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Photographer / Copyright
Philip Hambling
Images should not be reused without permission.

View vehicle details
3302F B495LLW

Location Link/s
Clapham Garage

Date added to site
01/06/2021

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Details: Another private car in a shocking colour scheme features here but the main subject is a Ford Escort in good old fashioned LT red. 3302F was one of the three-door estate variants that were still quite common, though 5-door layouts were soon to become the norm. Leased in November 1984, this car was allocated to the Development Director (Buses) and lasted for almost exactly 4 years. Note that the F in the fleetnumber is smaller than the numerical digits. What I find special about this photo is that it was taken at Clapham Bus Garage (in May 1986), though you would not know that by looking. Clapham had an interesting history, having started out as a horse tram depot in 1888. Expanded for electric trams in 1903 and adapted for use by motor buses in 1950, it was closed as surplus to requirements in 1958. A couple of years later it became the Museum of British Transport, with various preserved buses, trams and railway stock (included the famous Mallard steam loco). However, Clapham was hardly on the tourist trail and the venue was not a huge success, closing in 1973. The garage then reverted to London Transport and was used to store withdrawn buses. Operational buses returned in 1981 when the garage was reactivated to take over the work of Norwood Garage whilst it was being rebuilt. This lasted until 1984 when Norwood was completed but Clapham remained open to allow Streatham Garage to be rebuilt. It eventually closed for good in 1987 and some years later was demolished to make way for a supermarket.

I lived in Clapham for most of my childhood and I regularly looked in through the garage entrances. I recall there always being lines of withdrawn DMS buses at the back and, if the Foreman was in a good mood, I was allowed to wander amongst these. There were also other oddities such as the last two LT Merlin buses, and a DMS chassis that was shortened for use in a technical college. The garage was also unusual for having entrances on three different roads, though the Clapham High Street one was never used by buses in my memory. The photograph here was most likely taken at the Triangle Place entrance. Sadly I never took any photographs at Clapham Garage, and there are very few on-line. If anyone can point me towards one, especially if it includes the rows of dead DMSs, I would be very happy.

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