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Between the World Wars 1919 – 1939

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the history of Leyton and Leytonstone

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Wealthier people could afford private cars.  Ordinary people used trams and buses.  

In 1921 the London County Council took over operation of Leyton's tram routes and carried out extensive track relaying.  Responsibility for overhead equipment remained with Leyton Urban District Council, the trams still showed Leyton UDC's name and insignia, and indeed were painted with the Borough monogram when Leyton got that status.

Trams have disadvantages.  The rails could be dangerous for cyclists and others using thin-wheeled vehicles.  A woman remembered the trams along Lea Bridge Road waking her family up at 5am 1.  Another remembered the trams as slow “boneshakers” 2. In the 1920s buses overtook trams in popularity 3, which meant that for a period privately owned mass transportation was better patronised than the trams which were operated by local authorities.  Leyton was the base for ‘Pro Bono Publico’ at 736 Lea Bridge Road and the Gordon Omnibus Co Ltd at 219 Lea Bridge Road, both taken over by London Transport in 1933 4.  Nevertheless, in 1931 Leyton Corporation bought 50 new trams.

Horse-riding and horse-drawn vehicles had become largely restricted to leisure activity by the 1930s 5.

London Docks particularly the Royal Docks were the destination for trams, trolleybuses and buses.  >>

2  WFOHW interview reference number 70

1  WFOHW interview reference number 46

3  London Transport Museum display November 2007

4  London's Buses, Volume One, The Independent Era 1922 – 1934 by K C Blacker, R S Lunn and R G Westgate (1977)

5  see collections of historic photographs such as Walthamstow Historical Society’s ‘Waltham Forest 1910-1940’ and ‘Waltham Forest Revisited 1910-1940’


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