The London Bus Museum
is housed at Cobham Hall in the Brooklands Museum
, and I paid it a flying visit during my trip to Brooklands. As a child I was slightly infatuated with buses, or rather with toy buses, but I shall deny everything. My own experience with buses in Johannesburg I posted about in October 2012
, and I expect it is rather different from the experience that people in the UK had. Still, old buses are great to see because they do not have that sleek self important look of todays eco-friendly wi-fi enabled people carriers.
The first buses I saw (apart from one which I messed the pic of) was this pair, and the blue BOAC liveried one was really quite odd, I would have liked to have had a better look at her, after all, when last did you see something with BOAC on it?.
The museum is next to the field where the aircraft are housed, and a line up of three generations was waiting for passengers (or munchkins?).
The museum itself is in a very good condition (and free), and you just follow the arrows to discover the history behind the ubiquitous red London bus, or rather, the London bus, because not all of the London buses are red.
And some were not powered by diesel either. This one was marked Camberwell, and I lived very close to Camberwell when I was living in London in 2013, and the bus service there was excellent.
Fortunately the horse driven bus was replaced by the motor bus and things have never been the same since, although the pollution is very different between a horse and an engine.
I suspect this one started its career as a single decker, and was modified into a double sometime in its life.
I really liked the 1968 Bedford Ambulance they had on display, it carries a London Transport logo and was used as a staff ambulance at the Aldenham Bus Works.
and of course this 1959 mushy pea green Ford 300E general purpose van
Although this interesting minimalist bus below does seem to take cost-cutting a bit too far. I expect it is some sort of driver training vehicle, or maybe some sort of big boys toy?
And yes, if you are not careful they will gang up on you.
It is not my intention to show every bus in the museum, that is what the museum is for, but my one gripe was that very few of the buses was open so that you could have a look at their interiors, although most buses probably look very similar on the inside.
And those that I did get on board were very similar to what we had back in South Africa when I was a child. The modern London bus is a different beastie altogether, with a lot of the lower deck taken up by areas for prams and wheelchairs and lots of scowling women or people talking loudly on their cellphones.
In fact I was looking through my pics and could find very few images of new buses that I took in London, although I do recall doing walking speed one rush hour on board one, and there were more buses in that street than I had ever seen at any one point in my life.
What of the future? the “Borisbus” seems to be the new face of buses in London, although it does lack a certain charm and businesslike appearance. If anything it looks politically correct.
I was only able to get up close to one in Salisbury and I asked at the museum whether there were any plans for acquiring one, but the reply was in the negative. It takes many years for an object to become a classic, and the red Routemaster buses in London have been classics for many years. In fact, when you think of London you think of red Routemasters rounding Trafalgar Square. Its not a bad museum, but not the sort of place to spend a lot of time in. Kinda like a bus, in peak hour traffic.
© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 25/04/2016