In August 2011, Tottenham was in the headlines when armed police fatally shot Mark Duggan in Ferry Lane, thus sparking what became a series of riots across suburban London. That night – 7/8th August – the London Fire Brigade reported over 2000 emergency calls.
When an uneasy calm returned, Tottenham showed the physical and social scars of the previous few days.
During the last two years, there have been a number of projects underway making improvements in the area. This included removal of the ‘urban motorway’ – the Tottenham gyratory system, returning the High Road to two way working and significantly improving the important interchange at Tottenham Hale.
So it was with excellent timing that a ‘village’ type cultural event took place in Tottenham on Saturday. At its heart was the celebration of 100 years of bus operations from Tottenham Garage. On the nearby green, the community enjoyed the festivities whilst Arriva organised some interesting vehicles to operate on route 76 – a route which has always been associated with the garage. In fact it only left Tottenham Garage once – in 1998, when Capital Citybus (my old company) took over the route moving it to Northumberland Park. Route 76 returned to Tottenham in 2003.
Routemaster and RT-family buses made ‘guest’ appearances on Saturday on the 76, as did a wartime Guy, but perhaps the most unusual were NS1995 and FRM1 from the London Transport Museum. Separated by only 40 years, they depicted the amazing transformation of the London bus.
We collected the vehicles from Acton depot on Saturday morning and made trouble-free journeys to the start points. The NS carried expertly-made route boards for route 76 whilst the FRM already has destination blinds for this route.
The FRM operated its journey from the old terminus of Victoria and followed the contemporary route via Blackfriars Bridge and Queen Victoria Street. At Tottenham, it was made ready to recreate its first ever journey in public service – 24th June 1967 on route 34B. Thanks to the efforts of Arriva, I was able to position it in exactly the same spot emerging from the garage, even though this involved ignoring the garage’s one-way working and moving parked cars!
Brimsdown Power Station – the northern terminus, and indeed the reason for the 34B’s existence – has long since gone (although a small substation remains). We positioned it as close as we could on what is now a modern industrial estate which has replaced it.
Their jobs done for the day, both Museum vehicles headed back to Acton having performed faultlessly despite their grand age.
Congratulations to Arriva for staging this tremendous event and reminding the community how public transport is at its heart – taking people to work, school and shopping every day and providing considerable and sustainable employment in the centre of town.
Photo of RM5 with G351, and my positioning of FRM thanks to Graham Smith