Carshalton 2007

Memories of the area


We're happy to share the memories of those who recall the buses we are running on the day. 

Contributors are:

Dave Kreisler

William George Robert

John Parkin


Dave Kriesler kicks off with the following:

My first recollections of an interest in buses was when I used to have my hair cut with my cousin (who lived in Carshalton Grove), in the barbers almost opposite the Trolleybus Depot and kept getting told off for turning round every time a trolley passed!  I also remember one journey over to visit my cousin when the 654 driver was going a bit too fast approaching the Windsor Castle traffic lights and a trolley boom parted company with the wire and we came to a unscheduled halt half-way across the junction.
At age 4 1/2 in 1955 I started at Cavell House School further down Sandy Lane South from my home.  I remember Mum used to sometimes perch me on the saddle of her bike to take me there, after which she rode back home.   When I was about 7 Cavell House closed and I transferred to Collingwood School for Boys in Maldon Road (juniors) and later Springfield Road (seniors).  I used to walk down by myself by then, and recollect a particularly icy winter morning with a thick layer of snow on the ground. I slipped over outside Boots the Chemist which was then just before the bridge at Wallington Station, and slid all the way to the bottom of the hill, under the bridge.  I was loaned a pair of shorts from the school stock while mine were dried in front of the coal fire in the classroom!    
If it was raining when leaving school I was allowed to catch a 234A home for 2d.  The stop nearest to my home was a request stop, and as I could not then reach the bell I had to ask the driver "Next stop please".     When I was a bit taller I used to sit in the raised portion near the back (over the wheelarch was the highest part) so that I could reach the bell!  [I remember the same problem - Ed]
In 1963 I moved to Glastonbury Secondary School for Boys at Morden (Rosehill actually, but Morden sounded better I suppose). I then had the choice of a 154 via Sutton, or the slightly quicker 157 via Carshalton.     I received a Phillips Cassette Tape Recorder for a birthday and recorded the sounds of the RT one morning.
At some point the 234 was operated by 2 RMs on Sundays, the usual ones seemed to be RM1247 and I think 1258, but I well remember one day seeing brand new RM1900 and had to have a ride on it, presumably on our way home from church.
Latter days on the 472Just one point, you mention one RT on the 472 Hospital Route, but for a number of years there were 3 RTs on both Wednesdays and Sundays, about 15 minutes apart I think.  Also, on reaching Netherne Hospital, 2 of the buses parked up and the crew went off to the staff canteen, and the other did a shuttle up and down the winding hill from Star Lane, Hooley to the hospital to meet the visitors travelling by the normal 405 and 414 routes.   (Presumably the crews took turns to do these, but I didn't note if they used their 'own' buses or if they all used the same one).     The route was later reduced to I think 2 RFs and then 1 RF as the hospital was run down.
Leatherhead's RF621 seen in Wallington in about 1974.
Photo © John Parkin

William George Robert is one local busman who is looking forward to reliving old memories on 15 April. William joined London Transport as a conductor in 1947, converted to driving in 1955 and developed his career serving the area covered by our Running Day, including stints at Carshalton and Croydon.


William drove many types including the STL, RT, RTL, RM and RF. He found the RF a good bus to drive but, with the cab in the saloon, the ability to chat with his conductor could be a mixed blessing - depending with whom he was crewed - and there were times when the isolation of an RT cab was a welcome relief.


William worked his way through the ranks of Inspector and Garage Inspector, eventually becoming Garage Manager at Sutton and later Croydon, retiring in 1987. He recalls his concern that, having previously been ‘one of the lads’ at Sutton, involved in football and other social activities, he might get the cold shoulder when he returned there in a managerial position. But his fears proved groundless and he was welcomed back into the fold as if he had never left. Maybe it helped that his own father-in-law was one of the drivers at Sutton at the time.


Looking back to his early conducting days, William remembers one incident at Morden Station that took a bit of sorting out. In those days, intending passengers could board the bus while it was on lay-over in the bus station, and it was common practice for conductors to get a head start by collecting fares before the bus set off. William had duly issued tickets to a bus-load of passengers, only to see his driver emerging from his break and climbing into the cab of the adjacent bus - the one that William was supposed to be conducting!


