National Geographic : 1937 Jan
AS LONDON TOILS AND SPINS Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart NEWS PHOTOGRAPHS, BEHIND "INVISIBLE GLASS," INTEREST PASSERS-BY IN FLEET STREET From this newspaper center, great London dailies often send photographers by special plane to picture distant events. Day and night, cameramen dash about the city in motorcycle sidecars, chasing "story shots." Nearly one million news pictures are marketed here annually. This greatest of all urban transport sys tems was formed under the Passenger Transport Act of 1933. Its Board has is sued more than half a billion dollars' worth of stock. Listed on the Exchange, it is an example of the British public utility spon sored by Government, yet owned by pri vate stockholders. EVERY DAY LONDON PEOPLE TAKE 10,000,000 RIDES The genius who guides the London Trans port Board is Lord Ashfield. Born Albert Henry Stanley, at Derby, England, Lord Ashfield came to America as a child; he grew up here, attained high posts in Detroit and New Jersey traffic systems, and then went to London as head of its Underground Electric Railways Company. "When I returned to London," he said, "I found many competing lines. When we finally organized London Transport we took over some 157 different bus, omni bus, tram, and railway lines-some owned privately, some by the city." "What was your chief handicap?" "Time," said Lord Ashfield. "It took 27 years to develop the present system." "Is it complete?" "By no means. Working with Main Line railway companies, we are begin ning a five-year program that will cost £40,000,000. Also, we need more tube railways. Our vehicles, though modern as any, are not perfect. "Centuries ago men could build beauti ful bridges and houses, but even 20 years ago bus bodies were ugly and clumsy. They were still influenced by the shape of horse drawn vehicles, our only pattern. The difference between our latest Diesel-driven, double-decked bus and the char-a -banc of a decade ago hints at what progress can be made" (Plate V). "I see so many horses here pulling trucks. Do you use any?" "None. The horse is a costly animal in any city-if you consider his slow pace, the amount of road space he occupies, and the congestion he causes. What we must aim at is a higher average speed upon the streets, to obtain their maximum use."