Monday 14 February 2011
First, I need to apologise to Tim: I assured him at the weekend that there was only one London bus to Watford, and that was the 142. Write it off to old age, Tim, because here's the other....
We (Linda and I) had only a brief wait at Watford Junction Station after we arrived on the 142. These are the only two ‘London’ buses to visit Watford, so it seemed worth linking them together. Having seen a single decker 258 we were delighted to find this was a double decker, and settled into the upstairs front seats at 11.50. We noted the distinctive livery of the London Overground on the railway bridge, a more cheerful sight than the several empty office blocks in the area. We headed back down Clarendon Road, and along Beechen Grove, noting that Watford Market was not open on a Monday, and the back of Charter Place was looking very gloomy though clearly the Council has been working on improvements.
Then we were down past Watford High Street Station, logoed for the Overground, and Watford Museum formerly Benskins Brewery Offices, but now a good quality local museum, which we hope will have survived the cuts by the time you read this.
Down at the Water Lane Roundabout we noted Geo Ausden, the metal recycler or as we elderly people used to say, scrap dealer. Jo wondered if she had taught the firm’s daughter, but could not remember whose set Lisa had been in.
We popped round a roundabout to call at Bushey Station, with its clock, passing Thwaites, where Rachel’s violin used to be serviced and also the Oxhey Messy Church which we found puzzling not just because of its name, but because we were not in Oxhey. But it is simply the name given to a group of churches that seems to have some fun stuff on its website. Then we were past what is now the Bushey Academy, a school which both Jo and the bus stop remembered as Bushey Hall School, and a blue plaque for Lucy Kemp Welch who lived in Bushey while she painted, mainly horses. I expect she would have enjoyed the crocuses as much as we did.
Up through Bushey, and then right along the side of the common, where we were the only bus, we reflected on how prosperous green belt housing always looks. Had I known that signs to the Grimsdyke Hotel would have led to the former home of WS Gilbert, I might have leapt off the bus, but I didn’t, which may be as well, as the website has a strange reference to ‘the infamous’ Gilbert and Sullivan, which might have caused breakages if we had had coffee there.
At this stage we were joined by a number of students from Weald College as we headed to Harrow Weald, where we had been the other week on the 140. This time Linda was able to capture the charming violin playing mouse outside the Italian Restaurant.
As we went through Harrow, it all seemed very familiar: the handsome mosque, the dreary exterior of the St George’s Shopping Centre, and the peculiar golden woman by the bus and train station.
We were saddened to notice The Fat Controller Restaurant closed down. No doubt, by the time you read this, it will be something entirely different. (actually, we were there just a couple of weeks ago and it is still 'not in service' as we bus users say)
Next, we headed up Harrow Hill to see what can happen when a good man tries to help the poor boys of his area. Here is what the terms of John Lyons bequest intended:
In February 1572 John Lyon, a yeoman of Preston in Harrow, secured from Elizabeth I a charter to re-found a free grammar school for the boys of the parish of Harrow, to send two scholars to Cambridge and two to Oxford, and to improve the highways between Edgware and London. These intentions were amplified by Lyon's 'Orders, Statutes and Rules' (often called his will) drawn up in 1591. The schoolmaster was to be at least an M.A. and the usher a B.A., with salaries of £20 and £10 respectively, which were to be increased to 40 marks and 20 marks if Lyon left no heir. The schoolmaster might also teach fee-paying 'foreigners' provided that this did not adversely affect the children of the parish. (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/)
Harrow School’s website is rather quiet about fees, but it seems safe to imagine that they are not less that other private schools of the same status, ie between £20,000 and £30,000 pounds a year. Sorry, local poor lads of Harrow, clearly John Lyons should have tightened up his instructions when it came to those fee paying ‘foreigners’.
Please excuse the rant.
Well, we then glided down the hill, and soon reached South Harrow Station, where the poor design of the access roads made it hard for the buses to manoeuvre.
We got off our bus at 12.55, just a bit earlier than the predicted time, and climbed straight onto our next bus, about which you will be able to read in a couple of years’ time when we reach the high 400s.