COLOURFUL ROUTEMASTERS

The London icon was in vogue 50 years ago as the basis of some of Britain’s first overall advertising double-deckers. Today, some properly red ones are operated as a visitor attraction.

IAIN MACGREGOR

In 70 years since the first Routemaster appeared, they have performed many roles in London other than the one for which they were built, of carrying up to 64 or 72 seated passengers on the capital’s red bus network.

Between August 1969 and April 1976, 28 of London Transport’s Routemasters — 22 RMs and six RMLs — doubled up as mobile advertisement hoardings, as the organisation embraced overall advertising. There never were more than 13 in service concurrently, and that was only in June, July and December 1973.

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