The No 19 Routemasters won’t be growling past our windows much longer. According to the London Bus Page, the last Routemaster will pull into the Battersea Garage on 1 April 2005.
This is just one more in a growing list of routes that have been phasing out their Routemasters over the last year. By the end of 2006 there won’t be any left.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Routemasters. Sure they are noisy and bouncy and they leak when it rains, but they have character. They are so quintessentially “London”. Like black cabs, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.
The Routemasters are fifty years old this year. They come from another time. A time of Pea-soupers. A time when people weren’t as concerned about safety. Try introducing a new vehicle now with no doors but just a big gaping hole at the back where people can jump on and off at will. And there isn’t anything quite like that thrill you get as you leap onto the deck of a moving Routemaster, clinging to the pole, secretly thinking how cool you must have looked.
And what will happen to all the conductors? They are all slightly mad in their own unique ways. What will happen to them? The guy who gives a commentary of the central London bus stops. The man with the oversize hat to contain his huge dreads. The old bloke who seemed to speak in words he had made up himself. What will they do?
So the other weekend I decided to take a few photos of them before they went the way of the Concorde. They are in the gallery.
Also, I have decided not to post any more geeky comments on this site. If you are into that kind of stuff you will be able to find it on my other website,sharedmemory.net.