Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Number 100 Route

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Yes, the hundredth route!  we had thought of balloons, champagne being prohibited on buses and anyway contra-indicated for mid morning bussing, but instead had the great pleasure of the 63 Regular, taking advantage of not having to go to work any more. So Linda, Roger and I met at Elephant and Castle, sent loving thoughts to Mary in Devon, and got on board the single decker at 10.45.   We had a few minutes to notice the large amounts of new residential building around the Faraday memorial roundabout.  Indeed, new build accommodation was to be a theme of our day.

  We went past South Bank University, which advertises itself as 6th for graduate starting salaries in 2010, and then past the Obelisk at St George's Circus to head up Blackfriars Road to the river, passing Southwark Tube Station and the building work for Blackfriars Station before reaching the river.  Blackfriars Bridge was originally known as Pitt Bridge, apparently, and Victorian commentators regretted the building of the railway bridge so close to it.  It's a pity that the route is a single deckers, as it proved impossible to photograph the charming little black friar in the plasterwork of one of the buildings on the north bank.

The bus was not at all busy as we headed up to Ludgate Circus, and then right to go round three sides of St Paul's Cathedral.  We spotted a charming little statue in the Gardens at the East end of the Cathedral, but did not climb down to see who it was, and I have not been able to discover it on the web.  We also admired the drinking fountain on the other side of the road, next door to the Information Centre, before swinging round left to go past the other side of St Paul's and up towards Little Britain and the Museum of London, now re-opened after its major redevelopment programme.  Speeding down towards Moorgate, we passed a couple of racks of the hire bikes, one full, one empty, before passing the church of All Hallows on the Wall and turning into Broad Street.

Linda and I felt a stab of nostalgia as we turned into and out of Liverpool Street Station bus station, and on down Wormwood Street to get to Aldgate Bus garage, where we once met Kate.  Still fairly empty and pretty fast, our bus took us down Minories toward the Tower of London, passing Royal Mint Street. The actual mint is now in Wales, I believe, but wherever they are,  I do wish they would get around to a £5.00 coin, as the last few notes I have handled have been extremely tatty.  Other coins go 1,2,5, or 10,20,50, so why not 100,200 and 500.  But I digress.

At the Tower we turned left, to go to the landward side of St Katharine Dock, and take a little twiddle through some housing areas and to pass the Captain Kidd Pub and Phoenix Wharf (now, of course, apartments) and King Henry's Stairs.  The bus was on cobbles found here, so it was quite a knubbly ride.  We were the 'wrong' side of the River Police HQ, since their main focus is the River.  I had a brief reminisce about the excellent visit I made to this Thames Division HQ when I was working on the river

We saw signs to the pirate ships at Tobacco Dock, but it seems that the dock is a failed retail dream and the pirate ships are replicas.  We shall take a walk down there one day soon and have a look.  more interesting were views of St Paul's Shadwell not, as we had speculated, a Hawksmoor, but still attractive.  Then we came to Cable Street, scene of the great anti Fascist protests of 1936.  There is a long but very interesting discussion of it here, but if you are short of time, I'll pull out of it the fact that children in school playgrounds were playing 'Jews and Fascists' rather than 'cops and robbers' or 'cowboys and indians' through those years.  In Cable Lane, we saw the Blue Plaque to Sir William Perkin FRS, who was baptised in St Paul's Shadwell and lived around here.  He developed the first aniline dye when he was only 18 (in 1850):  mauveine became so popular that 'Punch' printed a cartoon of a police officer saying 'mauve along there'.

We were impressed by the Cycling Superhighway along here:  a great deal more convincing that the one we has seen in Wandsworth:  wide enough, segregated from motorised traffic, and quite enticing.

Arriving at Shadwell Station, we hopped off, only to realise that we were not at the end of the route.  Fortunately there was another 100 immediately behind, so we travelled the one more stop to St George's Town Hall, to disembark at just before 11.30. The journey had taken less than 45 minutes, despite the fact of going through the city of London, and over and round a number of traffic calming measures.  Trips are obviously faster if no-one wants to get on or off a bus:  for much of the way there were only one or two other passengers with us.


  1. Congratulations on achieving your 'ton' of buses - and on posting a round dozen of buses, one at a time, in a month.

  2. Congratulations on getting to bus 100.

  3. Congratulations on the big 1-0-0.

    Quite an achievement.

    Pretty impressive for 18 months.

  4. Congratulations for achieving 100 buses. The blog was especially interesting and the photography excellent. Clearly not me taking the photos!!!

  5. I've cycled that superhighway from near Canary Wharf to Tower Hill - it is pretty well done, for a bike lane!