Monday 8 November 2010
When I think how much praise we have lavished on the Overground, it makes me sad to report that my journey to Crystal Palace was affected by two delays, one on the North bit and the other at Dalston Junction. Linda was chilled to the bone by the time I arrived on this horrible, wet, windy, cold day (Mary being on her way to New York).
We set off on the single decker at 10.30, bound for Bromley North.
We headed past College Road, its name a measure of how far Dulwich College, or at least its property portfolio, spreads, and down Crystal Palace Park Road, with its large houses. Linda tells me many were bought up by the GLC and turned into public housing flats, but we surmised that they are now back in private hands, though presumably still flats. We also glimpsed a Blue Plaque, but the lashing rain and fugged up windows meant we could not read it, and the web has let me down. As we have mentioned often before, the EH website will tell you the location if you know the name, but it doesn’t seem to work the other way round. Perhaps a local historian like Steve can fill us in: or we could go back on a nice day.
Under the high railway viaduct and past the handsome water works, we were into the shopping area, with the 99p shop which replaced Woolworths striking us as quite apt, though Woolworths was a ONE penny store when it began, which shows you what inflation does. The St Christopher’s Hospice Shop seemed well stocked.
There are a number of stations along here, including Kent House and Clock House as well as a few tram stops. Soon we were into Beckenham, with characterful buildings, including the Listed Odeon Cinema, and the attractive church of St George, with its attendant alms houses the winding road giving quite a villagey feel. Behind and above the shop fronts we could admire handsome houses with good plasterwork detail.
There is also a lot of new building going on and as we headed up the hill we passed signs to the Churchill Theatre before coming to the Magistrates’ Court in its imposing building. The bus stop is still called ‘The Greyhound’ though sadly the pub is defunct. Bromley has put poppies in the trees for Remembrance Day, but we were unable to get a good picture of them. Bromley Town Hall is pretty imposing too, and one of the doors had ‘Dum Cresco Spero’ engraved over it: the motto of Bromley Borough and, judging by all the new building we had seen, an apt one.
We reached Bromley North Station at 11.05, an easy run, familiar to Linda though not to me, and showing how the villages of this part of south London maintain their identities, however much they have grown together.