Story

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Florence Cordell in 1916

Florence Cordell was one of the first women to work as a bus conductor in Britain. She, along with hundreds of other women, worked as a ‘conductorette’ for LGOC during the First World War, replacing the men who had left their jobs for war service. Before the war, Cordell worked for Faraday and Son making luxury lampshades but as fighting  continued it became clear that such luxuries were no longer appropriate and she knew her job was in jeopardy.

In 1916 Cordell began training as a bus conductor, taking medical, IQ and maths tests to determine her suitability. She was based at varying locations including Willesden, Twickenham, Turnham Green and Highgate Archway garages. Women conductors earned five shillings a week less than men and they went on strike to demand equal pay.

As with all women who worked on the buses during the war, the end of the fighting in 1918 meant Cordell lost her job as she was replaced by the returning men.

Florence Cordell’s story features in our Goodbye Piccadilly: From Home Front to Western Front exhibition, on until 8 March 2015.

TELL YOUR STORY

If you have any personal family stories, photographs, mementoes, medals, letters or diaries that you would like to share with us then we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at collections@ltmuseum.co.uk

web-sidepanel-batlebus

WE’RE CROWDFUNDING!

Can you help get ‘Battle Bus’ to the Western Front? You can get involved and back the project for free by becoming a project Cheerleader and sharing it with friends and family or make a pledge from as little as £20 and in return for your support you’ll receive some exciting and unique rewards!

Find out more: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/battlebus