Monday, 9 May 2011

The Number 170 Route

Monday 9 May 2011

 Linda, Mary and I met at Victoria at 10.00 am on this sunny morning.  In our separate corners of London we had each decided it was too warm for our hoodies, and for much of the day we were proved right.

Terminus Place, Victoria is rather a mess, though we are sure it will be lovely when they have finished with it, but we managed to meet at the head stop, through that little tunnel into Victoria Street, and hopped straight on our single decker, bound for Roehampton.  It is some time since we have been this way, having had a number of weeks in the south and east, so we enjoyed passing the Coach station, and crossing Ebury Bridge Road, where a Hurricane crashed in September 1940 having dealt with a Dornier.  This is of interest to me as I was working in Westminster when archeologists dug up the RAF plane, early this century.

As we passed the grounds of the Royal Hospital, we could see that preparations for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show were already under way:  but don't get all excited, as the tickets have sold out already, with  two weeks to go.  We also passed Crosby Hall, which used to be in Bishopsgate until it was moved here in the early 20th century.  Its coat of arms has some strange sea creatures with stags' heads, and a lengthy Latin motto involving pertinacity and faith.

We had barely crossed Battersea Bridge when we nipped right, along Battersea Church Road, to come to some Octavia housing, called Riverains, and then back to the river and the London Heliport.  I have linked to their price list, as I have no idea what is reasonable and what is not.  Certainly the Freedom pass is not valid on their flights....

The route then brought us back to the main road, and we passed the Candlestore, wondering if we really could smell wax or if it was imagination, and wiggled left along the windy road that brings you out at Clapham Junction.  Clearly the Overground work is going ahead here, and then the ring round London will be complete.  Our route took us along the side of Clapham Junction Station, and then right, so we could really feel what a large station it is.

For the first time since Victoria, a number of people got onto the bus by the little station arcade, and we pressed on, passing the former offices of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, as well as the stalled building project whose hoardings still announce that that they won the Housing Project of the Year in 2008.

We reached Wandsworth Common, and headed straight along East Hill and then West Hill to pass Wandsworth's Museum and its striking, if slightly Stalinist, Town Hall.

After crossing the South Circular, we headed left alongside Putney Heath, to the Green Man Pub, aware that we should be returning here in due course to take our next bus.  The main form of housing was really attractive little cottages, no doubt once the homes of aspiring workmen and clerks hoping to breathe country air.  The narrowness of the streets and the parked cars meant that our driver had to be (and was) careful.

Linda and I were especially taken with the font of the internet cafe, the 'e's daringly without cross bars.  Having read Simon Garfield's 'Just my Type' means that we are much more aware of these things than we used to be.

In a different way, we were also pleased with the drinking fountain at the Roehampton crossroads, complete with cherubs, dolphins and a cupola.  It was created in 1882 by John Charles Radford, about whom I can find nothing on the web!

 The housing changed from 19th century cottages to more 20th century stock as we turned to go the length of Danebury Avenue, before terminating at 10.55.  A pleasant trip, with some roads so winding and narrow that we really could not resent the fact that we were not on a double decker.

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