Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Number 159 Route

Tuesday 9 March 2010 (but see PS at the end of this post and annotations in red which date from Monday 28 March 2011)

Mary, Linda and I met at Marble Arch, relieved that it wasn't raining yet.  Mary and I advised a tourist how to get to the 'Thames River' and the Eye (yes, the 159 bus) and we thought he looked a little alarmed when we stepped onto the same bus, at 10.15.  Past Selfridges spring windows, and the dinosaurs opposite (now vanished as the site is again being built upon), we made quite rapid progress to Oxford Circus and down Regent Street, slowing a little as we came to Piccadilly Circus and down Haymarket, noting the blue  plaque for Ho Chi Minh, although it is not an English Heritage plaque.  He worked at the Carlton Hotel in 1913.  

As we approached Trafalgar Square, past the statue of George III  and the Texas Cantina, which stands on the site of the place where the Rugby Football Union was established, we saw a handsome building, now boarded up, but I have been unable to identify it.  We were, however, able to recognise the CPS picket outside the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and to catch a glimpse of Sir Keith Park, the New Zealand Airforce hero, on the 4th plinth 
(of course the statue of Park is now in its permanent home, at the top of Carlton House Steps, making a change of tone from all the Crimean War memorialising that goes on round there)
There were South African flags down Whitehall, for President Jacob Zuma, and we swept past the memorial to the Women of World War II and the Cenotaph, before crossing Westminster Bridge and seeing St Thomas's and the Florence Nightingale Museum  as well as the new Park Plaza Hotel.

We saw the building that used to be the station for the Necropolis Railway (it is said that the platform tea room had a notice that said 'spirits served'...) and then raced down the Kennington Road, past the Imperial War Museum, to Kennington Park, where we admired the Lodge, built to a design of Prince Albert's and moved here after the Great Exhibition of 1851.  It's not entirely clear in this picture, but you can blame the weather. 

On south,  through Brixton, we passed the Ekaya Housing Association HQ  as well as a number of entertainment venues, including Jamm, and the huge Barnado's charity shop.  Soon we were into Streatham, and waited briefly for a change of driver at the first of two bus depots.  A number of Polskie Delikatesy and Russian shops confirmed the influence of the new Europe which we have seen before in south London, before we arrived at Streatham Station, just over an hour after leaving Marble Arch.

PS 28 March 2011

A brief meeting of the Rules Committee of the Project was needed when we noted a few weeks ago that the 159 route had been extended to the Paddington Basin, instead of being Streatham Station to Marble Arch as it was a year ago.  It was agreed that if we have blogged a route AND THEN it changes, we do nothing;  but if we have travelled a route but not yet published it and then it changes, we must fill the gap.  Hence the red annotations of  a couple of things that have changed.

So having spent a pleasant morning in the North Eastern part of London, on the 158,  we took the Central Line to Bond Street, and completed the 159 route. As we left the Tube station we realised that Crossrail was affecting traffic here too, and so had a bit of a walk to find a bus stop that was actually in use.  But we were on a 159 by 12.20, and able to admire some Community Support Officers on their bicycles as we headed towards Marble Arch. 

Marble Arch had some startlingly bright primuli to make up for the Horse's Head, not our favourite art work.  We were going too fast to photograph the jelly babies, but we had seen them only a few weeks ago. We turned up the Edgware Road;  there was a time when it seemed as if every bus we took went this way, but we have not been here for some weeks, and so were able to enjoy the various Arab influence shops, and the magnificent building which houses Waitrose.

Next it was left along Sussex Gardens, to St Mary's Hospital, with the plaque for Alexander Fleming.  With Paddington Station on our right, we turned into Eastbourne Terrace, to meet  -yes-  more Crossrail works, before sweeping up and over Bishop's Bridge  to loop almost all the way back to get into the Paddington Basin area, where we shopped, after a trip of barely fifteen minutes, to add to the hour of a year ago.


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