I’ve hunt learning something about escalators. The first to be installed on the London Underground arrived in 1911. I must be careful what I say here. Five years earlier, a ‘Reno double spiral continuous moving track’ had been fitted at Holloway Road, but it seems never to have been used, beyond, possibly, the opening day. It is, therefore, the Otis type A escalator at Earl’s Court that takes the palm.
Harrods had acquired an escalator in 1898, shopwalkers being on hand with smelling salts for those overcome by the excitement of it. But the idea was a sufficient novelty for the Underground to employ a one-legged man called ‘Bumper’ Harris to spend his day riding up and down the new contraption.
If safe for a monopod, it must be safe for anyone. I can share other curiosities about London Transport. There is only one station (out of 287) not to contain any of the letters in mackerel: St John’s Wood. However, two stations use all the vowels: Mansion House and South Ealing.
Yet some mysteries remain unaccounted for: why, for example, does the down escalator at Pimlico, lined with posters entertaining the public with some of the moving-staircase trivia I have been quoting, never seem to have anybody working on it, although it has been under repair for weeks?