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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Thanks to the diamond geezer blog for reminding us that 100 years ago today (2nd of November) was the beginning of London's numbered bus routes, inspired by the Berlin tram system (see what I did there, it's all linked).

Here's the history bit...
100 years ago, in 1908, London's streets were served by several bus companies. Some of these used numbers to designate their services, some used letters and some just listed the destination and hoped their passengers would cope. In July of that year the largest bus operator, the London General Omnibus Company, gobbled up its two largest rivals to create a virtual monopoly. Rationalisation ensued, and on Monday 2nd November 1908 the routes of all three companies were consolidated and numbered. The basis of the new numbering system was that already in use by the Vanguard Motorbus Company, itself inspired by a system one of their managers had seen used on trams in Berlin.

Initially only route numbers up to 20 were used, with 5 and 12 omitted, creating a new bus network which criss-crossed the capital. Some of these eighteen routes were rapidly withdrawn, but others proved considerably more resilient and are still recognisable today. Here's a list of the LGOC's original bus routes, launched exactly a century ago, along with an indication of how much of each survives.

1: Cricklewood - Elephant & Castle [northwest half cut, southeast half extended]
2: Child's Hill - Ebury Bridge [has slid substantially south over the years]
3: Camden Town - Brixton [north end cut, south end extended]
4: Shepherd's Bush - Herne Hill [withdrawn 1909]
6: Kensal Rise Station - Liverpool Street [City service withdrawn 1992]
7: Wormwood Scrubs - Liverpool Street [City service withdrawn 1970]
8: Shepherd's Bush - Seven Kings [switched eastern end with route 25 in 1912]
9: (erm, not sure)
10: Leytonstone - Elephant & Castle [withdrawn 1988]
11: Liverpool Street - Barnes [cut back a bit, but still damned similar]
13: Shoreditch Church - Hammersmith [withdrawn 1909]
14: Stratford Broadway - Putney Station [Stratford end withdrawn 1911, Putney end remains]
15: Shepherd's Bush - East Ham [withdrawn 1909]
16: Victoria Station - Cricklewood [still going strong]
17: Ealing - Plaistow [withdrawn 1958]
18: Leyton - Oxford Circus [withdrawn 1909]
19: Highbury Barn - Clapham Junction [tweaked at each end, still pretty much identical in the middle]
20: Hammersmith - Tulse Hill [withdrawn 1917]

A little more info and links can be found at the link above.

Tags for Forum Posts: london buses

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The 19 is my favourite route in London. Get on early at FP and sit at the front of the bus up the top.
@ John .. The 19 running to Finsbury Park is a relatively new thing!.. The extension from Highbury Barn (see Post) to Finsbury Park only occurred in 1924.

Bus Numbers... I fear this comment will end up being 'nerdy'

Firstly, I supplied DG with missing info on Route 9.. In November 1908 it ran between Kew Green & Shoreditch Church, being extended to Leyton (Bakers Arms) in Dec.1909.

I imagine that as kid, I wasn't the only one fascinated by the Route Numbers on the bus stops as well as the destinations of the buses. It was, I suppose, how I first became 'grounded' in London and was how I found out more about the city.

What's in a name or number? There were many bus destinations on buses that served Tottenham and Harringay and the surrounding area, that sounded exotic to my child's ears:
Southfields Station & Chalk Farm Garage (39) Forty Hill (231) Hadley Wood & Potter's Bar (29) Edmonton(Tramway Avenue)(659). Although Green Lanes at that time was mostly served by trolleybuses and they didn't have very exotic sounding destinations.. Moorgate & Holborn Circus, North Finchley & Winchmore Hill .. but my Harringay favourite was the 171.. both number and destination looked and sounded interesting. 'Forest Hill', I had no idea where it was, but it sounded really cool.

Anyway there were other Route numbers that I always liked, like the Harringay trolleybus replacement route 269, which cleverly showed its parentage, the 629 trolleybus (at least for those of us kids in the know).

Anyway, I could go on and on.. but I won't.. except for mentioning the 236 .. my favourite number of all time and of which I later had the privilege of driving the last bus in service to Stroud Green (The Stapleton) in September 1982

LS230 Route 236

That's where being interested in the bus route numbers landed me!

I'd also recommend this site to anyway interested in London Route Numbers and the 'E plates' used



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