London Transport bus, trolleybus and tram network maps, and maps issued for special events (1940s-1970s)

We've just catalogued a collection of folding maps published by London Transport between the 1940s and 1970s showing bus, trolleybus and tram networks, and transport access maps issued for the London Olympic Games of 1948, the Festival of Britain in 1951, and Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953. Included are several decorative Green line coach and country bus maps. 

The maps of the city's trolleybus and tram networks (1946-1950) by Fred Elston and Hale are a particular curiosity; later maps combined trolleybus and tram routes on the single maps with (diesel) bus route maps, and by 1962 London's trolleybus and tram networks had both ceased to exist.

Trams operated in London between 1860 and 1952. By 1914 the London tram network was the largest in Europe; however they were later increasingly seen as inflexible and expensive to operate and maintain, and London's trams were all replaced by diesel buses and trolleybuses by 1952. The city had no tram network at all for the subsequent 48 years until the current generation of service commencing with the Croydon Tramlink in 2000. 

Trolleybuses, which were effectively standard buses converted to use electric engines powered by overhead cables above the public road network - served London between 1931 and 1962. For much of its existence, the London system was the largest in the world, peaking at 68 routes. In a perhaps short-sighted move, the trolleybus fleet was replaced by diesel vehicles from 1959.

Although less celebrated than the iconic Underground "circuit diagram" map introduced by Harry Beck, these maps have plenty of historic curiosity value, and from a design perspective the unheralded Fred Elston made a valiant attempt to replicate Beck's diagrammatic approach in his bus, tram and trolleybus maps (1946-1949). Perhaps due to the visual complexity of the network, later network maps by Hale (1950) Benjamin Getzel Lewis (1949-1968) and David Penrose (from 1969) reverted to a geographically accurate approach.