The Phantom Bus Of Ladbroke Grove

This spooky tale concerns a phantom bus that haunted North Kensington between Cambridge Gardens and Chesterton Road junctions on St. Mark’s Road. Although it seems to have lain dormant for over 50 years, J.A. Brooks wrote about it in his book, ‘Ghosts Of London.’

In June 1934, a young motorist suffered a terrible death when his car, for no apparent reason, swerved off the road, hit a lamp post and burst into flames. At the Inquest, several witnesses spoke of their own encounters with the ghost bus which always appeared on the same stretch of road, usually at the junction of Cambridge Gardens and St. Marks Road and In each case, it was a No.7 operated by the London General Omnibus Company. Therefore it carried the word ‘General’ on its side, the LGOC became the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933 and by June 1934 nearly all the fleet bore the ‘London Transport’ lettering.

Incidents involving the bus always occurred at the same time, 1.15am, which was a strange time for a No.7 to be about. Witnesses came forward to tell how the bus tore down the middle of the road towards them and forced them to desperately swing their vehicles off the road to avoid it. When they looked back, no bus was ever seen ! After the Inquest, even more people came forward with their own experiences, others tried to offer rational explanations suggesting that it was a late staff bus or an apparition caused by reflections ?

Martin Jeffrey wrote of a typical report made to the Kensington Police that stated, ” I was turning the corner and saw a bus tearing towards me, the lights of the top and bottom decks and the headlights were full on but I could not see no crew or passengers.”

Another report was from a local Transport Official who claimed that he had seen it draw up in the local bus depot in the early hours of the morning with its engine purring and then disappeared. Eventually the local Council straightened the road and there were no more reports of the ghostly red bus.
Jerry Pike wrote a poem about it, the first four lines are as follows:
‘Cambridge Gardens 1.15, the morning bell had rung its last,
Most residents tucked up in bed, and precious few were driving past.
October 1934, and from a mist of late night smog,
The number 7 blaring lights, descended on those lost in fog’

Steve Russell