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In pictures: archive photos show what London’s public transport used to look like

Written by
Stephanie Hartman

The family history site Ancestry has recently published more than 35,000 TfL staff records for the first time online. They reveal the lives of bus drivers and London Underground workers between 1863-1931, including details of the men who fought during WWI, and uncover the impact the war had on the capital’s transport networks.

Miriam Silverman from Ancestry says: ‘These fascinating records help us remember the stories of the men and women who got Londoners from A to B every day, from the infancy of public transport in London in the 1800s to the early twentieth century. But they’re also a source of important historical information about the First World War, workplace diversity and the day-to-day lives of normal people.
‘People across Britain and the world can now delve into these records to uncover vital information about any ancestors who may have worked for one of the nation’s public transport organisations.’

Alongside the records, there’s a bevy of beautiful images of nineteenth-century horsedrawn buses, and the women who kept the capital’s transport running while men were away at war. Take a look at a few of them below.

A B-type bus, operating on route 9, passing a regiment of cavalry, possibly in the early days of the First World War. 

Transport for London

 A Garden Seat horse bus, operated by the London General Omnibus Company Limited, on the Bayswater line. 

Transport for London

 A horse tram operating on the Aldersgate Street to Clapton route, with driver, conductor and passengers. 

Transport for London

 A group of women painters employed on the Underground during the First World War. 

Transport for London

 Metropolitan Railway Guard Eva Carver. Mrs Carver can be seen dressed in uniform holding a lamp and flag by a staircase at Hammersmith Underground station, Metropolitan and Great Western Railways.


Courtesy of TfL and the London Transport Museum


Courtesy of TfL and the London Transport Museum

In modern day travel news: Camden’s newest cycle route is under threat and a Londoner got charged £467 for an Uber after accidentally typing ‘Bristol’ instead of ‘Brixton’.

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