Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Number 147 Route

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Our two earlier buses had brought us to Ilford with no problems, and after a short walk from the 179 terminating stop, we were onto our 149 by noon, heading for Canning Town.

This time we went around the other side of central and part pedestrianised Ilford, passing close to two huge new blocks of flats, the Icon building which no longer bothers to have a website as I blog this route:  presumably all apartments disposed of!  We were impressed that Ilford can support two nail shops next to each other, and pleased to note that one proprietor is ‘Simon’.
We crossed the River Roding, and noted signs telling us that it was a cycle route, and we were immediately into the borough of Newham

This bus was quite busy, with some rather loud lads at the back of the top deck (not really loud, just showing off their phones) In the other front seat was a young girl with her mother, doing Arabic reading practice, a good activity for the middle of Ramadan.  We got into conversation when they reassured us that the diversion the driver announced would not affect our journey to Canning Town. Zahra (or possibly Zarah or Sara, sorry we did not check the spelling) told us about the painting she was doing with her aunt, and we discussed which art gallery they might visit.  Also that they will be studying the Romans in Year 3 – this being after I had mentioned that I was a History teacher once.
We gave them a card, of course, so we hope they are still reading the blog when this comes up so that they can see how much we enjoyed their company.

In Manor Park our friends got off, straight into the second of several heavy showers that were now affecting our visibility, and we headed on into East Ham itself, passing the station and the end of Burges Road, where Eliza used to live.

Linda pointed out the handsome new Market Hall, which I must have missed last time we were here, and then we  headed right into Barking Road, admiring as we had before the attractive embellishments on the flats.  We also caught a glimpse of the West Ham FC ground off to the right. With the weather improving, we were enjoying the views!

After a threatened early termination to the bus route, the display had reverted to ‘Canning Town’ and so we were not surprised to have a change of driver at Priory Road, Upton Park.  We had been held up by slow traffic (that diversion…) and clearly our first driver’s time was up.

We passed the Bobby Moore monument  and the Greengate Pub, said to date from 1776, but very clearly a 1950s rebuild. A steep up and down took us over the Northern Outfall Sewer Embankment, part of the Greenway and a very good walk indeed.  You could spend months learning about the great Bazalguette and his clever tide based sewage removal system which cleaned London up, but you probably already know all about it.  So there’s a quick summary on the website about him, to remind you to visit Crossness the next time Open London weekend comes round.

 This bus, like the previous two, had young people going to get GCSE their results and plan the next stage of their lives.  We eavesdropped on a number of them extolling the advantages of coursework.  Several got off at NewhamVIC (as the Sixth Form College knows itself) 

We were following signs to the Keir Hardie Estate, an apt name as this was his constituency during the key years of the new Labour Party. 
Soon we were over the A13 and watching planes taking off and landing at City Airport.

Along Victoria Dock Road, we had views ahead of the Excel Centre, where Roger and I once saw the ‘Giants of Rock and Roll’, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis all, like us, a great deal older than when we first loved them.

We followed the line of the DLR from Custom House Station to Royal Victoria Station, speculating that, as they rebuilt the area after the war damage, they left a corridor for some kind of transport infrastructure.  We were surprised to turn right in order to service a residential area, around St Luke’s Square, before rejoining the Victoria Dock Road. We admired the Flying Angel over the lintel of what was once the Missions to Seamen Centre 
In an area whose name – Custom House – reminded us that Docklands was once more than just a name, we saw large amounts of new, as well as post war, housing.
Evidence of the earlier housing boom and its demise came in the form of a Galliard block with huge signs saying that the bankers had instructed the sale of every apartment, with up to £100,000 off.  The web seems to suggest that this is more to do with the slow completion of homes and consequent difficulties for off-plan purchasers:  have a look .

More optimistic was our fine view of the O2 dome as we came into Canning Town Bus Station, which we know well, ending our journey at 13.10.


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  2. Re: "We followed the line of the DLR from Custom House Station to Royal Victoria Station, speculating that, as they rebuilt the area after the war damage, they left a corridor for some kind of transport infrastructure."

    That corridor always was a railway line which served the north side of the Royal Docks and Becton Gas Works. It was also part of the North London Line until the NLR was cut back to Stratford.

    When I was at school, we trekked down to Becton once a week for our sports afternoon. The ground was about halfway along Becton Road, what is now Tollgate Road, on the south side and extended as far as the branch to the gas works. If I got the opportunity, which was rare, I sometimes went down there for a bit of train spotting ...

    You might be surprised to find out that virtually all of the Dinky Little Railway follows old railway tracks!

    If you look at this composite map, taken from a copy of the A-Z which dates back to around 1970, perhaps a little earlier,

    (Warning - large file - approx 2.7Mb)

    you can see virtually all of the DLR already in existence as existing railways (some disused).

  3. I both love and despise route 147. I use it to get home from East Ham high street but the bus is either always packed, running late, or 2 (sometimes 3) come along at once. I remember when I was a kid I once saw a single decker 147 which was weird...

    When I used to take the bus to NewVic college in 2005-2007, it was a pain. I cannot even begin to count how many times drivers have turned the engine off because someone got on at the back! I once wrote to TfL asking why they couldn't offer a separate service for school and college students...I hope the 147 has improved in the peak times since then.

    However, this bus route always seems to be full of like-minded passengers who rally together to tut and condemn queue-dodgers or who will willingly strike up a conversation with a stranger.

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