London … celebrating sixty years of the iconic Routemaster bus by ‘routing’ out Transport for London’s stunning ‘Year of the Bus’ sculptures across the capital

It’s a rare Londoner who doesn’t moan on a regular basis about the capital’s public transport system. Yet, it is equally rare for a Londoner old enough to remember them, to not have a soft spot for the iconic Routemaster double decker bus.

Although Routemasters are now rarely seen on the streets of London and are very much missed by Londoners and tourists alike, Transport for London in association with Wild in Art is celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the classic bus with sixty specially commissioned ‘Year of the Bus’ sculptures. These charming scaled models, albeit based on the new Routemaster design, have been lovingly adorned by local artists and figures with strong roots in the capital. Forty-one of these sculptures were on display around central London and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford between October and December 2014. The remaining seventeen were displayed in Croydon, South London during the month of December in 2014. One sculpture – Rootmaster Bus – was revealed at the Olympic Park in January 2015 when all the sculptures were brought together for one last time before being auctioned off for charity (photos of which can be found at the end of this post). The sixtieth sculpture – Icon Bus – was painted at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park during the weekend of the 24th and 25th of January 2015 where a number of other activities were organised to mark the final gathering of the sculptures. All the sculptures were auctioned off (February 2015) to raise money for a number of worthy charities.

Below are photographs, a few childhood memories and the odd quip on all but the Croydon bus sculptures (photographs of those bus sculptures can be found on a separate post by clicking here).

Please note: the post below does contain a very large number of photographs so you may experience some buffer waiting and may even need to refresh the page should it get stuck. Apologies if you do, and I do hope the wait and effort will be worth it.

Enjoy. TLT x


 

360 Panorama of London

Rob Wilson

Trafalgar Square, Westminster Trail

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Tower Bridge Bus

Michelle Heron

Old Billingsgate Walk, Thames Path, River trail

Competition time: guess which one is the real Tower Bridge

Competition time: guess which one is the real Tower Bridge

...


I often used to wander as a child when travelling around London on the top deck of an old Routemaster bus (and it was always so much more fun sitting upstairs) what the colour of the Routemaster ceiling had originally been. Had it once been a pristine white now coated in a thick layer of nicotine from years of exposure to passengers’ cigarette smoke, or had it always been that sticky yellowy-brown colour.


 

Moquette

Beth Quinton

Penny Brookes Street, East Village, Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

A fab(ric) design

A fab(ric) design


 

Buckingham Palace Bus

Mandii Pope

Victoria Street, Westminster trail

The Victoria(n Palace) and Albert (Public House)

The Victoria(n Palace) and Albert (Public House)

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Mandii Pope Buckingham Palace Bus left side Victoria Street with old Routemaster Westminster


 

Dazzle Bus

Stephen McKay

London Bridge City Pier, River trail

Poor Dazzle Bus, clearly not dazzling enough to distract these tourists from the riverside view behind it

Poor Dazzle Bus, clearly not dazzling enough to distract these tourists from the riverside view behind it


It was a sad day when the then Mayor of London Ken Livingston replaced the iconic Routemaster bus with modern alternatives in the mid Noughties. Having buses that offered boarding access the wheelchair users was of course a very valid reason for the Routemaster’s replacement. The design of the old Routemaster made access for wheelchair users totally impossible and refurbishing these vehicles that in some cases had clocked up forty years on the road, simply wasn’t a financially viable option at the time.

But, the removal of the Routemaster from the streets of London was like a removal of a part of London itself and most Londoners, myself included, greatly mourned their permanent departure.


 

The Paralympic Bus

Tom Yendell

Mandeville Place, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

Ahhh... brings back fond memories: meeting the Superhumans at London 2012

Ahhh… brings back fond memories: meeting the Superhumans at London 2012


 

Swinging London

Sian Storey

St Martin’s Close, Westminster trail

Sadly not celebrating Carnaby Street's key role in putting the 'swing' into the 1960s in Carnaby Street itself, but in St Martin's Court half a mile away (no idea why)

Sadly not celebrating Carnaby Street’s key role in putting the ‘swing’ into the 1960s in Carnaby Street itself, but in St Martin’s Court half a mile away (no idea why)


 

Orla Kiely

Painted by Sarah Jane Richards

St. Mary Overie’s Dock, River trail

A quiet Sunday morning in St Mary Overie's Dock

A quiet Sunday morning in St Mary Overie’s Dock


 

Invisible to the Environment

Pawel Srokowski

South of the Park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

Myself and Pawel Srokowski's sculpture trying to be invisible in the Olympic Park. I was less successful. The reflection of my hand can clearly be seen in one of the panels. Tut!)

