Information Within Picture

Having bought the book, the next stage was to scalp the photograph for as much information as possible.

The process seemed to move at the pace of tectonic plates online, but the process was really very simple. Outlined below in video, with times to complete every given task recorded.

The other elements were found by simple Google searching:

  • Between the buses is a Morris Royal Mail van.
  • Behind the white van is probably a Ford Consul MKII judging by script on rear wing.
  • Behind the Consul MKII is a Ford Anglia 105E. Easily indentifiable by the reverse rear screen.
  • The London buses were found via their registration numbers and are RTL and RTW models. I would like to thank Steve Fitzgerald of PSV Circle for providing this information.
  • The building on the right is the department store Marshall & Snelgrove. Found via an image search on Getty images for shops on Oxford Street.

What was the traffic layout?

Was Vere Street one way, no left or right turn or two way when the photograph was taken in 1962?

As to no right or left turn, the video below with the Rentokil lorry in centre stage clearly shows a car turning right. As this is a more difficult manouvre than turning left, am going to make the assumption, always dangerous, that left turns were allowed also.

Was Vere Street one way when the photograph was taken? No. It was two way, because if you compare the traffic lights next to the lady with the white hat to the traffic lights in the image above of Marshall & Snelgrove in 1967, you can see that the set of lights facing Oxford Street has been removed in the more recent image. The more recent image clearly shows Vere Street is one way and has a no entry sign on the Oxford Street side.

The videos below, albeit from 1956, show the layout as it would have worked in 1962.

Please note: The video and images are licenced from Getty images. If you want to use them on your website, then buy yourself a licence.

As an aside, that we will deal with later, it is quite likely that The Blue Car is not turning left out of Vere Street, but rather going across Oxford Street into New Bond Street. This is because, and this will be painfully clear to some forum contributors very soon for other aspects of this search, Vere Street is at an angle to Oxford Street.

Can the date of the photograph be narrowed down further?

This one took some time and digging around. The day being overcast did not help either as it was like many other British days…

The answer came from an advert on the bus behind the lady in the white hat. Distinctive, but undecipherable. The trail then led to the London Transport Museum and a trawl through their photographic archive.

Luckily, there was a picture of a bus in 1962 going up Putney High Street with the same advert, but this time clear enough to be read.

The advert was for the 1962 Royal Tournement and some quick further research ascertained that the Tournament ran from July 11th to July 28th.

We found from further research, that the bus company was reasonably quick removing adverts from the buses, so it is a sensible assumption that the picture containing The Blue car was taken between 27th June 1962 and 3rd August 1962.

Correspondence from the London Transport museum:
“After speaking to one of our well informed Museum Friends I have found out the following:

The advertising rates cards show that the minimum period for an advert was two weeks. There was then a sliding scale of charges up to a maximum of one year. In the case of a specific event such as the Royal Tournament it is unlikely that it would be advertised too far in advance. Probably the adverts would be posted two to four weeks in advance. At the time of the event the buses on the routes concerned may also have been fitted with “To & From slips” advertising the event.

I know that this is not specific to the bus advert you are interested in, and I don’t think that we will be able to find that detailed information, but I do hope this answers some of your questions.”

What time was the picture taken?

You will have to take my word for this one at the moment, but the photograph was taken at very close to 5pm in the evening.

Further proof to follow as need to clarify a couple of historic points first, so please take this time as a guess (although it isn’t).

Reflections on the windscreen of The Mystery Car on Vere Street.

There has been conjecture over what is the shadow on the windscreen of The Mystery Car in Vere Street, London.

The solution was to take ourselves to the scene and video some vehicles exiting Vere Street and see what reflections occurred on their windscreens.

Conclusive answer. The reflection comes from the right of Vere Street and would have been the lights and signs in the middle of the road above the white Ford Thames 300E van.

Not a reflection on Vere Street.

To be expanded on further, but the “reflection” in the upper side window that appears as some horizontal stripes/light stripes is in our opinion a seat belt mounted on the rear deck going over the drivers shoulder.

The seat belt is mounted vertically on the rear deck and gradually turns to go horizontally over the drivers shoulder. Hence the light/grey lines converge and get thinner as the belt goes forward and its aspect to the camera lessens.

The crudely mocked up driver has been placed lower in the car to make a point, but the seat belt, if a Sunbeam Alpine standard seat was used unmodified, is at the perfect height for a 5ft 8in person.

As an aside the image below, that was run through an AI enlargement program, shows what appears to be some sort of cable tie/tether holding on the rear hub cap. Shown to the right of centre of wheel trim rising in a NEE direction.

What has been learnt from this process?

It can really be as simple as using Google.

What was discovered?

Virtually every key part of the image was identified within an hour.

The next stage?

Re-create the elements within the image to solve the unknown element which is The Blue Car.