Next Sunday marks the centenary of the Catford Bus Garage, so one day before the centenary, on the Saturday,  there will be a chance to sit in a bus as it goes through a bus wash.

That is just one of a number of events taking place as part of TfL’s Year of the Bus — although I suspect for most people the bus wash will top the list of things to do.

They did the same at Merton last year, and it is ridiculously good fun.

The garage was opened on 11th May 1914 and was not very old when requisitioned for the war effort.  It did not re-open until 1920 when Thomas Tilling’s Lewisham operation moved there due to space constraints at his other garage.

Thomas Tilling gained an agreement in 1923 to double the size of Catford and in addition the roof has been raised twice, first in 1930 to enable double deck buses to use the garage and again in 1948 to accommodate AEC Regent III RTs.  The garage was modernised again in 1970.

The rest of the entertainments, which are somewhat buried on their website, include:

Take a free ride on vintage and other interesting buses 54v (Catford Bus Garage to Elmers End Station) and 47v (Shoreditch to Farnborough via Catford Bus Garage);

In addition to the celebratory event, two buses have been repainted into old style liveries. ADL E400 10136 has been repainted in the same style as Olympian L136 which carried a London Transport Tram livery in the 1980s. ADL E200 36343 has been painted to resemble one of Selkent’s Dennis Lances, LV12.

There will also be tours behind the scenes in the maintenance area.

In addition, no bus event can avoid the ubiquitous pop-up shop selling exclusive Year of the Bus gifts, and stalls selling centenary merchandise and bus-related memorabilia.

There will also be a mobile exhibition which tells the story of the London Bus and looks to its future.

The event takes place on Saturday 10th May from 10:30am to 4pm.

Also as you are in the area, wander up the hill to the nearby PreFab Museum which is also open on the same day.


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  1. Leah says:

    HI Ian! Do I need to get tix or get there early to get on the bus through the bus wash?

    • ianvisits says:

      I’ve posted all the information that I have on the article — which is to say I have no idea what the arrangements will be. As noted in the article on the Merton bus garage, it was turn up and get on. What Catford does, no idea.

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