Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Number 50 Route

Tuesday 5 January 2010

We were four for our first trip of the new decade: Mary nearly recovered from her virus, and Sue G to help us with details as we toured South London. The team was dressed in our new logoed hoodies, but it was too cold to display more than our extremities. Still, Linda gave one of our cards to the slightly bemused driver at the end of our journey. So thanks, 63 Regular, for a brilliant surprise on New Year's Eve (actually it was the start of New Year's Day). But enough of the team kit, and onto the bus.

We met at Stockwell Station and crossed the road to the conveniently placed head stop M. We noticed the stars in the pavement, which are indeed EU stars, and the subject of some angry politicking back in 2006. We were off by 10.10, and headed down the Clapham Road, past St Bede's Centre (was St Bede's Church) and was built in 1924 for the Royal Assoociation in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb, now the Royal Association for Deaf People. It was a sister church of St Saviour, Acton, and both churches were designed by Edward Maufe. It is faced with brown brick and Clipsham stone. there are two pulpits, the second being for a signer (info courtesy of Sue, of course).

We were heading down the Northern Line, and soon passed Clapham North Tube Station, and Dentons, for all your catering needs, as well as Lambeth Sixth Form College. We swung sharply left into Cavendish Street: we are used to this kind of bus route being served by single deckers, so being on the top deck was especially pleasurable. Streatham has a range of fun palaces: though one cinema is now shut, the second is still there as is the skating rink, sorry, Ice Arena, and the Kart Raceway. We admired the newly planted espaliered trees along the middle of the road and hope they will survive: we'll find out on future journeys.

Our driver seemed to be in a slight hurry, and yet we were twice held to 'regulate the service', once at Streatham Common and once just after there had been a certain amount of hooting at a Veolia Rubbish truck which held us up in Norbury Crescent. This is a long road, not particulary Crescent shaped, with at least 6 bus stops for the 5o along its length. It brought us to the Shree Sakthy Ghanapathy Temple and so into Thornton Heath, and then Croydon.

The modern (well, 20th century) feel of Croydon can be credited to the wartime misinformation fed to the Nazis by the BBC: on government instruction they broadcast the lie that all the new Flying Bombs of 1944 were overshooting London by about 13 miles. Lucky Croydon 'benefited' as the Wehrmacht recalibrated its V1s: Croydon got more doodlebugs than anywhere else.

At least the handsome Town Hall and Clocktower survived, and we admired the trams, the only ones in London. My south London travelling companions noticed with sadness that Turtles had closed, but we liked the facade of Grants. We were soon disembarking,after a journey of 50 minutes, an appropriate length of time for this bus. The sun, which had not been in evidence on the way south, now appeared, without affecting the temperature much, but brightening Katherine Street.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your 50th! An impressive landmark.
    Cant wait for photos of you all in your team kit!

    PS You should probably be relieved some of my design suggestions were nixed!