London Trolleybus #1201 - Its journey into Preservation

Click on picture [899]
for an enlarged version

From: "John King" <>

The picture shows ex-London trolleybus 1201 being used as an office somewhere in the Shepherds Bush circa October 1964. As can be seen the rear has been painted over with the indignation of Shell petrol stickers in the rear window where the trolleybus logo should be.

This photograph was sent to me by Chris East. He would appreciate any comments site visitors may have on this picture.

It certainly looks much better now after restoration doesn't it?

From: "Martin Nimmo" <>

This trolleybus was used mainly for storing spares at a garage in Shepherd's Bush. As you can just see in the photograph, it was repainted white except for the off-side, which faced a wall. It was restored at Sandtoft [largely, or perhaps almost entirely, by Brian Maguire] during the 1990's and now runs at Carlton Colville, where I believe it is owned by the LTPS, who rescued it from Shepherd's Bush in the first place. Apart from the exported and [original] museum vehicles, this seems to have been the only London trolleybus to have escaped the breaker's torch.

From: "Keith White" <>

This was the offices of a second-hand car lot near the "sharp" end of Shepherds Bush Green and the start of Holland Park Avenue, at the top of Holland Road, where the roundabout is now. The side against the wall of the adjacent building remained in LT colours until the vehicle was removed for restoration.

Only found your website fairly recently. I was brought up in Mitcham, live in West Sussex but am involved with the preservation scene and am a London Cab owner-driver, so keep a keen interest in all things wheeled. Keep up the good work.

From: "Brian Maguire" <>

1201 was restored at Sandtoft over an eleven year period by me with little financial support for the mammoth task of bringing the vehicle back to its former glory. Some very expensive mechanical repairs were necessary, and only possible, through the generosity of John Bannister of Isle Coaches at Owsten Ferry. Geoff Griffiths and David Brown [who owns Teeside 291] helped by paying the rent.

Once brought back to running order it made its debut at the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley in 1998 but is now in residence at East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville where it is sometimes the lone vehicle operating to give the public nostalgic rides.

From: "George Moon [LTPS]" <>

Chris asks for comments on the picture. This is the only rear view I have seen of 1201 when in its original position at Welton Auto Services, Shepherds Bush. There are several front nearside views, one of which appears in Ken Blacker's original Trolleybus book of 1974 [page 122]. I wrote a piece about 1201's survival which appeared in Preserved Bus magazine, issue 5.

Briefly, when 1201 was purchased for use as an office and store, Cohen's simply unbolted the gantry complete and cut the cabling, removed the seats and batteries and that was it, so the motor and control gear remained in situ. Tony Belton, later with Fred Ivey who rescue 260, persuaded the new owners not to paint over the number plates or the offside, which was not normally visible.

At some time after the picture of 1964 but before I first saw 1201 in May 1965, 1201 was moved to the rear of the yard and placed in a corner, facing inward so that the offside was still near a wall. It was probably at this time that the front valance was lost, and by May 65 the rear number plate had also been 'swiped' along with one sidelight. My visit in 1965 prompted me, a not-quite-18-year-old schoolboy, to leave my name and address with the proprietor for first option should he decide to dispose of the bus. In due course that led to a meeting with Tony and others involved in what was to become the LTPS. By the time 1201 did become available we were getting ourselves organised at Carlton Colville.

We put down a deposit of 30 for 1201 and paid the balance of 70 on taking it direct to the Museum in August 1968. I repainted it into LPTB colours during 1969 but it remained unrestored until Brian Maguire came along with a sponsored offer to restore it during a ten-year loan to Sandtoft, and it ran at Black Country Museum 1998 Trolleydays on its way back to the EATM where it has lived since. It is the most popular of our three London vehicles with drivers, as the steering is better than the AEC's and it runs well.

The Auto Services site was compulsorily purchased in connection with the Motorway spur that comes down to Shepherds Bush, the site of Weltons now being under part of the roundabout. I hope this will be of interest.

These pictures appear on the Troy's Trams Logo WEB site.

1201 at Welton Autos, Holland Park 24 August 1968   1201 at Welton Autos, Holland Park 24 August 1968
Click on picture [EB1] for an enlarged version Click on picture [EB2] for an enlarged version
The pictures were supplied by Troy Betts [] and are reproduced with permission.
The photographer was Eric Betts.

Eric Betts was one of the stalwarts at Carlton Colville in the early years, travelling there with his family every weekend, and that was before much of the route was made dual carriageway. He helped with the turning and towing of 1201 and the pictures were probably taken on Saturday 24 August 1968 which was the day on which it left Shepherd's Bush, travelling overnight and arriving at the Museum on the Sunday morning.

A reminder of what #1201 looks like now:

1201 operating at Carton Colville
Click on picture [PSG24A] for an enlarged version

From: "Irvine Bell" <>

We are remarkably fortunate that 1201 survived, helping to make the K2s the most preserved class of London trolleybuses [three survive]. Pity that no Bs, Ps, Ms, Ns, Js, etc., survived.

I had the privilege and pleasure to treasure beyond measure of driving 1201 in service at Dudley in 1998.

It is very easy to think of the AEC/MCW L3s being London's last trolleybuses but the all Leyland [except for the electrical equipment] Ks hung on in there too.

From: "John Tuthill" <>

I remember seeing it when I was a kid; unusually it was only painted grey on the nearside. It was the office of a car dealer the site now occupied by the petrol station on the south side of the green.

Check Ken Blackers book on the trolleybus, volume 2, there's a picture of it in there.

From: "Bob Martin" <>

A couple of photos of 1201. I first saw it at Welton Autos, Holland Park in its original position in 1963 only a front view as it was surrounded by cars. The next time was in 1964 when it had been moved to the back wall. I lived in Paddington at the time, but on other occasions when I passed it was usually too difficult to photograph.

1201 at Welton Autos, Holland Park c1963   1201 at Welton Autos, Holland Park c1964
Click on picture [BM1] for an enlarged version Click on picture [BM2] for an enlarged version