Monday, 29 August 2011

The Number 209 Route

Mortlake Bus Station to Hammersmith Bus Station

Friday August 26th 2011

Well this route came at the tail end of a 4 bus trip, which is just as well as in its own right we were not sure it was worth getting out of bed for! We had taken a train from Richmond – a journey long enough to unwrap our sandwiches but too short to eat them – and walked the long way round to Mortlake bus station, which as far as we could see was home to the 209 and possibly a school route 600. While I finished my sandwich and the driver had his break Jo looked at the bus stand route information and announced the bus was supposed to take 12 minutes ! 12 minutes – call that a route? We thought 25 would be nearer the mark as these estimates are usually wildly optimistic (TfL being much more accurate). We did note that other passengers joined us by crossing the railway footbridge- presumably from ‘the other side of the tracks’. The tell-tale airplanes low overhead told us we were in West London in case we had forgotten.

There were copious signs for Mortlake Hall which turns out to be not a stately home or gracious dwelling but a venue hall mainly used by mothers and toddlers. Mortlake also seems to have or have had in its time a large (2 less large?) breweries: one gate announces the Stag Brewery and the other the Mortlake Brewery. One or two, it/they no longer brew anything, being currently up for re-development. The amount of housing proposed would certainly increase both the population and impact on bus usage locally.

Back to the bus – shortly and with more passengers than you might think for a frequent service we continued along Mortlake High Street and just as the bus turns off down Church street for Barnes village you pass two blue plaques (one unofficial to Gustav Holst musician, the other more officially for Dame Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet , which of course has its school in nearby Richmond Park). The Terrace, Barnes, which s the location of these plaques is a very pretty stretch of housing facing the Thames.

As you might expect, Barnes village is equally pretty complete with pond and a series of tweely named shops – ‘Two Peas in a Pod’ actually a greengrocers (I never saw the point of this simile as applied to identical twins as peas in a pod are usually all different) ‘Shoenique’ (repairs as well as sales) – as well as bakery and cheesemonger and Persian carpet outlet!  There were 2 Red Lions in close proximity, which shows lack of imagination at some point.

By now we had joined the traffic along Castelnau but due to the wonders of the BUS LANE we sped past a solid queue of stationary cars the length of this gracious road. We had passed through once in spring when all the magnolias were out but today it was grey and autumnal. The reason for the queue was resurfacing work on Hammersmith Bridge – fairly recently re-opened after strengthening but now needing the road surface attended to. 'Of course if they had restricted use to pedestrians and cyclists that would not be necessary.' said Jo. Hammersmith Bridge  is at its glorious best from the riverbank of course but we did capture the fine ironwork. Having recently admired Marlow Bridge (which William Tierney Clarke designed, having impressed the powers that be with Hammersmith) we enjoyed seeing his earlier effort.

After arriving in Hammersmith we passed the extensive site that is St Paul’s School , and the unlovely Hammersmith roundabout before sweeping into the lower bus station – 15 minutes was closer to the mark but those extra minutes doubtless due to the bridge works.

Short and sweet.

1 comment:

  1. I was going to make a clever remark about the neatness of a bus route, however short, that goes from a Gustav Holst blue plaque, to St Pauls School, but then I remembered it would have to be St Pauls School for Girls to be clever.