Myself and Pawel Srokowski’s sculpture trying to be invisible in the Olympic Park. I was less successful. The reflection of my hand can clearly be seen in one of the panels. Tut!


 

Tunnel Vision

One Red Shoe

Cardinal Place, Victoria Street, Westminster trail

A heavenly sight ... with Westminster Cathedral in the background

A heavenly sight … with Westminster Cathedral in the background

the most delightful example of photo-bombing I have experienced to date (he came out of nowhere)

the most delightful example of photo-bombing I have experienced to date (he came out of nowhere)


As a child passenger I often drew stick men (and once wrote the word ‘bum’ to my mother’s displeasure) in the ever present condensation on the inner windows of Routemasters. During the Autumn I beared the rain splashing in through the windows as a consequence of playing on the silver crank handles (which were so much fun) needed to open a sliver of window. In the Winter months everyone shivered in the near Arctic conditions inside the bus due to the back constantly being open to the elements and a heating system at the front by the driver’s cabin, that never seemed to work.


 

Brollybus

Jane Veveris Callan

Tate Modern, Bankside, River trail

This was taken on the warmest Halloween on record (22 degrees Celsius) so not a drop of rain nor a brolly in sight. Typical

This was taken on the warmest Halloween on record (22 degrees Celsius) so not a drop of rain nor a brolly in sight. Typical

...


 

Journey to Anywhere

Oliver Dean

Victory Park, East Village, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

Only a true Londoner would recognise and know the significance of this pattern

Only a true Londoner would recognise and know the significance of this pattern

Proposed Tube line extensions? The Tube map of the future

Proposed Tube line extensions? The Tube map of the future


 

Poppy Fields

Sarah Jane Grace

Covent Garden, Westminster trail

A summer scene in a winter (shopping) wonderland

A summer scene in a winter (shopping) wonderland

At the launch in Trafalgar Square

At the launch in Trafalgar Square

...


 

Legible London

Fiona Stewart

Outside Southwark station, Blackfriars Road, River trail

A fortuitous shot

A fortuitous shot


 

Union Jack

Kristian Movahed

Mandeville Place, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Part trail

Some pedants may point out that this design can only be called a Union 'Jack' if flying from a water-bound vessel. Others may add that this particular Union 'flag' design is actually upside down. But, who cares? It's a marvellous design and a tear of pride is coming to my eye

Some pedants may point out that this design can only be called a Union ‘Jack’ if flying from a water-bound vessel. Others may add that this particular Union ‘flag’ design is actually upside down. But, who cares? It’s a marvellous design and a tear of pride is coming to my eye


 

London Skyline Bus

Kristjana S Williams

Charing Cross Road, Westminster trail

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail Tfl Wild in Art Kristjana S Williams London Skyline Bus Charing Cross Road back and side with Nelson's Column


 

Spectrum

Kristel Pillkahn

Glazier’s Hall, River trail

Spectrum Bus literally acting like a prism here

Spectrum Bus literally acting like a prism here


 

CumuloniumBUS

Loz Atkinson

The International Quarter, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

Is CumuloniumBUS wandering as lonely as a cloud (bus)?

Is CumuloniumBUS wandering as lonely as a cloud (bus)?


 

London Telephone Bus

Stephen McKay

Parliament Street, Westminster trail

All those gorgeous telephone boxes to hand, but thanks to the mobile phone revolution he is in need of none of them anymore

All those gorgeous telephone boxes to hand, but thanks to the mobile phone revolution he is in need of none of them anymore

Two fine gentlemen waiting for a bus (sculpture) at the Trafalgar Square launch

Two fine gentlemen waiting for a bus (sculpture) at the Trafalgar Square launch

Mobile phone-bus-sculpture!

Mobile phone-bus-sculpture!

A London night bus (sculpture)

A London night bus (sculpture)


 

All Aboard the Number 8

Anna Rawles and Jennifer Rodgers

Threadneedle Street, River trail

The Number 8 and Tower 42

The Number 8 and Tower 42


 

Dazzler

Sophie Green

ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

I'm glad no one was around to see me lying on the ground to get this shot. I'm still plucking gravel out of my hair as a result

I’m glad no one was around to see me lying on the ground to get this shot. I’m still plucking gravel out of my hair as a result


 

Rock ‘n’ Royal

Damien Jeffery

Leicester Square, Westminster trail

More like Cock 'n' Royal at the Trafalgar Square launch

More like Cock ‘n’ Royal at the Trafalgar Square launch

Fabulous top(s)

Fabulous top(s)


 

