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London Passenger Transport Board

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Type  Public body
Purpose  Transport authority
London Passenger Transport Board

Formation  1933 (London Passenger Transport Act 1933)
Extinction  1948 (Transport Act 1947)
Headquarters  55 Broadway, Westminster, London
Region served  London and within 30 miles (48 km) of Charing Cross

The London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) was the organisation responsible for local public transport in London and its environs from 1933 to 1948. In common with all London transport authorities from 1933 to 2000, the public name and brand was London Transport.



The LPTB was set up by the London Passenger Transport Act 1933 enacted on 13 April 1933. The bill had been introduced by Herbert Morrison, who was Transport Minister in the Labour Government until 1931. Because the legislation was a hybrid bill it had been possible to allow it to 'roll over' into the new parliament under the incoming National Government. The new government, although dominated by Conservatives, decided to continue with the bill with no serious changes, despite its extensive transfer of private undertakings into the public sector. On 1 July 1933 the LPTB came into being, covering the "London Passenger Transport Area".

The board

The LPTB had a chairman and six other members. The members were chosen jointly by five "appointing trustees" listed in the Act:

  • The chairman of the London County Council;
  • A representative of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee;
  • The chairman of the Committee of London Clearing Banks;
  • The president of the Law Society; and
  • The president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
  • The Act required that the board members should be "persons who have had wide experience, and have shown capacity, in transport, industrial, commercial or financial matters or in the conduct of public affairs and, in the case of two members, shall be persons who have had not less than six years' experience in local government within the London Passenger Transport Area."

    The first chairman and vice-chairman were Lord Ashfield and Frank Pick, who had held similar positions with the Underground Group. Members of the board had a term of office of between three and seven years, and were eligible for reappointment.


  • Lord Ashfield, 1933–1947
  • Frank Pick, 1933–1940
  • Sir John Gilbert (London County Council), 1933–1934
  • Sir Edward Holland (Surrey County Council), 1933–1939
  • Patrick Ashley Cooper, director of the Bank of England, latterly Sir Patrick and Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company
  • Sir Henry Maybury, civil engineer, chairman of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee, 1933–1943
  • John Cliff, secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, 1933–1947
  • Charles Latham, (London County Council) 1935–1947
  • Colonel Forester Clayton, 1939–1947
  • William Charles Henry Whitney (co founder)
  • Colonel C G Vickers, 1941-47
  • William Neville, 1946-47
  • Sir Gilfrid Craig, 1944-46
  • Sir Edward Hardy, 1946-47
  • Geoffrey Hayworth, 1942-47
  • Latham and Cliff become chairman and vice-chairman of the successor London Transport Executive in 1947.

    London Passenger Transport Area

    The London Passenger Transport Area had an approximate radius of 30 miles (48 km) from Charing Cross, extending beyond the boundaries of what later officially became Greater London to Baldock in the north, Brentwood in the east, Horsham in the south and High Wycombe in the west.


    Under the Act the LPTB acquired the following concerns:


  • Underground Electric Railways Company of London, which controlled:
  • London Electric Railway, the management company of:
  • Bakerloo line
  • Piccadilly line
  • Hampstead & Highgate line (now Northern line Charing Cross, Edgware and High Barnet branches)
  • City and South London Railway (now Northern line Bank and Morden branches)
  • Central London Railway
  • District Railway
  • Metropolitan Railway, which controlled:
  • Great Northern & City Railway
  • Tramways

  • London County Council (167.17 miles (269.03 km) of route, including tracks owned by the Borough of Leyton and the City of London) and 1,713 trams
  • Middlesex County Council (42.63 miles (68.61 km) of route, leased to Metropolitan Electric Tramways)
  • Hertfordshire County Council (21.5 miles (34.6 km) of route, leased to Metropolitan Electric Tramways)
  • City of London (0.25 miles (0.40 km) of route, operated by London County Council)
  • Barking Corporation (operated by Ilford Corporation, London County Council and East Ham Corporation since 1929) (1.8 miles (2.9 km) of route)
  • Bexley and Dartford Urban District Councils (joint undertaking since 1921) (10.29 miles (16.56 km) of route and 33 trams)
  • Croydon Corporation Tramways (9.28 miles (14.93 km) of route and 55 trams)
  • East Ham Corporation Tramways (8.34 miles (13.42 km) of route and 56 trams)
  • Erith Urban District Council Tramways (4 miles (6.4 km))
  • Ilford Urban District Council Tramways (7.13 miles (11.47 km) of route and 40 trams)
  • Leyton Corporation Tramways (operated by London County Council since 1921) (9.0 miles (14.5 km) of routes)
  • Walthamstow Urban District Council Light Railways (8.93 miles (14.37 km) of route and 62 trams)
  • West Ham Corporation Tramways Corporation (16.27 miles (26.18 km) of route and 134 trams)
  • London United Tramways (29.05 miles (46.75 km) of route, 150 trams and 61 trolleybuses)
  • Metropolitan Electric Tramways (53.51 miles (86.12 km) of route, of which 9.38 miles (15.10 km) were owned by the company, 46.23 miles (74.40 km) leased from Middlesex County Council and 21.5 miles (34.6 km) from Hertfordshire County Council and 316 trams)
  • South Metropolitan Electric Tramways (13.08 miles (21.05 km) of route and 52 trams)
  • Buses and coaches

  • London General, London General Country Services, Overground, Tilling & British Automobile Traction, Green Line Coaches
  • Further history

    The LPTB was empowered to enter into co-ordination agreements with the main line railway companies concerning their suburban services.

    Ninety-two transport and ancillary undertakings, with a capital of approximately £120 million, came under the LPTB. Central buses, trolleybuses, underground trains and trams were painted in "Underground" and "London General" red, coaches and country buses in green, with coaches branded "Green Line". Already in use on most of the tube system, "UNDERGROUND" branding was extended to all lines and stations. The name was said to have been coined by Albert Stanley, 1st Baron Ashfield in 1908 when he was General Manager of the Underground Group.

    The LPTB embarked on a £35 million capital investment programme that extended services and reconstructed many existing assets, mostly under the umbrella of the 1935–1940 "New Works Programme". Although only about £21 million of the capital was spent before World War Two it allowed extensions to the Central, Bakerloo, Northern and Metropolitan lines; new trains and maintenance depots; extensive rebuilding of many central area stations (such as Aldgate East); and replacement of much of the tram network by what was to become one of the world's largest trolleybus systems. During this period two icons of London Transport were first seen: 1938 tube stock trains and the RT-type bus. Although curtailed and delayed by the outbreak of World War Two, the programme also delivered some key elements of the present overground sections of the Underground system. However, the most profound change enacted by the Board through the new works was the transition from tram to trolleybus operation alluded to earlier. In 1933 the LPTB had operated 327 route miles of tramways and 18 route miles of trolleybuses. By 1948 these totals were 102 and 255 miles respectively. The final disappearance of trams in 1952 was regretted by some sections of the staff and the public, but in terms of impact on users this was probably the most visible and dramatic change in the period.

    The LPTB continued to develop the corporate identity, design and commercial advertising that had been put in place by the Underground Group. This included stations designed by Charles Holden; bus garages by architects such as Wallis, Gilbert & Partners; and more humble structures such as bus stops and shelters. The posters and advertising issued by the LPTB were often of exemplary quality and are still much sought after.

    The LPTB was replaced in 1948 by the London Transport Executive under the Transport Act 1947. It was effectively nationalised, but with considerable autonomy. The LPTB continued to exist as a legal entity until wound up on 23 December 1949.


    London Passenger Transport Board Wikipedia