See inside the London Transport Museum's massive depot in one-off weekend opening

By Ben Miller | 20 February 2014

A rare chance to see inside the "great big treasure story of London's transport history" takes place at the London Transport Museum's west London depot this spring

An ancient poster showing a bus in 19th century Britain
An early illustration of the Enterprise steam coach run by the London and Paddington Steam Carriage Company© TFL
For an hour a day over one March weekend, transport enthusiasts will be able to step inside some of the buses within the hallowed depot of the London Transport Museum in Acton, West London – home to a 400,000-stong collection which includes posters, engineering drawings, signs and ephemera.

A photo of people standing in a transport museum
The Depot opened in 1999© Museum of London Transport
On a bus-themed mini-fesitval which gives star billing to a live replica of the first ever mechanically-propelled public service bus – Walter Hancock’s Enterprise, built in 1833 – there’s also a mini bus rally teeming with visitors from private collections, bus pit tours, rides on a miniature railway, curatorial excursions around the small object displays, film screenings and a talk. It won’t open again until a military-themed weekend in September.

“The original Enterprise carried paying passengers in London,” explains Lyndsey McLean, the Public Programmes Manager, calling Hancock a “pioneering engineer”.

“The version visiting the depot was built by Tom Brogden, of Macclesfield, and will be running under steam.

“The depot is a great big treasure story of London’s transport history – it is the perfect place to celebrate buses.

“We’ve got lots going on with tours of our small object store, new displays, the chance to get on some of the buses in the collection and screenings of films that are rarely seen, as well as talks by Professor Nick Tyler, who researches what really happens at the bus stop. The list goes on.”

Some of them are dedicated to the Routemaster, which McLean reckons is London’s favourite icon. A Cabinet of Curiosities will also highlight some of the less well-known makes on the road, while storytime and make-and-take sessions will be held twice on each day of the weekend, which is part of the museum and Transport for London’s Year of the Bus celebration.

  • Acton Depot Open Weekend takes place March 15-16 2014. Book online.

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