Route 227

Beckenham History archive


With thanks to the Beckenham History website, we have pleasure in including a range of pictures from the early years of route 227 (and its predecessor the 109).  All photos/scans © Beckenham History.



This B-type is working the original 'munitions route' 109 between Woolwich and Penge which operated from 1916 to 1919.  The Arsenal at Woolwich had increased its workforce from 11,000 to 65,000 and Government subsidies were paid to encourage improved bus services.  The subsidy was withdrawn at the end of hostilities and the service reduced accordingly, being discontinued in February 1919.


The route board reads Penge Crystal Palace Entrance via Well Hall Rd, High St Chislehurst W[?], Bromley Market, High St Beckenham; this period was the only occasion that the route served Well Hall Road, which indeed then remained unserved for about 10 years.  The conductor obscures the registration number LH82xx, but this is likely to have been either B3491 or B3494, allocated to Streatham Garage (AK), operator of the route at the time.



This solid-tyred B-type heading past Beckenham Church towards Chislehurst has registration LH8476 (B4909?).  The photo is dated 1925, suggesting that this captures the time when Tilling had taken over the route but was still operating borrowed B-types.  Tillings replaced the B-types in October 1925 with Tilling-Stevens petrol-electrics.


There is a modern shot of the same location here.  The yew trees have filled out somewhat.


A 1920s shot of The Triangle at Penge, known to the General and LT as Penge Crooked Billet.  The bus appears to be a Tilling O-type TS7 (these operated in General livery from new until 1930) and is about to pull round onto the stand.  Compare with The Triangle today (Bromley Running Day 2009, photo © Peter Osborn).


The tram lines, incidentally, were a part of the Croydon Corporation network.  Whilst the nearby route up Anerley Hill was converted to trolleybus operation in 1936, the Penge branch was abandoned by the new London Passenger Transport Board in December 1933.





Following the K types came both S and T single-deckers, until new LT Scooters arrived in 1931.  Elmers End Garage had joined Bromley and Nunhead on the route on the last day of 1930, taking sole control in 1938 until handing back to Bromley in 1951.  Here new LT1188 stands outside the Queens Head, Chislehurst, on the 109D variant of the route.


The use of suffixes under the Bassom system arose when the Penge to Chislehurst route was extended to Eltham Southend Crescent in June 1926, requiring what were now short workings as seen here to be renumbered.  The Eltham section replaced the 119, and was further extended to Welling Guy Earl of Warwick in May 1933.





It was not until 1951 that the 227, as the 109 was renumbered in 1934, was extended from Penge up to Crystal Palace Parade.  Rather earlier, in about 1933 and before the destruction of the palace by fire in 1936, the Parade was used for the parking of coaches.  In addition to the splendid line up stretching almost as far as the eye can see, there are a couple of distant double-deckers, probably STs.









Fast forward twenty years - it is about 1951, just before the Scooters were replaced by brand new RFs in October 1952.  A Scooter, now operated from Bromley garage, heads west from the War Memorial along Beckenham High Street.










Finally, here is a nice picture of Crystal Palace Parade as we remember it, taken in about 1975.  Plumstead's RT1938 on the 122 is accompanied by a couple of RMs on the 2B and 63, and SMS247 about to turn round the roundabout (now abolished, adding badly to the traffic through the shopping streets) and head for Chislehurst on the 227.









Our thanks to Beckenham History for providing the photos.  Do visit their site, there are plenty more pictures, and also look at the videos, including some bus interest as well as much else.