Friday, 6 May 2011

The Number 169 Route

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Linda was on her way home from Germany, and Mary was busy, so I would have been alone if Andrew had not agreed to come with me.  Taking photos had to be done on my phone, because I had managed to leave the camera behind. 

It was a wet and murky day as we headed towards Barking via the Overground from Gospel Oak, and then walked down from the station to where the 169 would be.  We were pleased to see that it was a double decker, and were off by 10.45.
We admired the advertisements for condom use, reminding us that female flamingoes stick their heads under water when mating. I think those posters were up when we passed through here in the 5.

We set off up the high street and back past the station aiming towards the mosque and then on past many builders’ merchants and timber shops, but also, and more entertainingly, many Asian clothing and textile shops.

Barking turns into Ilford with hardly a break, and the skyline was dominated by the huge new block of flats, Pioneer Point. We went around Ilford on the A123, with a little spin round the cultural area with the Kenneth More Theatre, the Library and a big cinema.  Soon we were out of Ilford, passing on the way a shop belonging to Properties Dubai which seems to have gone bust  We added ‘Hair today’ to our list of hairdressers, resisting the temptation to hop off and add ‘gone tomorrow’ to the sign board.  Along Hainault Road, 1890s terraces were mixed with businesses such as ‘Curry Special’ with a huge flue on its roof, presumably to disperse the spicy smells  .  On a more mundane note, we passed the gritting station, with the lorries braced for the next lot of snow.

We crossed the A12, on our way to Barkingside, noting the huge amount of traffic along it. There were lots of cars parked half on the pavement as we neared Barkingside Station, giving our driver ample opportunity to display his good manners and tolerant nature.  Then we rounded Redbridge Magistrates’ Court, not a very beautiful building, where Nina sits when she is not having fun in Australia.

As we travelled through Barkingside, we had time to note a number of shops:  The Barnado’s shop (‘believe in Children), Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe, purveyor of finest confectionery, Cakes and Bakes, offering eggless cream cakes.  There was also Catwalk Pets and Aquatics as well as the St Francis Hospice Shop  raising money for a hospice in Romford.  We also wondered whether Barkingside’s handsome library would survive the cuts.
We passed a large area of allotments, as well as the Clore Tikva School, which is a Jewish Primary School, built in 1999

This was a route serving people coming home with their shopping to the residential areas beyond Fullwell Cross.
And so we finished at The Glade, Clayhall, in the heart of  a network of residential streets, at 11.30, 45 minutes rather than the 24 minutes mentioned on the head stop .  Our driver had been gentle and considerate, waiting for passengers, giving way to oncoming traffic and so on, so clearly his targets are different.  It was a bit of a walk to our next bus, the 128.


  1. I don't know. Typical busses. You wait ages for one, then a whole lot arrive together.

    Actually, the stereotype is no longer as true as it used to be, now they have taken to holding busses to regulate the service, but I could not resist.

  2. "On a more mundane note, we passed the gritting station, with the lorries braced for the next lot of snow."

    This is the original Ilford Tramways depot (and, later, London Transport trolleybus depot) in Ley Street (which is why it is set back from the road to allow for the curves from the main tracks in the road outside.)

    The 169 follows both Ilford tram routes from Barking to Ilford, where one route branched off along the High Road to Chadwell Heath whilst the other continued to Barkingside, where it terminated beside what is now Redbridge Magistrates Court.

    In London Transport days, the route was numbered 91, becoming the 691 trolleybus, which extended the route to Fullwell Cross.

    This, in turn, gave way to the 169 bus. 169 is, of course, an anagram of 691 (if you can use the term with numbers!)

    The depot was no longer required and was returned to its former owners, now Redbridge Borough Council.