The Routemaster might have a reduced presence on the capital’s roads, but the old stock have found plenty of other uses.
The poster child for repurposed bussage, Rootmaster stood in Ely Yard off Brick Lane from 2006 to 2010. London’s ‘first vegan bustaurant’ is no more, but you can still enjoy the artful website that accompanied it.
The Estate Agents
“The first thing you’ll do when you visit our office is smile,” says the blurb for this improbable business in Camden Town. Even looters don’t smile when entering an estate agents, so this is no mean feat by Camden Bus, who’ve been trading al autobus for 25 years. Find them on the corner of Parkway and Arlington Road.
The Bike Library
Remember how Thunderbird 2 used to have that pod compartment which could unleash submarines, giant drills and mobile cranes? Well, the Bicycle Library does something similar, spewing out different kinds of bikes to help save the planet – possibly with stirring incidental music. The idea is that you pop along and borrow a bike to see if it suits you…no strings attached. It’s currently up in Hackney near London Fields. And, yes, we know it’s not a Routemaster.
The Crazy Golf Course
The trophy for most surreal use of a Routemaster must go to this mini-golf course in Turnham Green. We must admit, all we have to go on are some intriguing photos, and the hazy memory of one of our contributors…so if you’ve got any further info about this oddball addition, let us know in the comments.
The Fish and Chip Shop
What could be more British than our former national dish served from a crimson double-decker? (Well, apart from Ross Kemp being beaten a patriotic red, white and blue by a looter with a cricket bat.) We’re not sure if this one’s still trading, but it’s been spotted in Shoreditch, Greenwich and the South Bank.
The Nuptial Transporter
We’ve all seen this. Routemasters for hire for that special day. You can’t get married on board, but they can transport you and your guests between venues in something akin to style. ThisBus.com seems to be the leading operator, offering the distinctive transport for all occasions, but specialising in weddings.
The Spooky Tour
Take a theatrical journey around the capital’s spookiest spots on a ‘haunted’ black Routemaster. The Conductor and his accomplice Mr Hinge camp up the action in a genuinely entertaining tour. You even get to hold a seance on the upper deck. We took a ride a couple of years ago, and lived to tell the tale.
And A Real Phantom Bus?
One of London’s most unusual ghost stories concerns the phantom Number 7 of Ladbroke Grove. Numerous witnesses have supposedly seen the spectral vehicle on Cambridge Gardens over the past 70 years. You just can’t keep a good bus down.
We’re sure there must be many other examples out there, including repurposed Routemasters overseas. Chip in in the comments with any additions, and send images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also: recycled Tube stations.