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Prior to 1881 the basic means of transport along the main road arteries serving Tottenham was by Horse and carriage. The arrival of the railways in the 1850's had generated a growth in population as people moved out to the then rural suburbs from central London when the notion of commuting to one's place of work became a practical reality. However it was not until the introduction of the horse-trams that public road transport really took off. North London Suburban Tramways built their first depot at the aptly named Tramway Avenue in Edmonton and it was in April 1881 when horse-trams first opened for public service on a route between Tramway Avenue and the Edmonton/Tottenham boundary. By the end of 1881 the route had been extended south to Stamford Hill and in January 1882 it had been extended north to Ponders End.

The company was certainly not reluctant in adopting modern technology because by 1885 the horse-trams had been partially replaced by steam-trams and the route extended with a connecting service between Seven Sisters Corner to Manor House and Finsbury Park. 

And so public road transport had arrived in Tottenham and by 1905 the steam-trams had been replaced by electric-trams and in 1908 the route was extended further north to Waltham Cross and another link created between Bruce Grove and Wood Green. During this time the service was to be operated by the North Metropolitan Tramways and later Metropolitan Electric Tramways(MET) before London Transport was established in 1933. .  

We have acquired a number of photographs over the past several years  from various sources and we have incorporated a number of them within this article. We will attempt where possible to indicate the location and approximate date of the photographs but I am afraid we have very limited technical information on the trams and trolleybuses etc that would appeal to the more serious bus and tram enthusiasts.

To the right is a diagram that shows the principle routes that ran through Tottenham. 

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Early Horse Trams

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Horse Tram leaving Tramway Avenue Horse Tram -Tottenham/Edmonton Boundary c1900
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Horse Tram approaching Scotland Green -High Road High Road- preparing for electric trams c 1903


Early Tram Car Photographs - By Bob Rust
The above photographs have been presented by Bob Rust (and his brother Bill) and show their Grandfather firstly standing alongside a Horse drawn tram at Tramway Avenue in 1895 and a few years later as the driver of one of the first electric trams as it passed through Bounds Green.  

Steam Trams operating in Tottenham

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Steam Tram - High Road c 1889 Steam Tram- High Road Tottenham c 1887

The steam trams were in operation for a relatively short period of time before being replaced by Electric Trams.


Tramway Construction Photographs - Linda Bonner

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We are indebted to Linda Bonner who has provided these wonderful old photographs of tram-line construction in Tottenham. Linda informs us that her husband's Great-Grandfather, William Bonner, had lived in Tramway Avenue, Edmonton and worked for the tram company. In the 1911 Census he is working as a 'Horse Tower Wagon Driver' and his son (Linda's husbands Grandfather - Also William Bonner) was an apprentice engineer for the company. In the second photograph, William Bonner Jnr is pictured standing at the back of the lorry on the right hand side. The Bonner family were later to live in Flexmere Road close to Bruce Castle Park.



Early Electric Trams
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Electric Tram Tottenham/Edmonton Boundary  1905 Junction High Road/Park Lane 1908
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Tram- Tottenham High Cross c1900 Tram- South Tottenham Station c 1909
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Seven Sisters Road approaching Wards Corner 1904 High Road-Wards Corner 1913
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Seven Sisters Road 1938 Tram- Lordship Lane
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Bruce Grove 1938 Bruce Grove Road & Cinema 1930

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TRamcar  Route 5 - Turnpike Lane Station - 1938

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Wood Green Tram Depot - Jolly Butchers Hill - 1937

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Announcement about new Trolleybus service - 1938


The new trolleybuses were much more comfortable than the old trams. The Times in 1935 was full of praise for these modern machines and marvelled that ‘they are almost silent, not only in running but in stopping and starting’. London Transport replaced its trams with trolleybuses astonishingly quickly. Between 1935 and 1940 they converted about 70% of the huge tramways system. They soon had the largest trolleybus fleet in the world. Despite these advantages, few Londoners became as sentimentally attached to trolleybuses as they were to the old trams.



