When I first moved to Loughborough Junction, just at the end of the terrace I lived in at that time was the Redwing coach depot. It was located on land where Norfolk House once stood, until it was demolished in the 1890’s to make way for the building of Norfolk Terrace. The west end of the terrace was destroyed by a bomb during WW11 at the corner of 145-147 Coldharbour Lane and Vaughan Road.
This bombing left vacant land was led to its use as a coach depot for some years, as this photo from the Lambeth Archives shows. This photo dates from 1972.
A quick search of the Kelly Post Office Directory for 1972 shows World Wide Coaches occupying 145/147 Coldharbour Lane in that year.
They sold in 1978, the depot to Wahl of Heidenheim, a German company who had become very successful in the German day tour business and whose owner Fritz Wahl thought a London operation could be a successful expansion of his business.
Here is a photo of a Wahl coach taken in 1979, possibly at the Depot.
image discovered for sale on ebay
Due partly to over expansion around 1988 the German company experienced severe financial difficulties and became bankrupt and while the UK company carried for a while , eventually a new company called Redwing Coaches was set up by Paul Campana who used to work at Wahl Coaches UK. This company still exists today. They moved the company to new premises in Milkwood Road. Paul Campana retired in 2006.
The company was briefly sold to Addison Lee, but was then purchased back in a management buyout in April 2013.
The old site on Coldharbour Lane was developed into houses and flats and renamed Redwing Mews.
Update: February 2019
Redwing Coaches have now left the area and moved out to Croydon. The photo shows the abandoned yard. They didn’t have control of the land and I understand that a Shurgaard storage centre will be built.
The Shurgaard Self Storage has been up and running since December 2019.
Photos: loughboroughjunctionblog, 2016 and 2019
Hi. Just came across this site. I was one of the first coach drivers to work for Dr Wahl in this depot in Coldharbour Lane London.
Worked for the company for many years and loved every second of it.
For the first few years I did London sightseeing and Airport transfers.
Then one day one of our Around Great Britain tour drivers was suffering a bad cold, I was asked to drive the 8 day tour for “Caravan tours” one of many tour companies that used our coach company. Had a wonderful time.
On arriving back at the depot my transport manager Mr Tony Smart asked me if I would like to drive more Coach tours around the UK and Ireland, I said yes please. Within a day or two I was sent to drive the first ever “Insight International” tour of UK . Then after this, for a few months, I drove for many different Tour companies but then I was requested to drive only for “Insight” . Which I did for many many very happy years.
One day I was requested to meet the Owner/ boss of Insight International tours. He said that I had learned so much about the tourism industry and the information and knowledge and history he offered me a job starting immediately as a Company Tour Director. I accepted, as long as I could talk to my “Boss” at Wahl coaches, He said,” Give it a go and if you don’t like the job you can come straight back and work for me still driving UK tours”
Finally, to end this very short story, for 5 to 6 months a year I drove coaches for Wahl coaches who eventually changed to Redwing coaches ( the name redwing came about because or the red painted wing towards the rear end of the coaches)
For the next 6 to 7 months every year I was a Tour Manager for Insight International. What more could a person ask for to drive beautiful coaches one day and the next as a Tour Director the next.
Then to almost finish my story. I met and married a lovely woman from the other side of the world where I live today in Melbourne Australia………” Who would have thought it eh?” I became a driver
/ guide for Gray Line tours Melbourne for 10 great years then on my 70th birthday I retired……I am now almost 73 and look back on my working life and I say to myself that I would not have changed a thing.
Wonderful, wonderful great memories.
Thanks to Wahl coaches…..Redwing coaches….. Insight International Tours and Gray Line Australia.
Hi Joe, I remember you well from the great time I worked at Wahl. My name is Ken Dixon and have great memories of my time at Wahl with Tony and a few others
Hi Ken,I remember you too. Great days eh. Tony Smart was the transport manager at Wahl and I met him in London a few years ago when I came over for a holiday.
He lives near Keston in Kent
Hope you are keeping well you must be in your 70s now and I’m almost 74.
All the very best. Joe
Excuse me lol I am 62 now. But great to hear from you again.
I loved my time at Whal and some of the great characters that worked there like the mad Irish man with dodgy legs, I ended up doing eurolines to Barcelona and back twice a week when Whal had the contract.
The last time I saw Tony smart was maybe 20+nyears ago early one morning near Portland place and he had a mini bus named Smart travel.
I hope all is well with you and yours.
Hi Ken.All well here down under. The mad Irishman was called Tommy Blake. Sadly he die about 10 years ago.
When I was a Tour Manager for Insight International Tommy drove some of my tours around the UK and yes he was ” Over the top.”
Tony Smart now owns Smartbus in Keston Kent….. I will be seeing him a a couple of weeks time when I go back to the UK for a holiday
I remember you driving to Spain and back like a yoyo.
Good Times Eh!