A Journey by a 1950’s London Bus

I came across this production by the Colonial Film Unit which tells those who find themselves in a foreign land, just how to identify a bus, the reasons we have a conductor, how to buy a ticket, and importantly how to queue. It’s just the sort of essential information our cousins from Africa would have needed in 1950 to assimilate themselves into British society. It also reinforces the perception that everyone speaks in either a plummy received pronunciation BBC accent or is a cockney urchin.

Opening scenes show Piccadilly Circus teeming with buses and cabs, some looking to be pre-1914 models. No cars or lorries are to be seen.

In case you haven’t realised, we are told that these “splendid” buses will transport you out of “the largest city in the world”, and yes, they will actually retrace their route back to the Metropolis, but we are told that one must ensure the bus is travelling in the correct direction for one’s needs.

The narrator describes how two “African students studying in London”, who’ve been walking across fields in the badlands of Potters Bar, now need to get back to their studies and prepare to catch the bus. They remarkably manage to join a queue at the bus stop, presumably having been told by the upper-class documentary makers at just what end of the queue to stand.

The Cockney conductor, after ensuring everybody is safely seated, collects the fares. The film is at pains to show even our African students are capable of purchasing a ticket, but our guinea pigs don’t have the correct change, which the narrator tells us that it’s just not the British way.

Later in the journey, as if to reassure the public, the bus manages to stop for schoolchildren at an early pedestrian crossing.

At the end, the students alight from the bus to a cheery wave from the conductor, before unhurriedly crossing the road, presumably the subject of another documentary to teach bright African students how to traverse England’s highways.

Wonderfully politically incorrect, and evocative of post-war Britain, when only those with the correct accent had the brains to use buses and a much-needed teaching aid for Johnny Foreigner.

Featured image: Northward up Old Bond Street from Piccadilly, the 25 bus, the only route on Bond Street, is bound for Victoria from Becontree Heath by Ben Brooksbank (CC BY-SA 2.0)

London Trivia: London smallpox epidemic

On 5 April 1973, the Department of Health & Social Security declared London ‘a smallpox-infected area’, after a laboratory technician working part-time in the pox virus laboratory at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine became ill on 11 March and saw her own family doctor. A patient at the London hospital subsequently proved positive, he died the next day. Three cases of the contagion were confirmed.

On 5 April 1968 Flight Lieutenant Alan Pollock became the first pilot to fly a jet aircraft (Hawker Hunter) under the span of Tower Bridge

Bollards near Tate Britain were used to tie up barges alongside Millbank Penitentiary used to house prisoners destined for deportation

When tunnelling for the Jubilee Line extension St. Stephen’s Tower – which houses Big Ben – shifted over an inch it had to be shored up

St. Bartholomew’s Hospital was founded in 1123 and is the oldest hospital in England still on its original site

On 5 April 1967 fans of The Monkees walked from Marble Arch to the US Embassy, Grosvenor Square to protest at Davy Jones’ planned call-up

London street artist or graffiti dauber depending on your view comes from Bristol, famously secretive, he could come from, well — anywhere

Birdcage Walk derives its name from the aviary owned by King Charles I containing exotic species including a crane with a wooden leg

On Shrove Tuesday charity teams race up and down Dray Walk, Spitalfields flipping pancakes. The winning team receives an engraved frying pan

On Tower Hill is an entrance to the 1870 Tower Subway. You could ride under the river in a carriage pulled by cable

Lionel Logue who cured King George of his stammer had his practice at 146 Harley Street from 1926 to 1952 in the film Portman Place was used

Plaque on house by the Globe Theatre which claims that Wren lived there was put up by past owner Malcolm Munthe who made it up!

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.

Florence Nightingale Quiz

The giant plague hospital is now opening today at the Excel Centre in Docklands, and has been named the Nightingale Hospital. How much do you know about ‘The Lady with the Lamp’? Florence Nightingale was born nearly 200 years ago.

Questions

1. Florence Nightingale was born on 12th May 1820 in Italy and was named after her place of birth – Florence. But where did she die?

St. Bartholomew’s Hospital
Guy’s Hospital
Mayfair
Grosvenor Square


2. Where are the statues commemorating the Crimea War, one of which depicts Florence Nightingale?

Waterloo Place
Army Museum
Guards Barracks
Imperial War Museum


3. Known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, what is wrong with the lamp held by Florence Nightingale on her Crimean War statue?

