London Trolleybus on route 611 climbing Highgate Hill

Highgate Hill
Click on picture [158] for an enlarged version

From: "Brendan Cassidy" <>

By pure luck I stumbled on your trolley bus photo no 158 on the internet, it is of particular interest to me for several reasons. I was born at 95 Highgate Hill, which was roughly in line with the rear of the bus in the photo, now long since demolished and currently the site of the Psychiatric wing of the Whittington. The motorcycle parked in the right foreground is an ex army WW2 Royal Enfield 175cc that belonged to my Dad [Thomas Cassidy], he has been dead some 30 yrs and the bike was stolen some fifteen years before he died. I still have the canvas bag you can see on the carrier, those army bags are virtually indestructible!

Number 95 and 93 were semi detached, next door was Frances sweet shop and tobacconist and next door to that was the Whittington Cat pub. The church opposite was St Andrews Presbyterian Church, I think, I can remember it being demolished. My Dad bought a load of the kneelers from the demolition men and used the timber in our second house on Harberton Road.

My grandfather on my Mums side [Alfred Thomson] lived at 95 before my parents moved in, he was quite a character, he ran away from home during the first world war and joined up at 13 yrs of age having been told to "rethink" his date of birth by the recruiting sergeant; he was in the infantry, a front rider on the gun carriages, and survived where most others had very short army careers. After the war he had a variety of jobs one of them being a bus driver; he boasted that he was the first driver to drive either a tram or trolley bus up Highgate Hill. Whether this is true or the ramblings of what I remember as a very bitter and difficult pensioner, I am not sure.

Finally, I can distinctly remember the trolleybus cable poles being rooted up over the course of several nights when the new diesel buses were brought into service, I can also remember the man with the huge bamboo pole who seemed to be always replacing fallen conductor poles at the bottom of Highgate Hill!

Have you a date for the photo? My estimate is that it was taken about 1961, I would have been about 9 or 10 yrs old.

Comment from David Bradley

Route 611 ceased on 20 July 1960. I have no accurate date when the picture was taken but was most likely between April 1959 and June 1960.

From: "Kim Hawkins" <>

I was particularly interested in this picture of a trolleybus trundling its way up Highgate Hill, not least because I used to attend St. Joseph's RC Junior School in the late 70's, which is sited about where you were standing to take the photograph. I remember the old houses on the right of the picture being demolished, and the new psychiatric wing of the Whittington Hospital being built, with its imposing and quite frightening [for a nine year old] tower with its two air vent slits for 'eyes'.