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  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
London Transport

Body set up in 1969 to run London's *underground and bus services on behalf of the *Greater London Council. In 1984, a year before the abolition of the GLC, the services were transferred to London Regional Transport, answerable to the secretary of state for transport, though the name in everyday use remains London Transport. The monopoly of public transport in central London dates back to 1933 when the London Passenger Transport Board was established with power to take over all bus, tram, trolleybus and underground railway services. The monopoly ended in the mid-1990s, with the deregulation of central London bus routes.

London buses have a history dating back to a horse-drawn service between Paddington and the Bank in 1829. In 1855 a French concern, trading in Britain as the London General Omnibus Company, began buying up the small individual bus firms; it adopted, in 1905, the wheel-and-bar symbol which is now widely known as London Transport's logo. The last horse-drawn bus retired in 1914. Its motorized *double-decker successor later became one of the characteristic sights of London's streets.

The original underground companies, of which the Metropolitan Railway was the first in 1863, formed themselves in 1902 into a single operation, the Underground Group. It was this group which in 1927 commissioned the famous building above St James's Park station which is now LT's headquarters. Designed by Charles Holden (1875–1960) and his partners, it was the tallest office building in London at the time; sculptures were carved on location on its exterior walls by leading artists, including Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill and Henry Moore.

In 1980 LT's extensive collection of road and rail vehicles, posters and other memorabilia was opened as the London Transport Museum, housed in a Victorian flower market in Covent Garden. Veterans of London Transport play a time-honoured role on Remembrance Sunday (see *Armistice), when they are the final group parading past the Cenotaph; their presence on the parade reflects not only their courage in keeping London's transport system moving throughout the *Blitz, but also the extraordinary fact that in World War I employees of London Transport drove troops to the front in double-decker buses.

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