London Transport
Central Area Routes 190–194

Last updated 22-03-10.

This plate dates from the 1970-1978 period when the route did not run on Sundays. In is not likely to date from the 1950s service to Old Coulsdon, as London Transport was a bit more fastidious then about including the full stops after the abbreviations.
I wasn’t sure on this one, but I believed that there was a regular service that turned short on the 190 in Katharine Street, central Croydon (but didn’t know what period), and there was a stop there which may have been either a set down or pick up for them. See the caption below the photo of RT 1880 for another possible location, and the text for futher explanation.
Otherwise-identical “E” plates often have minor variations in letter spacing, as can be seen in the route numbers of the two SPECIAL JOURNEYS plates.
This “E” plate may have come from a stop in Croydon Town Centre which would have been served by short-working journeys terminating there.
◀ Southend Corporation Leyland PD3 MHJ346F, signed OLD COULSDON, passes under the railway bridge in Marlpit Lane, Coulsdon, on 6 January 1976. The combined bus compulsory/coach request stop at the left was coded B(C)C(R) by London Transport.
Jim Collins photo; HLB2

Ray Rock was kind enough to bring this photo to my attention, which shows RT 1880 [LLU 766] approaching the bus stand in Nottingham Road, South Croydon, where another SPECIAL JOURNEYS ONLY plate was posted. The spire of St. Peter’s Church is visible in the background. ▶
London Buses In Camera
RT 1880

Route 190 was introduced in April 1951 running daily between Thornton Heath (High Street) and South Croydon (Swan & Sugar Loaf) via Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath Pond and Croydon. In October 1952 it was extended to Old Coulsdon (Tudor Rose) on Mondays to Saturdays via Purley, Coulsdon, and Marlpit Lane, replacing route 166A. The service on the 190 to Old Coulsdon became daily in May 1956 when the Sunday service was extended there, replacing the 159. The Sunday service on the 190 was withdrawn completely in October 1970, and replaced to Old Coulsdon on this day by route 59. In 1975, owing to a severe vehicle shortage in London, the route was regularly worked by Southend Corporation Leyland PD3s still retaining their provincial blue and cream livery, and as a result the 190 became a much-photographed route. The Sunday service on the 190 was reintroduced in October 1978, replacing the 59 which was withdrawn. In September 1987 schoolday-only journeys were extended from Old Coulsdon to Taunton Manor School. However, just eight months later in May 1988 the 190 became a Sunday-only service, and was replaced on Mondays to Saturdays by route 50. The 190 was finally withdrawn in July 1990, the service to Old Coulsdon provided daily by route 50.

Malcolm Grace writes:

There was a scheduled short run from Thornton Heath (High Street) to Croydon (Katharine Street) in the mid-1970s. They were Monday to Friday rush hours: a couple in the morning and a couple in the evenings. These were scheduled runs running in both directions, the bus dropping off at Katharine Street then running light to pick up for the return journey at the George Street stop for the 194B/197A. I know this for sure as I used to catch it going to and coming from work, as it dropped me nearer to the Fairfield Halls than the normal 190, and at the time I tried to use the 190 as the 194B and 197A had been converted to DMS. (Routemasters were still on the 190.) I also seem to remember a scheduled short run that turned at Coulsdon (Red Lion). It would turn into Chipstead Valley Road then left into Lion Green Road before turning back into Brighton Road (northbound), waiting at what was then the stop outside Waitrose. (The building is a restaurant now.) This was also one of the regular turning points for buses on the 166 and 190 if they were late running, as well as South Croydon Garage, Nottingham Road (usually called SWAN & SUGAR LOAF on the blinds) and Thornton Heath Garage.
I am afraid that by then I was more interested in other things—like girlfriends, music and my own car—to take too much notice of the buses, other than using them to go from Thornton Heath to Croydon, but in the back of my mind I have a feeling that there may have been a regular short from Old Coulsdon back to West Croydon Bus Station which would have taken it off route at Station Road. I wonder if the plate with OLD COULSDON came from that time?
I well remember the Southend Titans in 1975/6. In actual fact, it was quite difficult to ride on them as they were often “subbed” for an RM by the crew whenever possible, particularly in the rush hour, as the crash gearboxes were not popular.

