Many fans know that Ian Fleming named his fictional spy after real-life ornithologist James Bond, but how many people know where the number 007 originated from?
Well, it turns out that Bond’s licence to kill number was named after a London bus.
Between 1934 and 1945, Ian Fleming lived at 22b Ebury Street, London, which later became a home of villain Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, as well as the starting point of a car chase to Dover.
Ebury Street is directly behind what was then the brand new Victoria Coach Station, which had opened in 1932.
In the early 1950s, when Fleming was forming the idea of Bond, he moved out of London to Kent. However, he would regularly travel back to London by a bus from either Dover or Canterbury.
And the number of this bus route was…007.
Casino Royale was published in 1953, and the rest is history. The bus was taken over by National Express in 1973, and a 007 coach service now runs nine times a day between Deal in Kent and London Victoria Coach station.
Nathan Rushton, the driver of the 007 bus, said: “While James Bond is more likely to be seen behind the wheel of a Bentley, it’s a massive honour to drive the 007 and it certainly attracts a lot of attention.
"People in Kent have always believed James Bond was named after this local service and I personally think the fact Ian Fleming also previously lived so close to the coach station at Victoria proves it – it’s just too much of a coincidence otherwise.”
Sights that can be spotted while aboard the 007 include Canterbury’s city walls, Dover and Deal castles and even France over the English Channel on a clear day.
Nathan added: “Bond is suave, sophisticated and devastatingly cool, so it’s quite funny to think he could have been named after a bus, but then again what could be more quintessentially British?”