Next Stop: No Man’s Land

Hundreds of London buses were requisitioned and sent to the front to transport troops during World War One

words Tim Gosling pictures archive

For its inhabitants and visitors alike, one of the most iconic images of London is that of a red double decker bus. The first omnibus service (albeit horse-drawn) was introduced into London in 1829, with a steam-powered bus being introduced the following year. Harsh legislation kept the steam bus off the road until 1896 but experiments with petrol engines enabled the introduction of motor buses.

In 1904 the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC) bought their first steam bus (a Clarkson) and the following year their first motor bus, a De Dion-Bouton which was followed by others built by Bussing, Milnes-Daimler, Straker-Squire and Wolseley. Other bus companies were quick to buy motor buses and in 1914 the last horsedrawn bus was withdrawn.

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