Tuesday 2 March 2010
This was the first sunny journey we had had for weeks, and the pleasure was enhanced by the company of Kate, back from Tenerife and waiting to start her new job. We have not had many paying passengers on our trips. I think she is the fourth.
Aldgate Station was closed - for works, rather than an emergency - so there was a pleasant bustle of people wondering how to get to Canary Wharf (the 135 was the answer given by helpful bystanders) The bus stops opposite the station had both public convenience and a sculpture, so all needs were catered for.
By 10.20, Linda had arrived, and the three of us climbed aboard, and swept east along Commercial Road, past many banks, as well as the Whitechapel Gallery. We noted numbers of garment outlets - and a few workshops as well - as well as the Skyline Plaza Building, whose style made us uncertain whether it was public housing or not. And the answer is emphatically not: according to this website, a one bedroom leasehold flat sold for £232,000 in August 2009. The attractive Mulberry School for Girls, on the other hand, is a local authority, namely Tower Hamlets, School.
We passed some historic sites: first, Sidney Street and then a plaque commemorating Victor Mclagen, son of a Bishop, who became both a boxer and a film star.
Soon we were at Limehouse Station, and crossing the Regent Canal and the Limehouse Cut, with fine views of St Anne's Church, still clearly a Hawksmoor Church despite its restoration after a fire in 1850.
The Queen Victoria's Seamens Rest is a reminder that this really was dockland in the past, as is the statue of the ship builder Richard Green.
More water in the form of the Bow Creek (a bit of the River Lea) brought us to Canning Town, where we could see the packed platform of the DLR station as we slid in and out of the bus station, pausing to change drivers. The scary roundabout along the A 13 by the access to the Blackwall Tunnel has a Toucan Crossing for walkers and cyclists.
As we moved into Newham, we felt that Eastern Europe was very present, with Polish shops but also Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian and Latvian outlets. The old east end is still there, with solicitors specialising in Actions against the Police as well as immigration, and Albins offering horse drawn funerals.
The Red House pub has distance signs, in Gaelic and English, to Limerick and other Irish towns, and now we were in West Ham territory, with the statue of Bobby Moore, Alf Ramsey and Geoff Hurst.
The Who Shop is all about the Doctor rather than the musicians; we did not alight to buy a Dalek.
Because this is going up on the blog some months after we made the trip, it may be hard for readers to remember why we were speculating on where Lord Ashcroft's money had been spent, so this picture is a reminder.
Newham's magnificent Town Hall indicated that we were near the end of our trip, and we reached the Central Park stop at 11.15.