I AM CHRISTOPHER LEACH THE ARTIST. I started this blog so that I can share with everyone my vast collection of transport photographs showing a personal and nostalgic view of the industry with images that span some 45 years taking in the U.K and some of Europe. I have no darkroom and so rather than being the perfectionist after tidying them up I upload the images warts and all, and even those that won't scan squarely or are scratched. In a way it adds age and character. You are all free to download these for your personal use but please remember I still own them and you are not just free to use them without prior permission for any knd of publishing. Click on images to enlarge them and if you want to see more leave your comments or visit my website for the mother-site with galleries including those Buses & Girls: PICTUREWORLD

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Cricklewood where once we sought buried treasure

It's sad I know but all my best childhood memories relate to seeing buses and anything else that happened in family or school life was merely an aside. Maybe when I die rather than burying me they will just sell my remains for scrap. Each summer as a family we would go to London and stay there for the best part of the week. Mother would visit the fancy shops, my father would go around the museums but believe it or not I would buy a Red Rover every day and try to see as many of those thousands of red RT, RTL, RTW, RLH, RM, and RF. as I could. As a schoolboy they rarely let you go inside London's Central Area 'red bus' garages and sometimes you might leave with absolutely nothing as at the former tram shed Fulwell with a yard between the road and the buildings where there was always a inspector posted outside to stop us even going through the gates. Sometimes bemused staff would ask why we didn't just wait for the buses to come out on service but I think 'out of bounds' garages had an excitement all of their own and besides teasingly just in view were usually the dusty roofs of withdrawn buses lurking at the back which we would never see again and therefor had to be something extra special. This view taken in the winter of 1979-80 of Cricklewood Garage from the roadside looking down the grassy bank still reminds me of my first exciting spotting trip to the Capital in 1962 when I came here with my notebook. In those days in London during the holidays I was always bumping into other schoolboy spotters and some were obviously 'in the know' and a couple of them were camped out on this very spot which smelt of grime and railway smoke as like the celeb watchers of today they hung around as they believed a very special bus was hiding in there just out of sight. Years later when driving passed again when working I was reminded of that childhood day when we hoped legendary RT 1 might appear. In 1962 Routemasters had yet to arrive for the 16 and so those buses with the code W on the side were still all from the 4825 strong RT type AEC. As you can see the only RT to be seen in this view was RT 2958 with a Weymann body and looking like some ghost of the past it was in fact just a publicity bus. Parked alongside were the ubiquitous RM's and Metrobuses that made up the allocation of about one-hundred and which by themselves would not have got me out of my cab to face the cold for a photo except of course perhaps MCW Metrobus No. M1 which indeed was at Cricklewood.

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