Push Once

Mini Moderns, painted by Sophie Green

Cheapside, River trail

Well, I pressed every one and nothing happened (maybe I was supposed the press them all at the same time)

Well, I pressed every one and nothing happened (maybe I was supposed the press them all at the same time)


 

English Herbaceous Border

Sarah Jane Richards

North of the Park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

France has its famous lavender fields of Drôme, whilst England has an herbaceous border by its Olympic Velo-drome (hawh-hawh)

France has its famous lavender fields of Drôme, whilst England has an herbaceous border by its Olympic Velo-drome (hawh-hawh)

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail TfL Wild in Art Sarah Jane Richards English Herbaceous Border front pink flowers


 

London Takes the Bus

Rod Hunt

Victoria Street, Westminster trail

London clearly does take the bus. Every time I tried to take a photograph of Rod Hunt's sculpture, a bus kept getting in the shot

London clearly does take the bus. Every time I tried to take a photograph of Rod Hunt’s sculpture, a bus kept getting in the shot

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Rod Hunt bus in way

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Rod Hunt London Takes the Bus Victoria Street front and left side with bus in background


 

Route Masters

Edward Carvalha-Monaghan and Damien Jeffery

Bankside, River trail

A crowd amongst the crowd

A crowd amongst the crowd

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Around the River trail TfL Wild in Art Edward Carvalho-Monaghan & Damien Jeffery Route Masters and the Shard

Taking good care of Route Masters after the Trafalgar Square launch

Taking good care of Route Masters after the Trafalgar Square launch


 

Hold Tight

Mini Moderns, painted by Jane Headford

North of the Park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

Catching the sun set whilst catching this bus (sculpture)

Catching the sun set whilst catching this bus (sculpture)


 

Busby

Oliver Dean

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, Westminster trail

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Oliver Dean Busby Covent Garden left side and back with London Transport Museum

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Oliver Dean Busby Covent Garden right side and back

Lots of saluting going on at the Trafalgar Square launch

Lots of saluting going on at the Trafalgar Square launch


 

New Routemaster

Candida Boyes

Outside Southwark station, Blackfriars Road, River trail

The man in the background is at a distance and not a scaled down model of a bus driver to go with this perfect mini Routemaster

The man in the background is at a distance and not a scaled down model of a bus driver to go with this perfect mini Routemaster


I was once told off by a Routemaster conductor for pulling the bell rope too hard which resulted in three rings of the bell. Every Londoner knew one ring from the rope that travelled the length of the bus into the driver’s segregated cabin meant ‘stop’, and two rings that could only be administered by the conductor meant ‘carry on’. My bus driver clearly interpreted my enthusiastic ringing as a cancellation of a stop request and as a result passed my stop by.


 

Ding! Ding!

Crispin Finn

International Square, outside Stratford International station, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

A favourite with Leslie Phillips

A favourite with Leslie Phillips


 

Cath Kidston London Scene

Cath Kidston

Piccadilly Circus, Westminster trail

Yes, the 'Year of the Bus' sculptures are certainly here Piccadilly

Yes, the ‘Year of the Bus’ sculptures are certainly here Piccadilly

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Cath Kidston and Sarah Jane Richards Cath Kidston Bus Piccadilly Circus left side with Union flag


 

Childhood on a bus

Arizona Smith, ambassador for Kids Company

Friday Street, River trail

Illustrating the hardships that some innercity children sadly have to endure

Illustrating the hardships that some innercity children sadly have to endure


 

Time Travel

Sara Adhitya

Timber Lodge Cafe, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail TfL Wild in Art Sara Adhitya Time Travel Timber Lodge Cafe front and right side with the Orbit in background

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail TfL Wild in Art Sara Adhitya Time Travel Timber Lodge Cafe front and left side


 

Come Rain or Come Shine

Thomas Dowdeswell

Edgware Road, Westminster trail

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Thomas Dowdeswell Come Rain or Come Shine Edgware Road front and right side

Memories of the open back platform (see below)

Memories of the open back platform (see below)


Ahhh … the infamous open platform at the back of the bus that was witness to many near misses of injury and even death from impatient passengers jumping on and hopping off whilst the bus was moving. I myself once twisted my ankle quite badly when I jumped off the bus in front of my school straight into the path of a bicycle. I survived both the fall and the screaming reprimands of the conductor and cyclist.


