Mystery Location #727
Do you know the location of this picture and a little more about this vehicle?

Overhead Service Vehicle
Click on picture [727] for an enlarged version

From: "Hugh Taylor" <>

Around the 1950's LT had a service vehicle which was made from an obsolete double decker motor bus with the roof removed and fitted with a couple of trolleybus booms. This vehicle was used to lubricate the overhead.

A picture of this vehicle appears here but where was it taken? Anyone know?

red line

5 researchers have so far offered their opinion.

From: "Dave Seddon"

Sorry, I have no idea where it is. It looks like one of the more working class areas of London [North East or East?] but I don't know. Not very helpful I realise. Nice period photo though - you don't often see a window cleaner on his bike carrying his ladders these days.

From: "Chris Cook" <>

How frustrating that the name of the pub can't be seen! An open-air market next to a railway line ... I suppose it's an optical illusion, but the railway bridge looks barely high enough for a double-decker. The picture has to be post-war because of the white patch on the bike mudguard.

Extracted from The 'greaser' was converted as such from a former single decker in April 1938 and remained at work until June 1957, according to [Image extract shown here].

2nd thoughts - I think I have it.

The clue is the shop, 'Cookes', at no 48 in the picture. This is a pie-and-eel shop that still exists just by Goldhawk Road Station [last 'k' can be seen on the sign on the bridge] and to the right, parallel with the railway, is - then and now - Shepherd's Bush Market.

Which trolleybus route served Goldhawk Road?

Click now to enlarge map

Comment from David Bradley

Chris seems to have nailed down where this picture might be and provided some interesting information on this vehicle. Do we happen to have any visitors to this site who could take a picture from the same spot so that we can all see the difference to the local landscape that has occurred over the last 50 years?

Do click on the map thumbnail for a larger image.

Vehicle 114W features in "London Transport Service Vehicles" by Kim Rennie and Bill Aldridge on pages 64 and 65. Text in this book states that overhead wire lubricators became redundant in 1955 following the introduction of carbon inserts on trolley heads. This probably gives a clue about the date of 'our' picture as being c1949.

Click now to enlarge map

From: "Alan Pearmain" <>

Here is a better view on

The tall building with the six chimney pots is still obviously there.

As somebody else remarked, the white markings on the bike are evidence of recent blackout safety precautions, although the photo must be post-war as the bus no longer has blinkers on the headlamps. I remember seeing bikes with white painted rear mudguards still being used in the 60s.

Well spotted, Chris!

Click now to enlarge map

From: "Keith Farrow" <>

I agree with Chris Cook. Shown on LT drawings as Station Approach, the street map for Shepherds Bush garage in Wells Road, out of shot left, on the London Bus garages website [an extract from a modern/recent A2Z] indeed shows Railway Approach as Shepherds Bush Market. My guess is that the photographer also visited Shepherds Bush garage that day!

The pub is the Railway Arms. Strangely, directly opposite the Railway Arms, though out of shot – on the corner of Goldhawk Road and Wells road – is the Railway Tavern PH!

The reason I have hesitated responding sooner concerns pole 57, the one outside no. 48 Goldhawk Road. The mystery about it is it appears to have a white band painted on it [look immediately above the cyclist’s ladder], which would normally signify the presence of a section insulator to trolleybus drivers. However, there is no section insulator to be seen in the picture and neither do record drawings indicate one. I have still to search other files to see if more light can be shed on this.

The picture beautifully captures the atmosphere – bustling street scene in warm summer sunshine, with the crew of the wire greaser in shirt sleeve order seemingly enjoying themselves.

Overhead Service Vehicle

From: "Keith Hawes" <>

Nice to hear from you David, hope your well. Yup Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, W12 no doubt.

I LOVE this game!!!