London Trolleybus on Route 621 in Holloway Road near Nags Head

From: "Roy Barnacle" <>

Holloway Road near Nags Head
Click on picture [87r] for an enlarged version

Greetings David once again.

I don't wander back to your wonderful site often enough. I never tire of your excellent detailed photographs of those monarchs of the road. But........Are you certain, absolutely sure, have no doubt, definitely think that the photo 87r entitled Jolly Butchers Hill, is indeed and without a doubt, Jolly Butchers Hill??? I loved the picture as I do all of your pictures, but this one definitely seems mis titled. First thing I notice was that the route plates on the bus top showed a bunch of routes that, as far as I know, or rather knew, never went anywhere near Wood Green. 609? 679? Bus 27? 172, which was a replacement for the 35 tram. It looks like Holloway Road near Nags Head to me. Was Shirley commenting on the 521 turning left into Bounds Green Road from the picture, which was a 621 one anyway!

Most of my traveling was done by trolleybuses, rather than buses. I lived at Newington Green, and very fortunate to live where trolleybuses and trams ran together. I loved riding them both but the trolleybuses were my favorite. But when I heard that the trams were going to be scrapped, I would favor them when I had a choice. If we went to pictures at the Angel, Islington, and a 581 or 677 came, I would hold my friends back, telling them a 33 tram would be along soon. The sounds were different on the trams; the grind of steel on steel, the high whining screech as they turned corners, the click of the controllers at the driving end. Of course, I always, but always had to stomp on the warning bell getting off at the other end. Trolleybuses were too classy to have any noise, except for the hiss and click of their booms under the wires. My local routes never didn't end up at a Hampton Court, or a Uxbridge. It was Smithfield Market and West India Docks for the 677, London Docks for the 647, Liverpool St for the 649, Holborn for the 581 and Moorgate for the 641.

I was introduced to trolleybuses at the tender age of 6. My uncle lived at Palmers Green, and was based at Wood Green depot [at the real Jolly Butchers Hill] and he would tell my Mum of his Saturday duty and approximately when he would be at Mildmay Park, and I would wait for his 641 to come along. The conductor always put me up front, so that I would watch my uncle drive.

As a young teen, I always headed for the outer terminals rather than the inner terminals. London's country held a special lure for me. So it was onto the 649 for Waltham Cross, then pre M25 and housing estates. That long straight trip through Stoke Newington, Tottenham and the Spurs ground, Edmonton, across the North Circular, past Tramway Avenue [I always though they should have renamed it Trolleybus Avenue when they replaced the trams!]. I always marveled how those huge trolleybuses negotiated the ancient Queen Eleanor's Cross on their way to the terminus.

The 609 took me to Barnet, where the countryside began soon after the bus turnaround at Barnet Church. Once more it was up an ancient route, the old A1, past Highbury, the so commercial Holloway Road, where we were joined by the Kings Cross group, 517/617 521/621 to accompany us to North Finchley North London with trolleybus wires and trolleybuses under them EVERYWHERE. The 611 left us at Archway, their short wheelbases climbing to the Village at the top of Highgate Hill. That terminus took me to the wonderful open spaces of Highgate and Hampstead.

On the other side of the river, it was a 33 tram to Westminster, then the 16/18 to Purley. The two highlights of this trip was the white knuckle ride down the Kingsway tunnel, and the change pits at Tooting, [or was it Streatham?]. The trolley pole would be unlatched from the question mark hook, put onto the wire and then the tram would start up, with the plough often rocketing out in the slotted rail, to the pit changer. I always tried to ride on the wonderful Art Deco'd Felthams, with their soft streamlined edges and comfortable rides. And oh those air brakes.

Other country rides were Hampton Court on the 604 with their 8 foot bodies, Edgware on the 645 and Woodford for blackberry picking.

Yes I miss those trolleybuses. Sure you couldn't hear them coming in the London pea soupers, and if the power went or the wires came down, they went nowhere, and they never did get through the Kingsway tunnel. But they were magnificent, double decked palaces to this small boy, who saw them as red and cream steeds to ride the nitty gritty streets of North East London on his way to what was then traffic free streets and unspoiled countryside.

Thank you again for a wonderful site.

Roy Barnacle

From: "David Bradley, Webmaster"

Have taken on board your observations and altered the web pages accordingly