The number 190 has subsequently been used for a route between Fulham and Richmond via Hammersmith.

Route 191 was introduced in 1954 running daily between Chingford Hatch and Lower Edmonton Station via Chingford Mount, Hall Lane and Edmonton, extended on Mondays to Saturdays to Lower Edmonton (Goodwin Road) via Bounces Road. In 1958 the Sunday service was withdrawn. In 1966 it was extended from Lower Edmonton to Enfield Town via Nightingale Road and Ponders End. In 1968 it was extended from Chingford Hatch to Chingford Station via Friday Hill, but was cut back again in 1981. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Lower Edmonton Station and Chingford Hatch, but extended from Enfield Town to Carterhatch via Chase Side and Forty Hill replacing route 135. In 1985 it was further extended from Carterhatch to Brimsdown Station via Bell Lane replacing part of route 231, and also introduced on Sundays between Enfield Town and Brimsdown. The Sunday service was again withdrawn in 1987. In 1990 it was rerouted in the Ponders End area to serve Alma Road and Durants Road. In 1994 it was again introduced on Sundays over the whole route.

Up (to CHINGFORD STATION, dated 23.3.74(R)) and down (to ENFIELD TOWN, dated 16.1.71) timetables for the 191.
Operated throughout its life by Enfield Garage [E] until converted to midibuses in 1996, the 191 also had a partial allocation at Edmonton Garage [EM] from 1977 to 1982. Although the normal crew changeover point was Lower Edmonton Station, apparently some journeys ran along Hertford Road to the Garage.
1702 on route 649
P1 class trolleybus 1702 [GGP702] in Tramway Avenue at Hertford Road, about to start a journey on the 649 to Waltham Cross. The entrance to Edmonton Garage is just visible at the end of the street. The North London Suburban Tramway Company opened its horse-tram depot in 1881. The Metropolitan Electric Tramways rebuilt it for electric cars in 1904, and expanded it in 1907. It was converted for trolleybuses in 1938, then diesels in 1961. The garage was closed in 1986 and subsequently demolished. It is now the site of the Granary Close housing estate.
Photo courtesy of Dave Bradley’s

For some reason, the numbers are smaller and spaced more widely than ususal on this “E” plate.
Plates with  FARE STAGE  are always rather more uncommon, especially on short routes, and “E” plates for this route are not often seen around for that reason.

Route 192 was introduced in 1956 and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Woolwich and Woodlands Estate via Plumstead and Plumstead Common. In 1959 it was extended from Woolwich to Lewisham via Eglinton Hill, Shrewsbury Lane, Shooters Hill and Blackheath, replacing route 89A. In 1960 a Sunday afternoon service was introduced between Lewisham and Woolwich, and in 1963 the Sunday service was revised to run all day and extended through to Woodlands Estate. In 1981 the route was withdrawn and replaced by today’s route 291.

The present route 192 now runs between Enfield Town and Tottenham Hale.

The number 193 was first used for a short-lived experimental route from Dagenham East Station to Fords Works. It was replaced by extra rush hour journeys on route 25 effective 26 November 1958.

Leo Solosy writes: “I am wondering if the short-lived 193 in about 1958 ever had ‘E’ plates. I guess it’s not likely but maybe down at Fords or around the Kent Avenue terminal where other routes stopped at different stops, there may have been. I am not sure that [this] earlier 193 ever appeared on a map. I do remember seeing it in during the summer of 1958 in Dagenham when I went swimming at The Leys swimming pool in Ballards Road. It very was very quickly renumbered to 25 in November 1958 to enable it to be worked from Forest Gate [G] rather than Hornchurch [RD]. The allocation moved to West Ham [WH] after Forest Gate closed [in 1960]. My main memories are of the detached section of the 25 in Dagenham being operated by WH.”

