Tuesday 4 January 2011
A Happy New Year to all our readers!
Our three bus day was due to start at Liverpool Street, and we had agreed to meet at 10.15. But so efficient are we (Mary, Linda and Jo) that we were on the bus by 10.00 and heading off, round Finsbury Circus to go along Moorgate and towards the Bank of England.
We admired the stained glass at London Metropolitan University. It seems that this early 20th century building is on the site of the Bethlehem Hospital, which moved to Lambeth in 1815, and now houses the Imperial War Museum. Now that's what I call a connection!
As we came down towards the river, we saw that some tourists had got their day started early, and were already at the top of the Monument.
But the skyline here is now much more dominated by the Shard, which we do not like. As we bus our way around London, we pass countless empty and available office blocks, and yet someone always seems to think it worth building more. We also noticed how the new large building at Elephant and Castle spoils the view of Southwark Cathedral, almost appearing to elbow the slender towers out of the way.
Still, as we crossed the river, and Linda took her usual river view, there was the more cheerful sight of HMS Belfast, with her new masts, about which you can read if you go to the end of this link.
Borough High Street is always a pleasure, as we noted the many side roads, named for the yards of the Inns which used to line this road, to accommodate travellers waiting to cross the only bridge into the city of London. We also saw where John Harvard;s family pub had been before he emigrated to America to invent the concept of the Ivy League University.
We passed the Inner London Criminal Law Courts and the large Department of Health building, before coming down to Elephant and Castle and heading on towards Kennington. Smart restaurants and bars indicate how posh this part of London is becoming, but we also admired the handsome buildings of the Guinness estate, and St Mary's Newington, with its modern building alongside the old tower.
Kennington Park was looking very trim, leading us to wonder if they had perhaps cut the grass during this brief warm spell, and we also noted the listed Kennington Tube Station. If you have ever wondered why Charing Cross train terminate here while Bank trains head on to Morden, it is to do with the layout of the platforms (apparently)
We passed St Mark's Church, one of the four named for the evangelists, and were shortly to pass St Matthew's, since we were coming into Brixton, with all its familiar landmarks, Windrush Square and the Ritzy Cinema, as well as its cosmopolitan shops - and shoppers - and its clubs.
Our bus driver was going at an extremely leisurely pace. Linda's theory is that the return trip always takes longer, traffic into London being the way it is, so they take it easy to even out the journey. Still it gave plenty of time to enjoy the long experience of Streatham, as we passed the LCC Tramways HQ, the Arriva Bus Garage and the (defunct) baths and (very much alive) Skating Arena.
We also admired the fine Art Deco building which must surely once have been a cinema, and noted Dr Doolittle's Petshop as well.
And so, 50 minutes after leaving Liverpool Street, we arrived at St. Leonard's Church, the terminus of this pleasant and familiar route.