 

Punk’ed

Valerie Osment

St Paul’s Cathedral, River trail

Is that Johnny Rotten to the left there? He looks anarchic

Is that Johnny Rotten to the left there? He looks anarchic


 

Lest We Forget

Lee O’ Brien

Horse Guards Avenue, Westminster trail

A moving tribute in the centenary year of the start of the First World War

A moving tribute in the centenary year of the start of the First World War

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Lee O'Brien Lest We Forget side landscape Horse Guards Avenue

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Lee O'Brien Lest We Forget roof letter Horse Guards Avenue


 

Twenty Four Seven

Deven Bhurke

Gloucester Close, near the Tower of London, River trail

A day in the life of a bus sculpture

A day in the life of a bus sculpture

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Around the River trail TfL Wild in Art Deven Bhurke Twenty Four Seven Bus left side

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Around the River trail TfL Wild in Art Deven Bhurke Twenty Four Seven Bus with All Hallows By The Tower church


 

Accessibus

Liliana Ortega Garza

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, Westminster trail

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Liliana Ortega Garza Accessibus London Transport Museum back and right side


 

Travels with Edward

Valerie Osment

Lower ground floor of Stanford’s, Covent Garden, Westminster trail

Edward Stanford, map specialist extraordinaire. Only fitting then to have a Routemaster sculpture in a route master's shop

Edward Stanford, map specialist extraordinaire. Only fitting then to have a Routemaster sculpture in a route master’s shop

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Valerie Osment Travels with Edward Stanfords Covent Garden left side detail and wheel


 

Gull Graeni Straeto

Kristjana S Williams

Transport for London headquarters, Victoria Street, Westminster trail

Kristjana S Williams's second sculpture was on display inside TfL's HQ a few weeks before the official Year of the Bus launch. Thank you to TfL Security for allowing me inside the building to take a closer look at it

Kristjana S Williams’s second sculpture was on display inside TfL’s HQ a few weeks before the official Year of the Bus launch. Thank you to TfL Security for allowing me inside the building to take a closer look at it

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Kristjana S Williams Gull Graeni Straeto side detail


 

Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster

Jenny Leonard

Victoria Street, Westminster trail

And what a fine chap he is

And what a fine chap he is

This sculpture is now a permanent feature along Victoria Street and can be viewed anytime. There are no plans (June 2015) at present to remove it.


 

Rootmaster Bus

Ruth Pickard

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Rootmaster Bus was first revealed in January 2015 when all the sculptures were brought together at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before the charity auction

Rootmaster Bus was first revealed in January 2015 when all the sculptures were brought together at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before the charity auction

Solar and water powered. Possibly the greenest bus in town

Solar and water powered. Possibly the greenest bus in town


 

Icon Bus

Jennie Grover, Michelle Heron and Mandii Pope

St James’s Park tube station arcade

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture TfL Wild in Art, the missing bus sculpture, Icon Bus, Jennie Grover, Michelle Heron, Mandii Pope, St James Park tube station, left


At the end of January 2015 all but two of the sculptures were brought together for one last time at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before being auctioned off a few weeks later. It was lovely to see them all again, although a part of me couldn’t help but wonder if I had known they were eventually going to end up all together at the park, I could have saved myself a lot of time running around the rest of London trying to find them all! It was a lot of fun though doing so.

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture the final gathering at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park TfL Wild in Art with Union Jack by Kristian Movahed

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture the final gathering at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park TfL Wild in Art with Rock n Royal by Damien Jeffrey

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture the final gathering at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park TfL Wild in Art in from of the Aquatic centre and Orbit

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture the final gathering at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park TfL Wild in Art with The 75 to Crocus Valley Liz Watkins

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture the final gathering at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park TfL Wild in Art with The Paralympic Bus by Tom Yendell


The Routemaster has thankfully made a welcome return to the streets of London in recent years. The present mayor Boris Johnson introduced a wheelchair-friendly twenty-first century version of the Routemaster in 2012, the Heritage Route 15 has recently been using well preserved original Routemasters along Cannon Street between Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge at the weekends for tourists to enjoy, and occasionally I spot an iconic double decker taking a wedding party to a post-ceremony venue.

I cannot think of another mode of public transport that is thought of so fondly by the residents and visitors of a city even years after its general withdrawal from public use. The fact that works of art have been commissioned, created and dotted around the city to celebrate it is testament to its enduring popularity.

Photographs of the seventeen Croydon bus sculptures …

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Croydon trail TfL Wild in Art Anna Rawles and Jennifer Rodgers The Library The Civic Centre Katharine Street, from below  Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Croydon trail TfL Wild in Art Matt Bannister Surrey Street Market Matthew's Yard, front and side with building  Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Croydon trail TfL Wild in Art Deven Bhurke Queen of the Sky Church Street, side with church

… can be found by clicking here.

TLT x


I waited ages for a bus when suddenly Routemastersone hundred turned up at once. A fine display of old Routemasters at Finsbury Park, North London earlier in the year (2014).

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