Wednesday, 10 June 2009
The Number 15 Route
10 June 2009
Back from Australia, having enjoyed Linda’s blogs in various tropical and desert places, and onto the 15. It sounds so easy, but since this is the only bus to serve Blackwall Station, Linda and I felt we had already done a day’s travelling, when we got there via DLR and various tube lines.
The route used to go as far as Dagenham, and is the only bus (apart from its clone, the 115) that serves this slice of former dockland. So the upstairs was unusually (for us) busy as we passed a number of seamen’s missions and other reminders of the past. Through Limehouse and we began to see places we knew from the 25 and the 7. We admired the 'buses only' gate in East Cheap. Because the 15 route passes the Tower of London, it sometimes runs ‘heritage buses’ as does the 9. The Merchant Navy memorial is a place that Mary Linda and I all find very moving, and this was our first bus to go past it. 40,000 seamen are remembered here.
We were warned that the bus was on diversion, and after passing St Paul’s we snaked down Fetter Lane to emerge in Fleet Street. We were amazed by the Maughan Library, though would probably have recognised it as the former PRO had we been at its front, in Chancery Lane. It’s interesting to note that some of its collections (now that it is King’s College Library) come from the generosity of Andrew Carnegie, since we have passed a number of ‘Carnegie’ Public Libraries as we traverse London.
The Strand and Trafalgar Square were very slow, though nothing like as slow as Regent Street. Surely the Mayor is not implementing his crossing scheme for Oxford Circus already? Then along Oxford Street (yet again, we muttered to each other, though the Selfridges Centenary windows were cheering) and up the Edgware Road, again familiar territory, round Paddington Station and into the Basin area.
We walked through the Basin, passing the less than prepossessing back of St Mary’s Hospital and the Imperial College Medical School, to patronise the posh (30p) loos at Paddington and walk round the corner to catch our next bus. We shall remind you of this some years from now, as our next bus was the 436 to Lewisham.