Monday, 23 January 2012

The Number 279 Route

Monday 15 November 2010

We found ourselves waiting, though not for long, in front of the Woodberry Down estate which we have passed so often. In fact my parents had friends here and I can remember watching the coronation of Elizabeth II with them as they had a TV, and we didn’t – they later moved out and into their own property, and I am sure this estate has seem many similar stories.

Off up the Seven Sisters Road, by now very familiar to us, busy with passengers and the traffic flowing quite well as we headed due north in more or less a straight line for much of the route. The buses line up thick and fast round here with something like seven routes passing through. We noticed that since we were last this way the 149 has turned not into a pumpkin but from a bendy to a double decker, and we just glimpsed the Banksy tucked away (more visible going south) 

By Bruce Grove, which has its colourful outdoor clothes marker close by the station, the bus was full, even on top. The old gates of the Whitbread brewery are very fine and some-one else’s photo is much better than ours.

Hard on the heels of this comes White Hart Lane, a significant local landmark – sorry Gooners, we cannot pretend it is not there as it gives identity to much of this part of Haringey.

Most of the shops are not part of chains, which is nice, or if so still modest local chains such as the Turkish Food Centre founded in 1980 and now with 14 branches. Hairdressers are rarely part of large chains and today we had Hairwaves and for men Klass Ventures with the strap line, ‘Fancy a bit of smooth with your rough?’

We had not heard of Kith and Kids  but clearly from their website have been around for some time helping local families and we passed two of their charity shops today.

With a branch here (Silver Street) and just one other in Billingsgate Lobo Fisheries seems well established and of course reminds me that fish hits the spot for most diet and religious exclusions, so almost certainly will do well in this very diverse part of North London. For example the Rumi religious centre is next to the Salvation Army.

Interspersed amongst this wealth of shopping were many pubs – they didn’t all look that inviting but most of them were still just about open, which makes a change from some of our trips. There are still some road works as you approach Edmonton but in any case our driver was so slow overall we barely noticed when he had to slow down for the sewage repairs. Along the way and in no particular order we had the Prince of Wales, of course the Bell at Edmonton, the Boundary House, the Picture Palace and the Sun and Woolpack, the Plough at Ponders Green, which also was going under the name of the Sporting Green.

As yesterday had been Remembrance Day it was not surprising that the War Memorial by Edmonton Bus station had fresh (as in fresh plastic) wreaths. The bus of course went in and out of the bus station and lost some/won some on the passenger stakes. 

No deviation from the straight and narrow and we headed on north. The buildings are quite a mixture: some mid-century estates, some more modern bits and the odd very lovely if somewhat neglected early 19th century terrace of 25 houses along the way.

However slow we were going we managed to catch the 121 ahead. Edmonton, all part of the very extensive Enfield borough, began to blend into neighbouring areas. Having said that, Enfield was very assiduous about making sure you know where you were within the borough. Passing what is left of the North Metropolitan Electric Power Company was a reminder that while Enfield was not big on heavy industry (little coal or iron down south) it was busy through the 19th and 20th century manufacturing light-bulbs, Belling stoves (the famous Baby Belling was a big feature of bed-sits and student flats) and last but not least the small arms manufacturing associated with Lee (the designer) and Enfield – the place that produced the Lee Enfield standard issue British Army rifle that saw soldiers through 2 world wars. I am also reliably informed that the Bren gun gets its name from Br (no) in Czechoslovakia and En (field) so there you go.

By now I was struggling with some of the place names: Turkey Street named for the Turkey Brook, small but not so small that it does not have its web-site, and Freezy Water, named for a farm that once stood here together with its pond that looked like …..freezy water.

Once we had passed these two places the bus was nearly empty – our last gesture still running in a straight line was to cross the M25 and then bear just a tiny bit off in order to access Waltham Cross itself.  Rather as we had guessed, the Cross is one of the Eleanor crosses – most of you will be familiar with the one outside Charing Cross well, Waltham is Number 10 counting south from Lincoln.

The journey took a full 75 minutes though I suspect could have been completed more quickly – a mark of how far we had come was that not only had we crossed beyond the north Circular but also beyond the M 25, and had encountered not only the instruments of war but also the reminders of war through the heart of Outer North London.

Since travelling this route there has been sustained recession and a few riots  and a recent trip on the 349, which duplicates much of this, had evidence of a less robust local economy.     

1 comment:

  1. The Sporting Green is NOT the Plough. The Plough was on the west side of Hertford Road close to Tyberry Rd Junction. Sadly no longer a pub but a cake shop.