Old Kent Road garage reunion
6 September 2010
RF486 recreates the
202. This is Rotherhithe New Road.
Photo © Peter Larkham
Old Kent Road garage (P) was a bus garage from about 1906 until
its closure in 1958. Prior to that, it had been a tram depot
since 1874, passing from London Tramways to LCC, then as a bus
garage to Vanguard and to LGOC in 1908. The garage was
located to the south side of Old Kent Road, just west of the (now
demolished) canal bridge, in Bowles
Road. Like the garage and the canal, Bowles Road no longer
exists, having vanished under retail re-development.
In the period after the war, the garage operated, at various
times, all or part of routes 1, 4, 13, 17, 21,
, 78, 89/A
, 153, 159 and 202
. It also worked the Inter-Station night
route and hosted part of the Private Hire fleet. The garage
closed after the disastrous bus strike in 1958 that led to a
significant reduction in services.
On 6 September 2010, a small group of former Old Kent Road
crew revisited old haunts including runs over the 202 (in RF486)
and the 89 (in RT1702). All had moved by 1958, mostly with
the routes to New Cross garage (NX) on closure of Old Kent
Road. By then, NX had long-since converted to buses from
trams, for which it had been London's last home. A tour of
New Cross garage and a visit to the (unrecognisable) site of Old
Kent Road were part of the day. One of the crew members was
the late Alan Neale, whose memories of bus work are recorded
pages provide a photographic record of the day. The
accompanying pages feature:
o the garages
o route 202
o routes 89 and 160.
RF486 arrived at New Cross for the 202 in
March 1959, six months after Old Kent Road closed, and stayed until
overhaul in October 1961.
Photo Peter Osborn collection