Thursday, 16 February 2017

On being 10 in the summer of 1961 with a Red Rover and a city to explore

Now if you are of a certain age this Red Rover will be your passport to many happy memories.

Andy's ticket to roam .............. 1965
It offered unlimited travel for a day across London and  I can think of no better thing to do than travel anywhere those old red double deckers would take you.

In 1960 we were still living on Lausanne Road and I think we would have collected the ticket from the New Cross Garage, which begs the question of where I might have picked one up in Eltham.

I am pretty sure you couldn’t buy them on the bus but I guess someone with put me right on that.

Andy sent me this one just a few minutes ago adding, “as a bus spotting nerd I used to use these lot. This one was purchased 2 days after I was 12 3/4 years old. 

I would plan my journey taking in various bus garages, leave about 7 in the morning armed with salad cream sandwiches and arrive home about 10 hours later, all on my lonesome!”

Sadly I never had the forethought to plan in advance, going off on the spur of the moment when the sun shone and the pocket money was burning a hole in my pocket.

Needless to say some at least of my adventures ended in the most disappointing places.

The White Tower in the Tower of London, 2014
It remains one of those cast iron certainties that just because a place sounds interesting and the bus goes there it doesn’t always mean that the destination will prove memorable.

Even now I shudder at the thought of the run down canal beside some sad looking buildings which proved not to be the highlight of one trip.

But then the beauty of the Red Rover was that you could just wait for the next bus and travel on to pastures new.

And all the time there were things to see from out of the window.

 So even if the front seats on the top deck were taken there was always that seat behind the driver which not only offered up the same view that he could see, but with a bit of imagination allowed to imagine you were driving the 161 down to Woolwich or the 36b across town.

In my case it would start and sometimes end at the Tower of London, but that as they is another story.

Instead I shall just reflect that having reached that magic age which qualifies me for a concessionary bus pass I can and do roam across the city making full use of both the trams and the trains.

So there you have it, one Red Rover a shed load of memories and not once did I throw in that title of a Beatles song.

Location; pretty much anywhere in London

Picture; a Red Rover, 1965 from the collection of Any Robertson, and the Tower of London, 2014 from the collection of Ryan Ginn


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