Recapturing the best of transport scenes
from the mid twentieth century
Limited Edition Prints of these paintings are available - See bottom of page
|Alms House, North End, Croydon
Actual image size 560*410mm
North End, Croydon
Looking north across George Street to North End in March 1948, Millett's shop at the top of Crown Hill faces the
alms-houses opposite. In the background is Alders and the many shops of Croydon's busy main street. Three years after
the end of the war, austerity and signs of rationing are plain.
Just leaving the short section of single line is Feltham tram 2106, built in 1931 for use in North London. Since 1938, 2106 had regularly carried passengers on the long main-line service 16/18 between Purley and the Embankment.
Beside tram 2106 is AEC Regent bus STL 51, first introduced to Bromley by Thomas Tilling 1932. Taken over by the new London Transport in 1933, STL 51 was transferred to Croydon and withdrawn in April 1948. Beyond the tram a brand-new AEC Regent RT bus waits to continue its journey on route 133 to South Croydon, whilst a green STL country bus on route 409 is almost at the end of its long journey from Forest Row to West Croydon.
In the distance the conductor of tram 395 on local service 42 has already changed his destination blind ready to reverse at the Davis Theatre and return on Croydon's local tram service via Thornton Heath Pond to Thornton Heath High Street.
Tram 2106 was withdrawn in January 1951 and sold for use in Leeds. Croydon's tram services 16, 18 and 42 ran until the night of Saturday 6th April 1951 when they were replaced by buses. From 2000, Croydon's new single-deck trams cross the top of North End as they run from George Street into Crown Hill and Church Street.
|Kingsway Subway Entrance
Actual image size 455*355mm
Looking south from the first-floor window of Barclay's Bank at the end of Southampton Row in April 1949. Tram 1939 has
just climbed the steep ramp from the Kingsway tram subway, the driver clanging his bell to warn the cyclists and barrow
boys of his presence.
Opened first in 1906, only single-deck trams ran through the Kingsway Subway until it was enlarged for double-deckers, re-opening ceremoniously in 1931. Tram 1939 was one of 100 new E/3 type trams built in 1930 for that occasion. From 1931, tram services 31, 33, and 35 ran through the subway from Bloomsbury to the Embankment at Waterloo Bridge, linking Wandsworth with Hackney, West Norwood with Manor House and Highgate with Forest Hill.
A trip through the noisy, darkened subway beneath Kingsway, with its sharp bends under Aldwych, was an exciting and timesaving experience until it closed in April 1952. Only steel-bodied trams were allowed through the subway to limit the risk of fire, and London Transport staff supervised each end.
AEC Regent bus STL 2242 waits beside a taxi, to complete its long journey from South Croydon to Chalk Farm. To the left, six-wheeler AEC Renown LT 67 is on its way empty back to Victoria Garage for minor attention before returning to service. It was withdrawn in the following month. The conductor stands at the foot of the open staircase, hand-signalling the right turn to a cyclist and taxi.
Kingsway has changed little since April 1949, though the trees have matured. The subway ramp and railings still exist and much of the subway still remains beneath Kingsway in part as an underpass for road vehicles.
Tram 1939 lasted until the end of London's trams in July 1952, and was scrapped the following month; Bus STL 2242 was withdrawn in 1950. Bus LT 67 carries on its back the white disc painted on all London buses during and just after the war to make them more visible at night.
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