From his time as a driver, William recalls the occasion when he and his conductor had crewed an 80A to Walton on the Hill (that would be in RT days) and, with time in hand, left the bus on the stand to take a little stroll across the local country footpaths to admire the view. Unfortunately, they got lost on the way back to the bus and William ended up tearing back to Sutton in half the scheduled time so the inspector was none the wiser.


Happy memories, and we hope William and other former LT staff enjoy the day along with enthusiasts and other local people.

John Parkin, local photographer, writes:

I was born in Carshalton, Surrey on 2nd July 1950 and my early journeys were made entirely by public transport, my parents never owing a car. It was a long walk to school in Woodmansterne, in all weathers, from the family home on what were called “the Smallholdings” on the telegraph track in Little Woodcote. The nearest bus services were the RF operated 213 (Belmont-Kingston) in Beeches Avenue for trips to Belmont for walks across the Downs; the RT buses on the 234 (Wallington-Selsdon) and RF on the 234A (Hackbridge-Purley, Old Lodge Lane) from the stop at Woodcote Green for trips to Purley, perhaps to see the new Norman Wisdom films and of special interest was the trolleybus stop at Boundary Corner, served by route 654. The 654 ran from Sutton Green to Crystal Palace and regular trips were made into Croydon on a Saturday afternoon for the shops and on Sunday morning for church at the former George Street Congregational Church, a building that was subsequently demolished. Occasional journeys were made into Sutton with my brother Norman for Saturday morning pictures at the Granada cinema in Carshalton Road. Sadly demolished many years ago now, the Saturday morning pictures offered cartoons, films and serials at sixpence (2 ½ p) with free admission on birthdays and at Christmas. There was a turning loop for the trolleybuses at Boundary Corner. It was the extensive use of the 654, which led to a lifelong interest in trolleybuses.


In subsequent years I travelled to school by RT buses on route 157 (Raynes Park -Crystal Palace), a route that had been extended to Crystal Palace with the withdrawal of the trolleybuses. Between 1959 it ran via Stanley Park Road, Boundary Corner, Boundary Road and Park Lane; however it was diverted via Parkgate Road, Wallington Station and Woodcote Road, following the lowering of the road under the bridge at Wallington Station in 1966. Route 154 was normally the starting point for Red Rover trips, often on a Saturday with friends from school. I would also make use of the Green Rovers, perhaps starting on the 403 from Wallington into Sevenoaks.


On leaving school in1968 I commuted to Epsom by train; however when Go-As-You-Tickets (available on bus and Underground) were made available to British citizens, I took advantage of this and used the 213 and 164 routes to travel into Epsom.


When I joined London Transport in 1973 I received the very valuable staff pass (there was not the same availability of system wide Travelcards and Bus Passes that exist in 2007) and with regular bus journeys, notably still on the 154, I got to know very many of the drivers at the local garages – Sutton, Merton, Thornton Heath and Croydon, but with the passage of time the majority of these will have retired and sadly in many cases have passed on.


Over a number of years I have had a fascination in riding last journeys (and in some cases the first of the new order), normally with a conversion to one-man operation or the withdrawal of a route number in its entirety.  A list is here.


I have worked on the railways since 1990 and settled into nearby Carshalton Beeches Station, where the wheel has turned a full circle, for this was the nearest station to where I was born, a station I used in my childhood and I helped to celebrate the centenary of the station on this site in 2006.


I am having a book published during this summer under the title “Roving Round London’s Buses” (by the Ravensbrook Press), containing approximately 300 photographs from my collection of pictures I have taken over the past 30 years or so, with chapters dealing with different themes, in much the same way that I have presented shows to LOTS, for example: Blind Displays; Last Journeys; Railway Connections; Buses in Alternative Liveries; Scenic shots and disappearing London and the Weather. This will be mainly in colour, but including some black and white pictures.