Shillibeer Walk, IG7

Place Name

This is one of those play on words that officials occasionally liked to employ in the naming of streets. It is named in honour of George Shillibeer (August 11, 1797 – August 21, 1866), an accomplished coach designer and builder, who introduced the omnibus onto London’s roads in 1829 and in so doing became the father of London Transport. So the name is something of a joke. He is buried in the graveyard at St Mary’s Church close by. The omnibus allowed middle-class commuters to work beyond more than walking distance from their home. Shillibeer came up with the idea of a bus service while working in Long Acre following a commission from Paris to build a large horse-drawn carriage capable of carrying a large group of people. This led to him come up with a commercial service along a standardised route with frequent stops for passengers to get on or off. In the meantime he was given an order from the Newington Academy for Girls, a Quaker school in Stoke Newington, to build a carriage for a group of children, the world’s first school bus. On July 4, 1829, Shillibeer started operating his service in London along a regular route. He began with two omnibuses carrying between 16 or 18 passengers each pulled by three horses. It ran from the Yorkshire Stingo inn at the junction of New Road (Marylebone/Euston Road) to the City Road and back. A naval officer was on board to reassure his first passengers. Fares were one shilling which included a newspaper. There are four services in each direction daily. Such was its success that the routes were extended but he soon faced competition from rival coach firms. He later introduced routes to the commuter suburbs, but was ruined by the coming of the railways. However, he lived to see the formation of the London General Omnibus Company. From 1790 there was a regular coach service between Chigwell and Aldgate, this continued until the opening of the railway from Stratford and London in 1856, which superseded coach travel. The earliest houses at Chigwell Row date from the 16th and 17th centuries. A cluster of housing on the north side of today’s Lambourne Road can be seen on Chapman and Andre’s 1777 map, though this street was not formally laid out until the 20thCentury. This was the site of the 19thCentury Montfort House, prior to that it had been Bacons. 




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