Back to John's home
If you go down to the woods today, You're sure of a big
If you go down to the woods today, You'd better go in disguise.
For ev'ry bus that ever there was, Will gather there for
Today's the day the Routemasters have their picnic.
Ev'ry Routemaster who's been good, Is sure of a treat today.
There's lots of marvellous things to eat, And wonderful games to play
Beneath the trees where nobody sees, They'll hide and seek as long as they
'Cause that's the way the Routemasters have their picnic
(For the original words, and music, see
Every year the
Cobham Bus Museum, about
twenty miles south-west of London, holds an open day. The museum itself is
small and so are the grounds, but on another site they have a truly huge
gathering of preserved buses and related stuff. In March 2005, inspired by
our chance discovery that it was the last day of the Routemasters on route 19
and the happy coincidence of being in London at the right time, we went
along. This year the additional site was Wisley airfield, now disused. Much
of the full-length runway was occupied with serried ranks of preserved buses,
not just Routemasters of course. They were all in wonderful, gleaming
condition, and irresistible to photograph.
This is a very personal choice of pictures. I grew up on the
eastern edge of the red bus area, in Romford. I started travelling around
London on Red Rover tickets when the RMs were still novel. Later I lived in
Reading. The pictures reflect my own particular blend of nostalgia.
Star of the show in my personal opinion was RML 2301, still
dressed for route 19, which two
days earlier had still been in service. Sadly this is the last year of RM
operation on normal scheduled routes in London, after 51 years of very
To see a full-size version of a picture (generally 1000-2000
pixels wide), just click on it.
Star of the show, RML 2301 running until two
days earlier on route 19.
RML3, the third prototype RM and the first with
a Leyland engine, was another beautifully restored star (not bad for a bus
built in 1956). I was lucky enough to get a ride on her, too.
The official star of the show, the first
appearance of wartime Guy G351 after many years of restoration. The route is
a Romford one although G351 was before my time.
Route 19 from another era, the definitive London
bus. The RT was conceived in the late 1930s and built in thousands in the
early 50s. They ran until 1977, on a route which happened to pass by my house
(the 87 in Romford).
A Green Line RT dressed for route 721.
The RTW was a wider, Leyland-engined version of
the RT, common in central London. I used to see them at Liverpool St on
routes 9 and 11 when we visited my aunt in Brixton.
The AEC Q, the 1930s grandfather of all
underfloor engine buses.
Another personal favourite, the Leyland TD from
just after World War II. My first ever long bus journeys were on these on
route 250 from Romford to Epping.
Not even a London bus, but a personal favourite
from my 1950s seaside holidays at Dovercourt: a 1950s Bristol MW.