The Ghost Bus of Ladbroke Grove


The Ghost Bus of Ladbroke Grove was a phantom speeding double-decker in 1930s Kensington, writes MJ Wayland

Ladbroke Grove Station
Ladbroke Grove Station

In the middle of the 1930s a large red London Bus, bearing a “7” route number harassed motorists in the North Kensington area of London.

The Junction of St Mark’s Road and Cambridge Gardens in that area had long been considered a dangerous corner – it was “blind” from both roads and had been the scene of numerous accidents.

The decision of the local authority to straighten out the bend was partially influenced by the testimony of late night motorists.

Many claimed that they had crashed while swerving to avoid a speeding double decker bus that hurtled down St Marks Road in the small hours, long after regular buses ceased service.

A typical report to the Kensington Police read “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 see no crew or passengers. I yanked my steering wheel hard over and mounted the pavement, scraping the roadside wall. The bus just vanished.”

After one fatal accident, during which a driver had swerved and hit the wall head on, an eyewitness told the coroner’s inquest that he had seen the mystery bus hurtling towards the car seconds before the driver spun off the road.

Locals claim to see Ghost Bus of Ladbroke Grove

When the coroner expressed what was perhaps natural cynicism, hundreds of local residents wrote to his office and to the local newspapers offering to testify that they too, had seen the “Ghost Bus”.

Among the most impressing of these witnesses was a local transport official who claimed that he had seen the vehicle draw up to the local bus depot in the early hours of the morning, stand with engine purring for a moment, and then disappear.

Eventually the local council straightened out the road there, and the accident rate was greatly reduced. Thereafter there were no more reports of the ghostly red bus.

Have you seen the ghost bus of Ladbroke Grove – tell us in the comments section below!

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  1. I having the same experience, but in Sendai, Japan. there was a bus, not the general bus, but a Bus which is old driving down the beri beach road, I was driving and it came out of nowhere I reacted slow and closed my eyes, but I didn’t collide. when I saw back, there was no bus

  2. I cannot remember the exact year but it was around the late 1950,s early 1960 when I was in my mid teens.
    I was born in and still lived in Cambridge Gardens, the section between Portable Road and Ladboke Grove, and had been visiting my cousins in Oakworth Road off St Marks Road.
    It was November and a somewhat damp slightly misty night when I left to go home expecting to walk home given the late hour thinking buses had finished for the night so was pleasantly surprised to see a bus standing at the stop almost immediatly (slightly to the left) as you come out of Oakworth Road with St Charles Hospital grounds immediatly behind bounded by a tall brick wall.
    All the lights were on the engine was running and the drivers cab empty. I hurried across passing in front of the bus and going along its nearside length to the boarding platform and stepped on board.
    The down stairs was completly empty-no passengers no conductor still empty drivers cab-so I went up the stairs to the top deck which was also completly empty.
    I had no adverse or “spooky” feelings but something, clearly, did not seem right so I stepped of back onto the pavement checking again the lack of passengers, conductor or driver. The engine then reved up and the bus took off down St Marks road towards Ladbrook Grove disapering into the light mist 50/100 yards further on.
    Feeling miffed and very confused I set out on my walk home.
    I had never heard of a ghost bus and did not find out there was such a thing untill many
    years later chancing on an articale in one of the then evening papers.
    No Driver, No conductor, no passengers?
    At the time my Saturday job was selling of a barrow in Portabelo Road and I attended the not to genteel Issac Newton comprehensive so pretty grounded.
    Make your own mind up – I know what I saw/experienced.


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