Chalk Farm bus workers who died in WW1
NW1, Harmood Street, Bus garage
As happened at many workplaces, a memorial was erected at the Chalk Farm bus garage to honour their workers who died in WW1. But this garage, over time, seems to have had 2 distinct plaques.
We first started investigating memorials at this bus garage because of a report in the Camden New Journal about a plaque in Ferdinand Place on its back wall which, we have since learnt, had nothing to do with the bus garage.
Some background on the site: a 1893 map shows it built-up, with housing. This were all demolished and replaced with the bus garage, opened in 1916 by the London General Omnibus Company. It is shown in this 1952 OS map. We have put an extract of that map on the page for the Ferdinand Place plaque. The garage, serving many busy routes, was large, illustrated by this 1936 photo of the interior.
The site still retains some of the garage architectural elements, which can be seen on the ground or in Google Streetview, such as the cobbles in the remaining southern section of Ferdinand Place and some of the cobbled entrances to the garage - which match exactly those shown on the map. Also the lower portion of the building's external wall remains in Ferdinand Place.
This photo (© TfL from the London Transport Museum collection) of the building shows the Harmood Street frontage with a pillar at the left hand edge which is still on site, as is, surprisingly, the picket fence to the house next door. This 1936 image and another similar 1926 image were brought to our attention by Simon Murphy, Curator at London Transport Museum, who was very patient and helpful as we researched the site and these plaques.
At the fascinating website Reel Streets you can see pictures (actually screen shots) of Harmood Street from the 1961 film 'Flame In The Streets'. The picture with the bus shows Harmood Street with the bus garage on the right. We saw this film not long ago, but before we knew about the memorials - we must try and catch it again.
The garage closed in July 1993.and the site has been returned to housing, built in 1995.
After publishing the Ferdinand Place plaque we were contacted by Simon at the Museum, who has provided many of the images that we are using here and also pointed out some of the features still on site that we have noted. We are very grateful for his help. Then Robert Turner sent us a postcard showing another plaque, the 'Grotto' plaque.
Simon has provided us with information about memorials at Streatham, Holloway Road and Willesden LGOC bus garages, also unveiled in 1920 - 21. We will investigate and publish those in due course.