Monday, 30 January 2012

The Number 285 Route

Tuesday 28 September 2010

We waited only a few minutes after climbing off the 111 at the Cromwell Road Bus station in Kingston. before hopping onto the single decker 285 at 13.10.  At first, Mary, Linda and I were the only passengers, but after we had passed Kingston Railway Station, we were joined by homeward bound shoppers.

Our bus rounded the smart John Lewis to head over Kingston Bridge. (We have heard a story that, in 1939, the words ‘Kingston Bridge’ were chiselled off the stonework in order to baffle the invading Wehrmacht as to which river they had reached, but I have been unable to verify this)  Once over the bridge, we headed right along the Teddington Road, rather than repeating the 111 route which had brought us to Cromwell Road bus station.  We knew we were nearing Hampton Wick Station because the number of ‘commuter flats’ increased, and soon came into Teddington.

We passed the Teddington Lock Campus of St Mary’s and signs to Teddington Lock, and headed along Cambridge Road, noting the many up market shops which serve the population.

The bus ramp was lowered to allow an elderly wheel chair user and her carer to board.  From then on, the driver had problems with the rear door, needing to open and shut it a few times after every stop.  We wondered in passing how many other major cities have entirely accessible buses. 

Neat terrace houses are a feature of this part of London, though some have made an effort to stand out a little. like this one with its interesting gable roofing.

Teddington Memorial Hospital has a more traditional memorial outside its gates, but was indeed built, after ten years of fundraising, in 1929 as a monument to the local people who died in the Great War.  Even more impressive was the National Physical Laboratory, famous for being where Barnes Wallis tested the Bouncing Bomb (sorry, a slight war theme developing here) but also a key centre for science research and development.

Lady Eleanor Holles School was another private school to add to the day’s collection, and briefly linked with our earlier ride on the 111, passing the Horse and Groom former pub before turning into Feltham.  The influence of Heathrow could be felt in the name of ‘The Airman’ pub, though the inn sign depicts someone from the time of its establishment in 1938 rather than a modern, besuited pilot.

Feltham Police Station and the Magistrates Court are both substantial buildings, while Feltham Station is more modest.  All this time we were having trouble with the rear doors and the ramp mechanism, which gave us time to note Oseikrom African and Caribbean Cash and Carry, which is (by the way) on the DEFRA list of authorized importers of tropical goods.

Hatton Cross Station is well known to us, as most buses in this area nip in and then out of it.  This time we picked up a number of outward bound travellers using our bus to get to the airport. 
 And we were nearly there, entering a world of car parks and hotels which lasted until we popped through the tunnel to arrive back at the Central Bus Station at 14.20, a mere three hours since we had left it on the 111 bound for Kingston.

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