Monday, 22 November 2010

The Number 124 Route

 Monday 22 November 2010

It was 11.10 as Linda and I set off from Catford on our single decker bus.  The official start is St Dunstan's College, a private school whose motto, Albam Exorna, means 'adorn the white' (which leaves this O level Latin veteran none the wiser)   That, however,  is simply where buses rest, and the first stop is more central, close to Catford Library and Lewisham Civic Centre.  It was a busy bus, with people returning from shopping.

Not for the first time, we passed the Goose Pub, formerly the Black Horse and Harrow. Next door, on the corner is the Housing Options Centre, a rather brutalist Owen Luder building which my local expert told me was listed.  There was slow traffic round the Catford one way system, giving us a chance to note a hair cutter's with a good name, but fortunately our route turned left and we were soon the only bus, past Torridon Primary School to reach the high point (for me) or the trip, the listed prefabs of the Excalibur Estate.  They have been very controversial as some of the residents fight for the listed status, and Lewisham tried to demolish them, so the Daily Mail link I have given you is by no means the only one.  Some of the street names were fine, but I think naming a street after Mordred, the baddie of the Arthur legend, might not have been wise.

As we passed Greenvale School, the bus called it Greendale School, which  could be puzzling.  It is a special school for students with profound disabilities, so we were glad to see the King's College Hospital mobile Dentistry van in attendance, making things easier for parents.
After the green entry to Hither Green Crematorium, we came to another entertaining shop name, this time a chippie.

We were in an area with enormous amounts of public housing, from various different periods, mostly built to accommodate those affected by the devastation of the Second World War around the Elephant and Castle area.

As we came into Mottingham, we were surprised to see the WG Grace Community, Centre, since we imagined that he belonged in Gloucestershire:  but we were wrong!  We did know that Henry Cooper, who has a street named after him, was from 'round 'ere''.

Down Middle Park Avenue, we were impressed by the extensive allotments, and then noticed that we were near Eltham Palace.  This is an area with many flags of St George on its homes, but we were pleased to see one more entertaining shop name (San Fairy Ann, in case the photo is too small, a name which may be a puzzle to our French readers) and to spot signs to the Bob Hope Theatre, the local centre for amateur dramatics.

As we came through Eltham High Street, everyone got off except Linda and me, who stayed for the next two or three stops to reach Southend Crescent at 11.55, ready to cross the road and hop onto our next bus.

P.S.  No postings yet this week (28 November) because of tube strile and snow: hoping to resume normal service on Friday.  Meanwhile, for some recent excitement around Lewisham Town Hall, as seen in the first photo above, see this story from the Guardian.

1 comment:

  1. A couple of belated but well-intentioned points:

    W G Grace certainly belonged to Gloucestershire in his younger days but latterly he lived at Penge (and organised a rather unorthodox London County side) before finally retiring to Mottingham Lane.

    And perhaps you've commented elsewhere (if not then I'll do so) that the famous Bob Hope was born in Eltham and in his later years supported the rejuvenation of the 'Eltham Little Theatre'.