Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

1914 double-decker bus restored

A B-type bus similar to the one pictured has been restored by the London Transport Museum

A bus dating from the time of the outbreak of the First World War has been restored.

Built at Walthamstow in east London in 1914, the double-decker, open-topped B-type bus has been unveiled at the London Transport Museum.

The restoration has cost £250,000 and is part of the museum's Great War commemorations.

The bus served on route 9 out of Mortlake garage in south west London and operated between Barnes and Liverpool Street.

Those travelling on the route would have, initially, paid 3.5d (about 1.5p) for a single ticket.

One of only four B-type buses in existence, the restored vehicle has original adverts and signs from the period, including warnings such as "No spitting" and "Beware of pickpockets, male and female".

By 1914, nearly 2,500 B-types were in service on 112 bus routes, running not just in central London but as far out as St Albans in Hertfordshire and Maidenhead in Berkshire.

The buses were commandeered into military service when war broke out, along with their civilian drivers and mechanics. Painted khaki with their windows boarded up, more than 1,000 vehicles were used on the front line.

In September the restored B-type will be transformed into a wartime "Battle Bus" and will tour French and Belgian battlefields including Ypres and Passchendaele.

London Transport Museum director Sam Mullins said: "The B-type bus is an important tribute to the civilian contribution made to the war effort during the First World War, at home and overseas.

"The project is a memorial not only to the bus drivers and their mechanics who worked on the Front Line, but also to those who stayed behind to provide a public transport service to millions of Londoners often in extremely dangerous conditions as London came under attack from aerial bombardment for the first time."

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