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London Buses in the 1970s (Hardback)

1975–1979: From Crisis to Recovery

British History Transport London Photographic Books 20th Century Buses London Transport

By Jim Blake
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 25
ISBN: 9781473887169
Published: 7th August 2019

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Continuing with photographs from Jim Blake's extensive archives, this book examines the second half of the 1970s, when both London Transport and London Country were still struggling to keep services going. This resulted both from being plagued by a shortage of spare parts for their vehicles, and having a number of vehicle types which were unreliable the MB, SM and DMS classes.

In 1975, both operators had to hire buses from other companies, so desperate were they. Many came from the seaside towns of Southend, Bournemouth and Eastbourne. This continued until the spares shortage began to abate later in the decade, particularly with London Country.

As the decade progressed, the two fleets began to lose their 'ancestral' vehicle types. London Country rapidly became 'just another National Bus Company fleet', buying Leyland Atlanteans and Nationals common to most others throughout the country. Having virtually abandoned the awful MB and SM-types, London Transport had to suffer buying the equally awful DMSs well into 1978, but had already ordered replacements for them by that point the M class Metrobuses and T class Titans both of which would finally prove successful. However, plans to convert trunk routes serving Central London to one-person operation were largely abandoned.

Reviewed alongside British Municipal Bus Operators

Jim Blake has a number of bus books to his name, and is well regarded in bus circles. The photos are good and clear with information about each bus and information on various bus types as well. A potentially useful resource for the modeller.

Diesel and Electric Modellers United, Issue 92

A very interesting book. The passenger transport crisis in London in the mid-1970s was a major event.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

This is a compilation of photos taken in the difficult period in the late 1970s when LT and London Country were plagued with maintenance problems. A valuable record of the London scene at the time.

West Somerset Railway Association

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 Jim Blake

About Jim Blake

Jim Blake was born in December 1947, just before the nationalisation of Britain's railways and London Transport, born and brought up in Canonbury in today's London Borough of Islington, he lived in the heart of London's legendary trolleybus system and also had North London's last trams, which served Kingsway Subway, on his doorstep.


This ensured a life long interest in buses, trolleybuses and trams, as well as railways, which most young lads had in the 1950s.


He begun transport photography in 1961, subsequently taking over 100,000 still pictures and went on to cover transport subjects with his cine camera in colour during the late 1960s and 1970s.


Since 1977 he has had a considerable number of books published covering bus and railway subjects across the country, looking at a wide number of fleets and operations.


Much of his work encapsulates a time of great change in the world of transport, with many types of vehicle and chassis types diminishing owing to standardisation.


The operators were in themselves also changing and his books reflect the changing transport scene of this interesting period, showing the social changes as well as that of the corporate.

Perfect Partner

British Buses 1967 (Hardback)

This book looks at an important turning point in the history of the bus industry in Britain. 1967 was the penultimate year to the end of an era, when private and semi-nationalized company's operated the bus networks in this country. After 1967 the network was never the same again, with the formation of the National Bus Company in 1968. The NBC was a very bland organization compared to the colourful bus companies that had existed before nationalization, and many small municipal fleets amalgamated to form Passenger Transport Executives. This comprehensive volume covers a large number of the bus…

By Jim Blake

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