Route 193 was reintroduced just nine months later on 19 August 1959, with RT buses replacing trolleybus route 693, and ran daily between Barking (London Road) and Chadwell Heath (Wangey Road) via Ilford and Seven Kings. It was extended on Saturday afternoons to Hornchurch Garage via Romford and Roneo Corner to boost the 86A (later 86) for Romford Market. Later that year it was extended from Barking to Thames View Estate. In 1963 it was withdrawn between Barking (London Road) and Thames View Estate and replaced by route 179, and was extended daily from Chadwell Heath to Upminster Park Estate via Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster and Avon Road, replacing route 86. In 1966 it was withdrawn on Sundays. In 1970 it was withdrawn between Hornchurch (White Hart) and Upminster Park Estate and replaced by route 248. Full conversion to Routemasters came in 1977, when it was extended from Hornchurch to Hacton Lane Estate. In 1982 it was withdrawn between Romford (St. Edward’s Way) and Barking and converted to one-man-operation by Titans. In 1985 it became one of the first routes to be offered for tender by London Transport and was transferred to Eastern National. In 1986 it was converted to minibus operation and withdrawn between Hornchurch and Hacton Lane, and rerouted to operate instead to County Park Estate via Hornchurch Station, Suttons Lane, Vaughan Avenue, Ascot Gardens, Bevan Way and Hacton Lane. In 1996 it was extended from Romford to Oldchurch Hospital, and rerouted between Romford and Hornchurch via Osborne Road instead of Roneo Corner. Leo adds: “If my memory serves me correctly (and I am not sure that it does), the ‘E’ plates for the [Romford Market] extension had red lettering on a white background showing 193 and beneath it SATURDAY AFTERNOON.”

1986 Hornchurch hoppa notice
With the 1986 conversion to Ford Transit minibuses, the 193 was rebranded the Hornchurch HOPPA, and notices such as this were posted at stops along the route.
The wording WEEKDAY was London Transport’s earlier method of describing Mondays to Saturdays, when people tended to work a six day week. As the working week reduced to five days, the description became ambiguous, so later plates used MON.-SAT. or MON.-FRI., as appropriate.
193 MON.-SAT.
193 MON.-SAT
This “E” plate is rather unusual in having a full stop only after MON but not after SAT.
This plate was re-created in Photoshop—but does anyone by any chance have one they’d be willing to part with…?

Route 194 leaflet

Route 194 ran daily between Forest Hill Station and Croydon Airport via Lower Sydenham, Penge, Anerley, Elmers End, West Wickham, Shirley, East Croydon and Denning Avenue. In 1963 the Sunday service was renumbered 194C and diverted via Shirley Way, but the 194C was withdrawn in 1970 and the 194 became daily again. In 1975 the Sunday service was once again diverted via Shirley Way and this time renumbered 194A, and the 194A was withdrawn in 1992, the Sunday 194 being reinstated yet again. In 1996 the 194 was withdrawn between Croydon and Croydon Airport, rerouted instead to West Croydon (Bus Station).

Leaflet for the one-person-operation conversion of route 194 starting 6 January 1973, with print code 1172/3783S/52,000. This leaflet has brief details of the changes and a fare table on the front. Inside are bus stop timetables for the service and on the back are diagrams showing how to use split entrance buses.

Route 194B was introduced in 1963 and ran on Mondays to Saturdays between Shrublands Estate and Thornton Heath garage via Wickham Road, Shirley, East Croydon, West Croydon and London Road. It was extended during Monday to Friday peak hours and on Saturdays to Thornton Heath (High Street). In 1970 it was extended to Thornton Heath (High Street) at all times on Mondays to Saturdays. In 1988 it was cut back from Thornton Heath (High Street) to Thornton Heath Garage except during Monday to Friday peak hours and Saturday daytimes. In 1990 part of the service was diverted via Shirley Way, and later that year the Monday to Friday midday service was restored to Thornton Heath (High Street). The route was withdrawn in 1992 and mainly replaced by new route 198.

194B MON.-SAT.
194B MON.-SAT.


Route 194C was introduced in 1963 and ran on Sundays only between Forest Hill Station and Croydon Airport via Lower Sydenham, Penge, Anerley, Elmers End, Eden Park, West Wickham, Shirley Way, East Croydon, and Denning Avenue. It was withdrawn in 1970 and replaced by route 119B, and the reintroduction of the 194 on Sundays.

I believe this is a very difficult “E” plate to obtain, possibly because the route only lasted seven years.

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