Queen Victoria northbound stop 1949North Cheam – a suburban crossroads

Transport history by Derek Fisk

Part 2 - Development


Continued from Part 1


By May 1930 the pace of house-building in the area prompted the LGOC to recast some local services. The 164 was rerouted away from North Cheam via Sutton and Banstead to Epsom and the 70 group became a 10 minute service, with additional 155s giving 12 bph in the peaks along London Road. From June 1930 an hourly Green Line service from Dorking to Oxford Circus was added to this road, which by October had become a 15 minute service, including a 30 minute service from Great Bookham.


The Queen Victoria crossroads on 21 Aug 49, looking south, with the pub sign visible on the left.  Merton's STL350 loads for Putney Bridge Station on the post-war 93.

Photo © Alan Cross

Further enhancement to the red buses came the same month with the 113 peak service increased to 3 bph, and the 93 service from Willesden and Putney Bridge extended from Morden to Cheam adding another 6 bph along London Road. A new working was introduced at North Cheam in 1934 by shortening the 93 to run through Senhouse Road and Church Hill Road to Priory Road, returning via Malden Road to the Queen Victoria. Passengers were carried over the whole terminal working.


Not a number 80, this 228 went via North CheamAlthough not mentioned by Derek Fisk in his article, summer route 228 ran from 1930 to 1933, from Morden via North Cheam and Epsom to Lower Kingswood.  In 1932, it was intended that the route be extended to Redhill and transferred to London General Country Services, and was even shown in their timetable, but the transfer did not happen.  Meanwhile,  the 406 had run betwen Kingston and Redhill since 1924.  The 228 was operated by Merton, using double-deck S-class buses in 1930, as S179 seen here at Morden, and LTs thereafter.

Photo from W Noel Jackson collection, © Alan Cross


In April 1931 the 70D from Morden to Dorking became a joint operation between the General and East Surrey, a unique arrangement in London. The East Surrey buses passed to LGCS in 1932 and to the Country Bus & Coach Department in 1933, after which they were painted green. This joint operation continued until 1938, when the country bus service was cut back to Epsom (this later became the 470 and was extended to West Croydon). This change came about because the TGWU was disturbed about the disparity in wage rates between Central and Country busmen. While the Board argued that the two styles of work were different, even on country routes that penetrated suburbia, this distinction was indefensible when the same route number was being worked by two sets of staff.


Further augmentation occurred early in 1932 with peak hour and Saturday shorts on the 156A along London Road, running via Morden to St Helier Avenue. This 24 bph service sufficed until August 1933 when the new London Transport added a further 6 bph. In October 1933 the Green Line services were recast with routes D and H being replaced by the K and L, maintaining 4 bph through North Cheam. Increased frequencies continued through 1934, reaching 33 bph in the peaks to Morden., while the 113 was now 6 bph in the peaks.


The first Scooter

The 113 became the 213 in the 1934 renumbering.  Nearly four years earlier, the first Scooter LT1001 emerged from Chiswick and went to work at Edgware.  The class took over the 113 six months later, but it was some time before LT1001 moved south of the river.  By 8 May 48, seen in Cheam Common Road in North Cheam, it is looking distinctly tired, and was scrapped a year later.

Photo © Alan Cross


The October 1934 bus renumbering scheme saw the 70 lose all its suffixes while the single deck routes gained numbers in the 200 series. The 113 became the 213, while the 155B changed to 245. In May 1936 Green Line route L was extended from Uxbridge alternately to Chesham (L1) and High Wycombe (L2). A year later this was replaced by route O running to Windsor, but combined with the K1/2 still provided a joint 15 minute service through North Cheam. Meanwhile steady improvements on local buses saw them reach a peak of 55 bph (32 offpeak) along London Road by the end of 1937. Changes in 1938 saw the withdrawal of the 70 in October, with the extension of the 93 from Morden to Epsom, further extended on summer Sundays to Dorking. Other changes now brought the total service on London Road to 48 bph peaks and 18 offpeak.


On the outbreak of war in September 1939, the Green Line services were immediately withdrawn, although replaced by a half hourly route 14 Dorking to Victoria from December 1940 to September 1942. Other fuel saving measures, apart from the fixed stop scheme, saw blackout evening services reduced, or withdrawn completely in the case if the 245, although the 213 was gradually increased in the peaks in response to manufacturing efforts and petrol rationing.


Behind the Queen VicFuel shortages also led to a shorter terminal working at North Cheam. In place of the lengthy Priory Road circuit, buses initially turned right into Lavender Avenue and left into Farm Way and Cheam Common Road. However, a much shorter working was then achieved by negotiating with the Queen Victoria to use the new rearcourt linked to the Senhouse Road/Church Hill Road junction as a bus stand and so return to Cheam Road.


The stand at the rear of the Queen Victoria.  On 1 May 1948, this was the terminus of the 5A, on which Camberwell's ST13 is working but displaying a route number only on the side plate, and the 151 to Carshalton Culvers Avenue (aka Hackbridge Reynolds Close), which features Sutton's D235.  The 151 again works between North Cheam and Carshalton, but via a completely different route and having had various incarnations in between.

Photo © Alan Cross


From January 1941 lowbridge double deck buses were first used on a Central Bus route by converting the 245 to the 127. This virtually doubled the capacity with the same frequency, initially using loaned Manchester Corporation buses and a few single deckers. Other wartime developments saw two new routes along London Road in February 1942, with the extension of the 5A from South Wimbledon to North Cheam and the 151 from Hackbridge and Morden to North Cheam. The 93 was also increased and a service was restored to Priory Road in April 1944.


Continued in Part 3