London Trolleybus and Traction Engine in King Street, Twickenham

 King  Street, Twickenham - 1962
Click on picture [329] for an enlarged version
 King  Street, Twickenham - 2003
Click on picture [Pr1] for an enlarged version

From: "Ken & Ann Spragg" <>

I'm preparing a talk on my life as a child during World War 2 and found your delightful site. I used to live close to Fulwell Bus Garage. Trolley buses remain a vivid memory. Do you allow your pictures to be printed or can I buy one? I would like picture 329 and also the one in Kingston Road, Teddington. So glad I came across this site - sheer luck! Many thanks for stirring happy memories.

From the late: "chris 'fufas' grace"

Twickenham was served by through trolleybus route 667 and a terminating route 601, so the view of a trolleybus there displaying route 605, with a correct destination of Wimbledon, is a bit of a mystery. Visitors to this page may care to comment on this anomaly.

I remember buses frequently changing between routes 604 and 605, often en-route, as the conductor was able to change the route blind without opening the blind box, unlike on the RT and RM buses of the time. Trolleybuses had a window on the inside of the blind box so you could see what the destination was from inside. Once again, this was different from ordinary buses where only the ultimate destination blind had markings on the inside [for the driver's periscope]. On the buses the conductor had to hinge the whole intermediate and route blind back into the bus to change anything.

Fred Paine's undertakers in the rear of the picture is on the corner of a narrow road which runs down to the Thames and Snapper's Bridge over which, for a toll of 2d, one could visit Eel Pie Island.

There was a Hennekey's on the photographer's right and a friend of mine had a flat above a Butcher's shop in the parade of shops shown. He had a party there where I met my first wife, which is why I'm in New Zealand.

What with Eel Pie Island, Hennekey's and my first wife I have good reason to remember Twickenham High St!

From: "Richard Preddy" <>

I went out with the intention of replicating the original pictures. Sadly, to get them framed the same would have meant standing somewhere a little too dangerous. Here's a rough approximation anyway. I've sent it at a reduced quality so it doesn't clog up your inbox too much.

Reproduced with many thanks - It's fine as it is. DCB

From: "Ron Plunkett" <>

Just a short note to let you know how much I am enjoying your site. As a Driver at Fulwell Garage, London United, I have driven all of the present routes out of the Garage including the ex Trolleybus Routes, i.e. 281/267/131 [601/667/605]. It is amazing to look at areas that I know well, as I have passed them many times often in a day, and realize that I don't know them well at all. The only thing that is missing from your website is a picture of the whole turning circle at Twickenham, in the High Street. I would love to see a picture of this junction as from today's road layout I cannot see how it was done. Of course I appreciate that the road layout has changed greatly since the days of the trolleybus.

In my youth, I can just remember my Saturday afternoon treat. This was a 607 Trolleybus from the HAYES [The Grapes] to West Ealing shops. After a certain amount of traipsing around the shops after Mum/Dad and Nan/Grandad, us kids were allowed to play in the park by the cinema and then if we had been really good we were allowed an Ice Cream from Rossi's Ice cream shop, where they sold soft ice cream. Then of course it was the trolleybus back to Hayes. That's what looking at sites like yours is, memories.


Shown here is an extract from the LPTB "Map of Routes" for
Trolleybuses & Trams that was issued free in 1946.

From: "Peter Golds" <>

L3 1502 is on a Sunday working of the 605 which was extended from Teddington to Twickenham from 1959. Significantly the replacement 285 was extended at both ends following conversion.

 King Street, Twickenham
Click on picture [328] for an enlarged version

Comment by David Bradley:

Mike Elvey restored the traction engine so that it was fit to run on a public road once more, having passed its boiler inspection [a kind of MOT], it was duly taxed and insured. Only one problem, Mike did not have a licence to drive that 'group' of vehicle.

He took a test at the local driving centre on an unsuspecting driving examiner who had great difficulty in coming to terms with how to conduct the test. Refusing to ride on the engine, a kind of motor cycle test followed, which took most of the morning! With no bench mark for emergency stops, or three point turns, for traction engines it was difficult to find fault with his driving ability. I think he gained his pass certificate purely on the grounds of already holding a car and motor cycle licence.

From: "Michael Nancollas" <>

Just a note to say how many memories you have brought back with the 667 and 601 routes. I used to live in King Street Twickenham, first over J&M Stone later Curry's at 27a King Street 1946-1957 and latterly in the early 1960's living over No 31a Bates the Butchers. I can always remember the soft whine of the 601 on its first trip of the day, sleeping just above the bus stop it always used to wake me up. Being a photographer I can hardly think why I never took a photo of the busses that passed me every day, so alas I have no photographic memories to pass to you.

Lewis Mould who live over the Dunn hat shop at 29a King Street, had a café in Water Lane called the Lynton Cafe, where the 601 drivers always used to have their morning cups of tea, breakfasts lunches etc. They were always given priority so that the busses weren't delayed. I remember the tables had dark green tiles on them and were varnished a dark brown. at busy times there was an upstairs with about 4 more tables. I always used to go in on the way to school and he used to slip me a slice of bread and a piece of bacon or a sausage to eat on the way. His assistant Essie or Esta always used to swat me with the tea towel as I ran out often nearly late for school.

Outside of Woolworth's in Twickenham was the electronic points system which transferred the 667 busses up the London Road and allowed the 601 to turn at the end of their run in front of Barclays Bank to park outside of the Kings Head pub where they waited for their cups of tea for their break. I can remember being guilty of hitting the points button just after the 667 left, thus changing the points, so its pantograph slid over to the 601 track and came off the wires as it maintained its normal route. A cross conductor had to remove the long pole from the underneath of the bus where it was kept in a long tube, to reattach the pickups to the correct wires before moving off again.

It wasn't unknown for a 667 to briefly stop blocking all the traffic whilst a conductor ran down to the Cafe to pick up a bacon sandwich and to fill their flask with tea.

I hope this is of interest to someone.