Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Number 255 Route

Streatham Station to Pollards Hill 
Tuesday  January 4th 2011

Mary, Jo and I had walked up Streatham High Road from St Leonard’s Church thinking a bus advertising itself as starting from the station might lurk alongside the rather modest Streatham Hill station but in fact the stop is opposite. Streatham of course is well provided with transport, having three mainline stations and at least 12 bus routes, so not surprisingly we are frequently visitors to these parts.  (However today we experienced a frisson of anxiety as we spotted that the Route 159 appears to have altered its route since we rode it last year – See Addendum to 159 posted late March 2011.)

Streatham was not very busy and clearly the driver was trying hard not to get ahead of himself so took the route very gently though there were in fact few boarding passengers until past Streatham Common. Streatham Station, equally modest to its uphill counterpart, is now totally dwarfed by a large Morrisons store, but the Baths are no more having been closed due to ‘structural issues’.  Ms Redboots has kept us up to date with plans for a much hoped for replacement Leisure Centre… Given swingeing local authority cuts it would seem lucky for this end of Lambeth Borough to be getting such a renovation or replacement, pools being expensive to build and maintain. The Ice Arena, which is a private venture, seemed still to be thriving, and is one of the few indoor such facilities in London…(due to close later this month.. see her comment on Route 250) On the corner opposite Streatham Common is the very simple but effective war memorial that was built mid 20th century and always stands out on this major bus and car route into London, originally of course a Roman route up from the coast. 

As we continued, south Streatham blends into Norbury, which is where most of the passengers got on, as round the station are clustered shops, take-aways and a bank or two. We could not quite see what was going on but there were crowds both inside ad outside the bank with a certain amount of police crowd control? Shortly after this, about the only excitement on this repetitive route, we turned right into Stanford Road and the heart of residential Norbury. Lots of pebbledash - what can I say?

Jo and I were trying to guess the ages of the homes round here: given none or few have garages or off street parking, they must predate the era where everyone was expected to have a car sooner or later.  Wikipedia suggests the London County Council built 500 homes in Norbury between 1906-1910 but I think the generous application of pebble dash is a better indicator and these homes are likely to be from after World War 2; the other clue being that the rows of terraces are fairly unbroken therefore post dating bomb damage. 

Pollards Hill itself, where this and other routes terminate, has more recent developments including a Harris School (they are dotted all over South East London and most in very new buildings) and next door heath centre. It was here of course that the passengers got off having completed their morning errands.

The bus completed its short journey in little under 25 minutes, with only the last quarter or so of the route offering much novelty.  

PS Few photos from this trip so have added a couple of Montage shots; also Lego London though little of that shows South London – I wonder why??
PPS Several routes to follow this week.

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