Saturday, 3 October 2015

Places that passed me by .......... nu 2 Banfield’s Coach Garage on Nunhead Lane

Banfield’s Garage on Nunhead Lane is another of those places I went looking for and found had gone.

Dad in uniform in 1965 with his Glenton coach
Not that I ever really noticed it when I lived in Lausanne Road.

For a year between the September of 1961 and the summer of ’62 I would have seen it most school days but like so many work a day places it was just there in the background.

Had I connected it with the weekly school trips out to Ewell which for me and many others was an ordeal fraught with travel sickness it may have made more of a mark.

Now I have written about those trips before and the 40 or so minutes on one of those green Banfield coaches still sits at the back of my memory as the least pleasant part of being at Samuel Pepys.*

And perhaps because of that ghastly experience I had forgotten the name of the company and was hard pressed to even come up with the colour of the coach livery.

But now it’s all come back.

Banfield’s was established back in 1928 and like other coach companies of the period traded in the summer taking excursion parties and then  in the winter swapped the passenger body  for that of a lorry and operated on hire to the Transport Economy Clearing House hauling stuff from London to Birmingham.

This I know from a fascinating site by Chris Stanley which covers the history of the firm mixed with a shedful of pictures. **

And never one to steal another’s research I shall just say that as the firm prospered it moved from south west London to the Old Kent Road and in 1957 took over the London Transport garage on Nunhead Lane and the rest as they say is there to read on Mr Stanley’s site.

All of which led off to find out about that London Transport garage which dates back to 1911 when
“the National Steam Car Co Ltd opened a bus garage at 20-26 Nunhead Lane in South Peckham. 

The Clarkson steam buses were fired by paraffin and served routes from the area to Shepherd's Bush and Hampton Court. The company ceased operating in 1919 and the garage was acquired for petrol buses by first the London General Co and then the LPRT.

London Transport closed the garage in 1954. The garage was used from 1958 to the 1970s by Banfield's Luxury Coaches. After then it was used by a drinks wholesaler.”***

In 1999 plans were put forward for its demolition and despite opposition which were still ongoing in 2011 it has now gone although the clock tower was retained despite objections from the developers.

For those with a keen sense of the detail, the garage was still there in May 2011 but had been replaced with a set of houses by June of the following year.

Looking at the site I think the incorporation of the clock tower works as does the clock which is a neat close to the story.

Other than to say I wanted to use some Banfield coaches in the story but as yet I haven’t got permission which just leaves me to fall back on of dad in 1965 beside his coach.

Dad worked for Glenton Tours whose garage was on Brabourne Grove, but that is another story.****

Picture; Dad and a Glenton Tours Coach 1965 from the collection of Andrew Simpson

* Who remembers those long coach journeys out to Ewell for an afternoon’s sport?

** Banfield Coaches,

***The old London Transport steam bus garage in Nunhead Lane, South East Central, May 2011,

****Glenton Tours,

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