Battle Bus 2016: The Lost Generation

Battle Bus 2016 Learning programme: The Lost Generation

With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and London Transport Museum Friends, a historic London B-type bus has been converted into a First World War military troop carrier. The bus (B2737) is one of only four surviving vehicles of its kind, and was built in Walthamstow just before the First World War.  It started service in 1914 on Route 9 (Barnes to Liverpool Street) and then became one of over 1,000 London buses requisitioned for service by the War Department. The buses had a variety of uses throughout the war including troop carrier, whilst some were converted to ambulances, supply lorries and even mobile pigeon lofts

Alongside the restoration of B2737 London Transport Museum is also running an in-depth learning and engagement programme. Throughout the centenary of the First World War, the programme will work with different groups of volunteers to investigate new perspectives of the Battle Bus and bring to life the stories of those affected by the war.

During 2016 London Transport Museum appointed S.I.D.E Projects to develop and deliver their Exhibition Volunteer Learning Programme. S.I.D.E Projects recommended working with three teams of volunteers; a research team, an exhibition team and a legacy team, to produce a North East London touring exhibition and local legacy piece, telling the story of the Battle Bus from a local perspective and marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the many lives that were lost.

Research volunteers: A team of ten enthusiastic young research volunteers were recruited from across London. They are working with by S.I.D.E Projects, London Transport Museum staff and expert historians, Andy Robertshaw and David Lawrence, to explore the contribution the London’s buses and their drivers made during the First World War. They are also researching the effects of other major 1916 events on the lives of everyday Londoners from Tottenham, Walthamstow and Enfield. This talented team was tasked to gather and curate stories, ready to be passed onto the exhibition volunteers. As well as delving into archives, gathering content and taking field trips, the team uncovered local stories at an event they organised called the Battle Bus Roadshow at Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham. The research volunteers also produced this blog to document their experience.

Exhibition volunteers: Once the research phase was complete, S.I.D.E Projects, with London Transport Museum and a local film maker, worked with a group of Year 9 students from Northumberland Park Community School in Tottenham to create this film:

The 2016 Battle Bus touring exhibition

The Battle Bus touring exhibition was unveiled at London Transport Museum in October 2016. It then went on tour to Bruce Castle Museum and other local venues.

Images of the research volunteers (Feb-April 2016):

Acknowledgements:

The Battle Bus learning programme is made possible thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and London Transport Museum Friends. Special thanks to David Lawrence; Kingston University, Andy Robertshaw, Bruce Castle Museum, Northumberland Park Secondary School and Centenary Battlefield Tours, for their support on the project so far.

The 2016 Battle Bus learning programme and research workshops have been developed for London Transport Museum by www.sideprojects.london. This has included development of the programme concepts, engagement of the participants and partners, stakeholder management, workshop delivery and internal evaluation.

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