London’s weirdest bus shelter

Unlike any other, Newbury Park bus shelter rises out of the ground like a huge, magnificent, and strangely beautiful archway, reminiscent of an alien spaceship in a Hollywood film.

Nestling underneath is the Tube station, home to the 66, 296 and 396 London bus routes.

Built on the site of the staff railway cottages built by the Great Eastern Company next to the station in a semi-detached garden city-style plus a posher house for the Station Master, a detached villa with a pillared porch and a large garden.

The bus shelter was designed by architect Oliver Hill in 1937 as part of London Transport’s New Works Scheme, due to World War II, like many other stations on the Central line eastern extension route, the massive shelter wasn’t completed until 1949.

Given a Grade II listing in 1981, the Newbury Park bus shelter with its seven-span copper roof is a Grade II listed building and an iconic feature of the surrounding area.

It won a Festival of Britain award in 1951 for architectural merit there is a plaque with the festival logo.

It is only used by eastbound buses despite westbound buses being specified in the original 1930s brief.

“How much!?”

The Peers Entrance to the House of Lords, to create a more secure portico was supposed to cost around £2 million, but thanks to ‘inflation’ and ‘delays’ it is now going to cost somewhere in the region of £7 million. Just why do you need a burglar-proof front door when you’ve got armed police standing outside evades me, could they not just stick a Ring doorbell on there and be done with it?

Johnson’s London Dictionary: BBC

BBC (n.) Transmitter of information whose largesse knows no bounds.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

Back to black

Pillar boxes were once green, but they were changed to the familiar red to make them more visible. So why is it that London’s Black Cabs are – well black?

The name ‘black cab’ apparently originated as a slang term within the London private hire trade, whose members had appropriated the term ‘cab’ to describe their Nissans with the ubiquitous aerial on the roof with an old plastic bag protecting the paintwork, it was the official term the Public Carriage Office used until 2000 for the taxicabs they licensed.

Regulations by some British provincial taxi licensing authorities specify the vehicle’s livery to denote it as a vehicle for hire. The Public Carriage Office’s Conditions of Fitness has never specified that a London cab has to be a specific colour, in fact, pre-war cabs had coach-built bodies and were painted in a variety of colours.

After World War II the famous Austin FX3 was introduced, they were supplied with factory-fitted steel bodies, and these were painted in a standard colour of black, due to post-war austerity it was the cheapest colour to supply. Different colours were offered at extra cost, but few, if any buyers were prepared to pay for them and so black became the standard colour for London taxis.

Its successor the FX4 was offered in three colours; black, white and carmine red, though black remained the choice of almost all buyers, many of whom were fleet owners.

In the 1970s, Mann and Overton, the FX4’s sponsors and dealers asked the maker, Carbodies to supply more colours. These were not taken up by fleet buyers, but when the finance regulations were relaxed at the end of the 1970s, more cabmen opted to buy cabs instead of renting them and chose from an increased range of colours.

Now London cabs are found in all colours, including special advertising liveries, but in the opinion of this writer, all cabs should be black to differentiate them from the plethora of alternative private hire vehicles.

Incidentally Back to Black is the second and final studio album released in October 2006 by the late singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse whose father Mitch just happened to be a London cabbie.

Your ride is here, get in by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

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We can be nowhere private except in the midst of London.

Charles Lamb (1775-1834)

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