Trolleybuses operating in the Tottenham Area

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Hertford Road Edmonton-Tramway Avenue Queue at Tramway Avenue Edmonton
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Route 649- leaving Tramway Avenue Depot 1960s On stand Edmonton Broadway 1960's
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Angel Edmonton-Note 'Regal' cinema in background Junction Fore Street and Angel Road Edmonton

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Trolleybuses Queuing -Spurs  v QPR 1949 Trolleybuses Queuing -Spurs  v QPR 1949 -View 2
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Turning Circle-Snells Park- On Spurs duty ! High Road - Junction Broad Lane 1961
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Junction Rudds Corner -West Green Road & High Road 1960 Seven Sisters Road and St Annes Road 1960
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Stamford Hill Junction Stamford Hill- leaving Amhurst Park Road
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Coliseum Cinema Green Lanes Haringay 1960s Entrance to Harringay Stadium- Green lanes 1960s
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Jolly Butchers Hill -Wood Green 1960s Jolly Butchers Hill - Wood Green 1960s


Assorted Tram and Trolleybus Memorabilia

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Trolleybus Logo Trolleybus illustration - Eagle Comic 1961
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Trolleybus Brochure 1937 Bus Ticket Machine
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Trolleybus Ticket Trolleybus Ticket Assortment
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Ticket Rack Trolleybus - Seat Upholstery
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Trolleybus - Upper Deck Trolley Bus - Lower Deck
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Trolleybus Staircase Trolleybus - Conductress 1947


Buses -Early Post-Trolleybus era

The now iconic Routemaster entered service in 1959, replacing trolleybuses. Previous diesel buses had already replaced London's trams. In the 1990s London's bus use increased for the first time in 50 years, due to improved service.
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early Omnibus - route 106 Tottenham to Richmond- c 1920

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Route 73 Marble Arch - En-route Tottenham

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Pictured left and above -Route 176 circa 1931

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Route 41 Bus -Turnpike Lane 1949- last day of service for 6 wheel model Interior of old London Transport RT Bus
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Route 171 Bus on Stand at Bruce Grove Route 171 -Central London- on route-Tottenham
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Route 171 -High Road & Chesnut Road - May 1970

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Route 259 - Chesnut Road -1980

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Old Route 41 Bus- Tottenham Hale to Archway. Old 76 Bus - Tottenham to Victoria Station
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Route 41 Bus- Routemaster Route 76 Bus crossing Waterloo Bridge

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Route 73 -Special Livery - Leaving Tottenham Garage Route 76-Special Livery - High Road & Broad Lane 1979
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Route 171 Bus - Routemaster Eastern National Bus - Wood Green 1977
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Route 41 Bus Route 476 Bus-High Cross 1998
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Route 73 Bus- central London Route 73 Bus leaving Tottenham Garage
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Route 73 Bus - Tottenham Garage Routemaster Bus 1963

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Tottenham Bus Garage - 1936

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West Green Road Bus garage -Willow Walk - 1959


Tottenham Bus Garage

Route 230 - Junction High Road/ West green Road

Route 41 Junction High Road -Broad Lane 1970s

Eastern National Bus -High Road /Broad Lane

Route 41 - Turnpike Lane 1949

Turnpike Lane Bus Islands 1968

Route 29 Turnpike Lane 1987

Route 144 Westbury Avenue 1970s

Route 41 West Green Road - 1970s

Route 171 - Bruce Grove 1980

Trolleybus on Stand - Wood Green Broadway

Ole Bill- Famous WW1 Omnibus - Tottenham Garage


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And finally... My cousin Tony Palmer, who now lives in Canada, spotted this bus when driving to the

Niagara Falls area. So now you know where some London Buses eventually end up !

Some nostalgic destinations on Bus roller binds

Prepared by Alan Swain - December 2009

Updated - July 2012. - Route 41 Bus at Turnpike Lane 1949 plus interior  - Trolleybuses at Spurs 1949 - Special Livery Buses in 1979 and Trolleybuses - Rudd's Corner and Seven Sister Road 1960

Updated January 2014 - Route 106 Omnibus & Route 176 Bus from 1931 - Route 171 crossing Chesnut Road- Trams Turnpike Lane and Wood Green Garage -Tottenham Garage and West Green Road Garage.

Updated March 2016 - New series of photographs - see labels above

Updated June 2016 - New photographs of early trams presented by Bob Rust

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