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The London Passenger Transport Board 'Makes-Do-And-Mends'

Object Type: Folder
In Folder: WWII Showcase

Date of Document

Making the most out of resources available, LPTB used its factories and trained staff to manufacture war equipment. LTPB produced 20,000 gun components, 80,000 sea mine components, 101,000 parts for Bailey bridges, and 158,000 2 inch shells. Vehicles were also manufactured; 897 lorries were assembled and tested, 49 breakdown lorry bodies were constructed, 55 bridging pontoons were built for the campaign in North-West Europe; and 510 armored fighting vehicles were overhauled. 42 tanks were altered and equipped for mechanical bridge laying; 20 Sherman tanks were modified to work in 10 feet of water for use in the D-Day landings; and over 250,000 assemblies and components were constructed for armored fighting vehicles.

The London Passenger Transport Board Makes-Do-And-Mends

During World War Two, British citizens were innovative in the face of shortages. The British government’s intervention into the everyday included food and clothes rationing, and the public had to 'make do and mend' with whatever they had available. Fabric was essential for war purposes, such as uniforms. By reducing civilian clothing production, factory space and labour could be freed up for war production.

The attitude of conscientious austerity spread into all parts of life, including the workplace. The London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) was no exception. Horsehair was salvaged from window blinds off former Metropolitan line carriages. These were made into brushes at Acton Works, which were used to clean machinery and dust materials in LPTB workshops.

Volunteers were also requested to support production of aircraft supplies. Following an invitation to staff to do war work at the end of their duties, 160 volunteered at once. A photograph shows female volunteers sitting at a long bench trimming electrical wire to specified lengths.

Nearly 5 miles of new tube tunnel, intended for the Central line between Leytonstone and Gants Hill, were converted and equipped as an aircraft component factory for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. The tunnels were used by the electronics manufacturer Plessey. Items assembled in the factory included wiring sets for Halifax and Lancaster bombers, field telephones, and Enigma Code-breaking “Bombes”. 4,000 people worked in the tunnels for the four years that it was in use.

Having been released from his duties as Director of Tank Design, this Chief Engineer returned to duties at London Passenger Transport Board. Durrant would go on to lead the team of engineers who developed the Routemaster bus.

Staff drafted into wartime posts were released from their duties once the war was over. On completion of his war-time post overseeing all road-passenger services in Wales, Mr C.E. Ayres returned to his duties at LPTB after his skills were used under the Ministry of War Transport. Ayres resumed his duties as an Operating Superintendent (Country Buses & Coaches).

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