RMs 5 to 253
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Notes About This Vehicle

The first horse bus started running in London on 4th July 1829, between Paddington and Bank. This single vehicle service was operated by George Shillibeer.
In 1978, in anticipation of commemorating the 150th anniversary of this pioneering event, London Transport re-painted RM2 in a pastiche livery of the original in an attempt to seek advertising sponsorship for the following year. The result was particularly attractive, greatly enhanced with beautiful emblems reminiscent of the originals.
The aspiration for the number of vehicles to be thus decorated the following year wasn’t stated in the rate card brochure at the time. As it turned out, twelve Routemasters took to the streets in March 1979 in a livery very similar, though not identical to, RM2, having been re-painted at routine overhaul. In addition, the ex-London Country exhibition and cinema bus RCL was also decorated.
The result was that five of the Routemasters carried North Thames Gas advertisements; the other seven sporting those for Nescafé, Esso, the Scottish Tourist Board, the Leeds Building Society, Watney’s London Bitter, Oldham Batteries, and Addis, the latter of which is depicted in this drawing. Leyland Vehicles, probably wanting to be associated with a more modern bus, advertised on the lone DMS to be painted in a similar style.
Sir John Betjeman, the then Poet Laureate, arrived on a replica horse bus to perform a ceremonial launch at London’s Guildhall, with buses entering service the following day.
The routes selected on which these buses ran provided a wide area of visibility around London. Each advertiser’s bus moved around, organized as three concurrent three-month schedules, however, in reality there were several occasions where individual buses strayed and were often seen on other routes.
The contracts expired at the end of November 1979 though only two of the Routemasters returned to standard red livery quickly; the others surviving in Shillibeer regalia into the following year, albeit carrying other advertisements until then. All were re-painted red by February 1980.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing from 1963 ‘RM001.Z.1’, revised a few times to 1964. This type of black & white sketch drawing, as implied by the name, is not intended to define detail but as a specification guide to builders.
All the fine detail has been interpreted from a large number of colour photographs of all twelve Shillibeer Routemasters and attempts to show this particular vehicle as closely as possible to how it looked when it was in service in this livery in the third of its schedules. None of the detail can be regarded as definitive.
It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see each part of the vehicle at a truly perpendicular angle. In real life this is of course impossible.
drawing copyright Douglas Rose March 2018
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