September 8, 2004

Visitors to the borough might have found themselves waiting for a bus for a long time, after being unreliably informed by the 2004 Visitor’s Guide.

A close reading of the guide revealed mythical buses ferrying ghostly passengers past post offices which didn’t exist, and magicked new stations into being.

Kingston tourism chiefs were left red-faced by a series of blunders in the guide book which could have left unwitting tourists perplexed, and waiting interminably for buses that never came.

The mistakes were spotted by eagle-eyed Labour councillor Steve Mama, who discovered 12 errors.

He said: “I think it reflects very badly indeed on the council, whether we commissioned it or produced it ourselves.

“We should withdraw it or have it corrected before putting it out again.”

The errors included: l Stating Kingston had more than 10 train stations when there were just 10.

l Information about a coach route to Gatwick that had ceased to operate seven years earlier.

l Giving a bus route enquiry number for a firm that did not operate the service.

l Stating Kingston was in bus Zone 4, when the zones were scrapped two years earlier.

l Stating Kingston’s post office was in High Street, when it was in St James’ Road.

Lucie Moore, Kingston’s tourism and marketing manager, whose department compiled the guide book, said it would not be withdrawn but the mistakes would be remedied the following year.

She said: “I have written to Coun Mama and thanked him for pointing out the errors, and said we will ensure they are rectified next year.

“We do rely on contributions from people like bus operators and don’t physically check every detail.

“I will make sure someone from the tourist office goes through all the information with a fine toothcomb before we bring out next year’s guide.”

The guide cost Kingston Council nothing to produce and was funded by advertisers.


September 9, 1964

A 17-year-old junior sergeant-major from Kingston led the passing out parade of junior leaders at Bovington army camp in Dorset. Michael Littleproud, of Canbury Avenue, was also presented with the trophy for the best junior leader in the regiment. He was due to join the 3rd Dragoon Guards.


September 8, 1989

Fears of a “rat army” grew in Kingston. The number of callers desperate for help in controlling the pests rose by 40 per cent in two years, according to Kingston Council environmental health officers. Pest controllers Rentokill said the rat population had risen by a third in just a year.


September 8, 2004

A New Malden junction was thought to be the worst and most confusing in the country. The junction of South Lane and the A3 sported 23 road signs. Kingston Council said it had complained to Transport for London. A council spokesman said there was “no reason” to have so many signs.