Transportation

By Mustafa Suleman

By 1900 Harris Lebus was already employing 1,000 workers in London’s East End, expansion was greatly needed. Lebus did what may Londoners were doing at the time – moving to Tottenham.

Harris Lebus initially purchased 13-1/2 acres of land in Tottenham Hale, the new location was ideal as it was on the banks of the River Lea and beside two railway lines.

The benefit of good transportation wasn’t just important from a logistical point of view – for the delivery of raw materials and finished goods, but for the 6,000 employees that worked for Lebus at the peak of production.

Tottenham station

The station opened on 15 September 1840 as Tottenham, on the Northern & Eastern Railway (N&ER) line from Stratford in East London to Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.

It was renamed Tottenham Hale in September 1968 when it became an interchange station with London Underground on the opening of the first stage of the Victoria line.

Tottenham station 1945

Tottenham station 1945

Tottenham station by Ferry Lane bridge

Tottenham station by Ferry Lane bridge

Tottenham station ? goods yard to the right

Tottenham station, goods yard to the right

Passenger train passing Tottenham station 1855 ? Ferry Lane bridge in the background

Passenger train passing Tottenham station 1855, Ferry Lane bridge in the background

Railway sidings outside Finsbury works,1952

Railway sidings outside Finsbury works,1952

Tottenham station 1960s

Tottenham station 1960s

Tottenham Hale station 1979

Tottenham Hale station 1979

Tottenham Hale early 1900s

Tottenham Hale early 1900s

Trolleybuses and busses

Trolleybuses served London from the early 1930s to the early 1960s, routes 623 and 625 served Ferry Lane with route 627 often terminating at Tottenham Hale station.

The London trolleybus system was at its peak the largest in the world; they were originally designed and built specifically to be worthy tram replacements.

In 1954, it was announced that all trolleybuses were to be replaced, with the exception of the post-War vehicles, which would be retained until about 1970 and run over the original LUT trolleybus routes. Conversion began in 1959, using RT buses for the first three stages, and the new diesel-powered Routemasters for the remainder.

LT tram route 23 at Ferry Lane, this route was replaced by trolleybus route 623 in 1936

LT tram route 23 at Ferry Lane, this route was replaced by trolleybus route 623 in 1936

Route 623 outside The Ferry Boat Inn, Ferry Lane

Route 623 outside The Ferry Boat Inn, Ferry Lane


Route 627 outside The White Hart, Tottenham Hale

Route 627 outside The White Hart, Tottenham Hale

Route 623 on Broad Lane

Route 623 on Broad Lane



Trolleybus map 1950

Trolleybus map 1950

Four Trolleybus posts still remain on Ferry Lane

Four Trolleybus posts still remain on Ferry Lane

41 on route to Tottenham Hale late 1930s

41 on route to Tottenham Hale late 1930s

Trolleybus replacement outside Tottenham station

Trolleybus replacement outside Tottenham station

Victoria line

Planning for the Victoria line dates back to 1933 when the London Passenger Transport Board was formed (TPTB), however it wasn’t until after the war that plans were put forward for the new line, there were several proposals for the router with destinations as far as Wimbledon Croydon, Enfield and Waltham Forest.

In August 1962 the government announced that construction of the Victoria line could proceed, it had an estimated project cost of £56 million – excluding the Brixton extension which was confirmed in August 1967 and was estimated to cost £15.9 million.

Being a significant engineering project in the capital, the Victoria Line was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in March 1969. The operation of the Victoria line was opened to the public in three stages with a further Brixton extension totalling 13.3 miles:

Walthamstow to Highbury & Islington – September 1968
Highbury & Islington to Warren Street – December 1968
Warren Street to Victoria – March 1969
Victoria to Brixton (although Pimlico station wasn’t quite ready) – July 1971

Northumberland Park Depot is the service and storage area for trains on the Victoria Line and is the only part of the line above ground. The later employees of Lebus at Tottenham Hale would have been able to enjoy the benefits of this ultra-modern, stylish and rapid new underground line.

1964 scale model of the proposed new rolling stock

1964 scale model of the proposed new rolling stock

1960s London Transport poster

1960s London Transport poster

Publicity poster

Publicity poster

Poster for the Brixton extension

Poster for the Brixton extension

Official opening by HRH Queen Elizabeth II

Official opening by HRH Queen Elizabeth II

Tile motif at platform level - Tottenham Hale

Tile motif at platform level – Tottenham Hale





River Lea

The River Lea (or Lee) originates from Luton and flows to London where it meets the River Thames. The stretch by Tottenham lock was a factor for the choice of location to Tottenham Hale, raw materials would arrive to the Lebus factory via the river.

Lock keepers house early 1900s

Lock keepers house early 1900s

Tottenham lock overhead view early 1900s. Lebus factory to the top right

Tottenham lock overhead view early 1900s. Lebus factory to the top right

Tottenham lock 1910

Tottenham lock 1910

Ferry Lane bridge before Tottenham lock 1950s. New Lebus warehouse to the top left

Ferry Lane bridge before Tottenham lock 1950s. New Lebus warehouse to the top left

3 thoughts on “Transportation

  1. K. S. Parker says:

    It was noted on 17th March 2016,
    that the four Trolleybus post by Tottenham Hale railway station have now been removed. They were still there late in 2015. Their condition was giving concern to Network Rail. Only a stump remains on the railway side of the road over rail bridge.

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