London Trolleybus on Route 654 on Anerley Hill

Anerley Hill
Click on picture [66] for an enlarged version

From: "Chris Cook" <>

Soon to ascending Anerley Hill, Versailles Road is seen to the left with its infrequently used reversing triangle, the car emerging from Thicket Road to the right, bridge over Norwood Junction-Crystal Palace railway just ahead on the right [where the hoarding's are]. There was a stabling siding for trains under the bridge, a third track alongside the usual two, I remember always looking to see what was in it when passing over on a 654.

Comment by David Bradley:

The Versailles Road reversing triangle was an addition to the overhead following the 1936 fire at Crystal Palace. It was provide as an emergency turning point should trolleybuses find it impossible to complete the journey up Anerley Hill, for whatever reason. On a regular basis it was used each Saturday afternoon for one scheduled short working and regularly when the 1 in 10 Anerley Hill was considered dangerous to climb due to inclement weather conditions.

The last stop before Crystal Palace was at the bottom of Anerley Hill where this stop sign was to be found.

Anerley Hill, Penge in 1959
Click on picture [37] for an enlarged version
Anerley Hill, Penge in 2000
Click on picture [37-2000] for an enlarged version

In picture 37, the coasting brake seems to be very effective for the trolleybus on Anerley Hill Road but I am not too sure about the cyclist!

From: "Chris Cook" <>

In picture 37-2000, a 157 descends Anerley Hill on January 21st 2000, past the same spot of picture 37 of a 654 in 1959. This trolleybus replacement route was cut back to Norwood Junction at the start of Tramlink services.

The 1950's houses have worn well and still look new. They have acquired double-glazed porches over the years. The run of Victorian houses down the hill was disrupted by a flying bomb, the pub on the other side of the road has a conspicuous plaque outside commemorating this event.

The scruffy bomb site shown in picture 37 and just out of view of the recent picture, was surprisingly not built on and has been landscaped to become a pleasant green area with footpath through it leading to Crystal Palace railway station. The transmitter mast in the background remains, but has a new top.

Picture 37-2000 was taken on an Olympus C-2000Z digital camera, on the medium-quality setting, and is from the Chris Cook collection. The quality is not as good as film, but almost there - and much more convenient!

From: "Michael Fizio" <>

I was fascinated to come across your site, as I did completely accidentally, whilst doing a search on "Anerley".

What particularly grabbed my attention was picture 37, showing trolleybus 654 coming down Anerley Hill, where I used to live. In fact the back top corner of the trolleybus is pointing to what was my bedroom window at number 29. I was 4 years old in 1959, but remember the trolleybuses very well. The tall poles which supported the overhead wires survived for many years after the trolleybus's demise.

The bomb site you describe did remain empty for many years and was a playground to me on many occasions; actually, they did build a detached house on it eventually, but it did not survive more than 15 years or so before being demolished and landscaped as you mention. The road sign "Anerley Hill Penge UD SE19" also survived for many years after the Urban District tag had been dropped.

As you rightly say, the pub opposite, "The Paxton Arms", had the plaque on it's side wall, sited near a few gouges in it's stonework. Its inscription went something along the lines of: This house bears the scars of war... along with the date of the air raid. I was there briefly last year and was sorry to see that the building had been revamped, the holes filled and the plaque removed. Perhaps they have mounted it inside, I would like to think so.

I used to go up to the Parade a lot to watch the buses. If you regularly visited, to take photographs, you may remember, as I do, the small Fire Station with a cobbled forecourt [for a single horse drawn tender, I would guess] which was halfway along the Parade; ironic that it should have survived in 1936, when all else around it was consumed. The demolition of the High Level Station was before my time, but the ornately vaulted underpass beneath the parade and the gaping railway tunnel at the end, were also [illicit] sources of wonderment and curiosity to me as a boy.

The observation regarding the exposed fog burners also struck a chord - particularly as there was always one chained to the traffic island that can be seen through the cab window in picture 66, in fact if you look carefully I think you can see it at the base of the bollard, it's spout pointing back down Thicket Rd! I used to pass it everyday as I walked down to school. A naked flame left on the road hardly seems credible now.

Thank you for sharing your pictures and memories on your website; I can't tell you what pleasure it has given me to see so many of the places, on the route I know so well, as I remember them from boyhood. I have not lived in Anerley for 25 years, I now live in Yorkshire, but your pictures have brought back memories as if they were yesterday. Thank you again.

From: "Valerie Hoy" <>

Just to let you Know I can remember the 654 trolleybus very well. Living at the top of Anerley Hill in the 1940s, they were the only public transport to go up there at the time. They were very quite until the arms came of then you knew about it! I have very good memories of them going from the Crystal Palace to Croydon.

Thanks for the pics to browse through very interesting.