It is extinguished
She’s holding it the wrong way round
It is the wrong type of lamp
She never actually had a lamp


4. In Crimean War statue Florence Nightingale reputedly has something in her pocket. What is it?

An early stethoscope
Her spectacles
An owl
A thermometer


5. Where in London is the Florence Nightingale Museum?

The Hunterian Museum
The British Museum
St. Thomas’ Hospital
Her old London home


6. A favourite example of taxidermy is to be found in the Florence Nightingale Museum. What is stuffed there?

Her pet dog
Her pet cat
A fish caught by her
Her pet owl


7. Apart from the new temporary hospital, where else is the Florence Nightingale Hospital in London?

Harley Street
Lisson Grove
University College London
Guy’s Hospital


8. In London, there is a second public statue. What is unusual about it?

Florence Nightingale is wearing spectacles
It is made of an unknown material
She is wearing a large hat
It is a copy


9. The nursing school at King’s College London has an enviable record. What is it?

It is the oldest nursing school in the world
Successful students are the world’s most sought
More nurses qualify than anywhere else
The school is located in a listed building


10. Some remarkable anagrams can be formed from Florence Nightingale’s name. Can you devise any?


Answers

1. Florence Nightingale was born on 12th May 1820 in Italy and was named after her place of birth – Florence. But where did she die?

Answer: Mayfair

Florence Nightingale lived in South Street, Mayfair from 1865 until her death there on 13th August 1910 aged 90.


2. Where are the statues commemorating the Crimea War, one of which depicts Florence Nightingale?

Answer: Waterloo Place

Three statues are to be found at the junction of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall. Sidney Herbert, Secretary of State for War during the Crimean War, The Crimean Memorial and Florence Nightingale’s which has bronze plaque showing wounded soldiers arriving at Scutari Hospital which cared for 10,000 wounded in the Crimean War.


3. Known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, what is wrong with the lamp held by Florence Nightingale on her Crimean War statue?

Answer: She’s holding the wrong type of lamp

The lamp is of Roman design and not like the lamp Florence Nightingale used at Scutari.


4. In Crimean War statue Florence Nightingale reputedly has something in her pocket. What is it?

Answer: She carried Athena her pet owl in her pocket.


5. Where in London is the Florence Nightingale Museum?

Answer: St. Thomas’ Hospital


The Florence Nightingale Museum is located within St. Thomas` Hospital; nurses working there are called Nightingales.

6. A favourite example of taxidermy is to be found in the Florence Nightingale Museum. What is stuffed there?


Answer: Athena an owl rescued by her was left behind when she went to the Crimean War, it died. So heartbroken she had it stuffed and can still be seen.


7. Apart from the new temporary hospital, where else is the Florence Nightingale Hospital in London?

Answer: Lisson Grove

In 1909 a new hospital was built in London to her specifications. Nurses were required to be sober, honest, truthful, trustworthy, punctual, quiet and orderly, clean and neat. Renamed the Florence Nightingale Hospital for Gentlewomen in 1910, since 1978 is has been run in conjunction with the Fitzroy Nuffield Hospital.


8. In London, there is a second public statue. What is unusual about it?

Answer: Is a copy


The Guard’s Crimean Memorial in Waterloo Place of her by Arthur Walker has been copied. This statue, in the Central Hall of St. Thomas’ Hospital by Frederick Mancini is virtually a life-sized version of the original. In 1970 the statue was stolen and a replacement copy, made of a composite material, which was originally located outside, was moved inside in 2000. So this statue is a copy of a copy.


9. The nursing school at King’s College London has an enviable record. What is it?

Answer: It is the oldest nursing school in the world

The Nightingale Training School and Home for Nurses opened at St. Thomas’ Hospital on 9th July 1860. Now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery and is the oldest nursing school in the world still in operation.


10. Some remarkable anagrams can be formed from Florence Nightingale’s name. Can you devise any?

From Florence Nightingale’ you can derive:

‘Flit on, cheering angel’

‘Going? Then clean rifle.’

‘Reflecting on healing’

and remarkably

‘No lice, filth, gangrene’.

Twenty is very unusual

Following a consultation, Transport for London will install a 20mph speed limit on all central London roads it manages by May. The scheme would see a new limit along 5.5 miles of roads including Millbank, Albert Embankment and Borough High Street by May 2020.

Critics pointed out traffic meant average car speed in London is 6mph.

The speed limit is already in place on 19 per cent of London’s roads and supporters claim major benefits in road safety and improvement on the quality of life. Islington became the first London borough to impose a 20mph limit on all the roads that it controlled followed by Camden and the City of London. Once the city-wide speed restriction is adopted by all of London’s boroughs it will mean 95 per cent of the capital’s roads will have this restriction imposed upon them, which Transport bosses hope to introduce over the next five years.

Driving in Islington now has become tedious at best and painful should one have a back condition. The council’s road calming measures in the form of ‘sleeping policemen’ are ineffective as many large cars just straddle the obstruction.

However, my observation is that those drivers most willing to get up to higher speeds quickest are usually found to be the ones that need to rely upon their brakes most. Hence turning most of that kinetic energy into heat and ultimately hot air!

The only way to realistically keep speeds down to that magical 17 mph (as odometers are inaccurate at slow speeds), would be to remove all speed humps and invest in a network of average speed cameras, as their installation seems the only measure to work motorists adhere to the speed limit.

Taxi talk without tipping

%d bloggers like this: