Tuesday, 11 August 2009
The Number 24 Route
Monday 10 August 2009 We were a party of four this time: our third-ever paying member, and only our second man. (see the 4 for previous man and payers) You will see his impact on this page if you note the clever counter, so thanks, Tim.
Well now, the 24. This was indeed a journey of two halves. By the time the other three of us met Linda in Grosvenor Road, Pimlico, she had ascertained that buses would be terminating at Victoria, as there was traffic trouble up west. Undeterred, we climbed aboard our first hybrid bus, ‘a red bus going green for London’. We’d had a bit of a wait, but the views of river and the power station were fine. We went past Shelley House, where James used to live in his bachelor days, and turned north through Pimlico. The large numbers of people at every stop were evidence that the service was being disrupted. We enjoyed the Blue Plaque to Walter Clopton Wingfield, ‘father of lawn tennis’ and passed Pimlico School, now Pimlico Academy, which looks as if it will have succeeded in having its new building completed during the summer break. The Elusive Camel clearly isn’t a pub any more, rather a cocktail bar. It would be nice to find an explanation for the name, but I failed.
At Victoria Station, about 10.50am, all 24s seemed to be terminating, and the always-helpful man in the information kiosk explained that there had been a big crash in the Tottenham Court Road, and that nothing would be going that way. So we revised our plans and took the C2, newly extended to start and finish at Victoria, all the way to Parliament Hill Fields. By the time we get to put that journey onto the blog, the world will be a different place. A pleasant stroll across the south end of the Heath, past the lavish playgrounds and paddling pool, brought us to South End Green, where we saw a number of 24s ready to head off to Pimlico. So we hopped on, at about 12.15.
We thought St Dominic’s Priory was being converted to housing, but we seem to be wrong. Malden Street was interesting, with public housing one side, and 19th century terraces the other, and we reached Chalk Farm, doing a twiddle through Camden to pass the HQ of the Transport Police and head down Bayham Street, passing Richard Cobden and Mornington Crescent as we headed towards the Euston Road. The National Temperance Hospital looks more decrepit each time we pass it. It seems that the plans to turn it into the NIMR (National Institute for Medical Research) are running into all sorts of problems. It’s nice to know that our NHS is so rich it can afford to have prime real estate crumbling unused like this. We swept down Gower Street and along Denmark Street, where we noted a blue plaque for Augustus Siebe. Then on down the Charing Cross Road to get a distant glimpse of some bloke on the 4th plinth (we could not tell what he was doing). Then down Whitehall and along Victoria Street to disembark south of the station, having completed the whole route, one way or the other.