Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Number 289 Route

Elmers End Green to Purley (Tescos)
Tuesday  February 2nd   2010

This was the closing bookend to an earlier route and proved to be a Tesco to Tesco service – not that we are their loyal customers but they do usually have toilets. Last bus route it was Morrisons to Asda!  

On this day we left Elmers End behind us heading South west on a small single decker bus busy, inevitably between the key shopping areas. Today we had one of those occurrences, which slowed our progress early on, namely a cash paying passenger, which makes you realise how rare that is nowadays. .

Almost immediately we had green spaces in the shape of Long Heath Gardens and Ashburton Park and a very nice bicycle track called  Waterlink Way. Not restricted to cyclists of course: for walkers, it links the Wandle Way and the Green Chain walk, which we have passed on earlier routes. We crossed the tram (or rather they crossed us) at least twice and we could probably have achieved this journey more quickly and comfortably by rail, but that’s for another day.

Our driver today was very considerate, waiting for the slower older passengers and the bus was busy round the key shopping points.

Closer to the city Centre – Croydon is a city in its own right – we passed a funeral just entering the RC ‘Our Lady of Reparation’ church. On an interesting word association riff, for some this conjured up visions of cobblers and dressmakers making good, for others what the defeated nations, previously the aggressors owed the rest of us post-war!

We passed both East and West Croydon stations and the bus does a loop north to take in Thornton Heath, where the drivers changed at the garage.  Round the Mayday hospital there is an intense South Indian belt with the Nanak Centre, the Croydon Mosque, the Chat Patta, Chennai, Chennai Dosa and Taste of Kerala restaurants and Neelam Fabrics. Body and soul catered for. So we were a bit puzzled to find the Belgium Fruit and vegetable Market – ‘name 5 famous Belgians’ has perhaps become name 5 Belgian vegetables? 

 Then down the Ampere Way, which of course passes the Croydon IKEA and other large retail outlets.

Going straight ahead and uphill (you begin to notice the climb and potentially the view from the North Downs) the 289 proves to be the only route passing the site of Croydon Airport  complete with its de Havilland Heron plane (the last flight went in 1959), famous for being the airport to which Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich in 1938 and where he waved the piece of paper claiming to have achieved ‘peace in our time’. However the Battle of Britain memorial  along the Purley Way indicates quite how wrong he was.

Croydon is famous for its large Shopping Centres: the Whitgift and along here the Colonnades and to some extent this impacts on all the little shops. This is where the hairdressers come into their own and today we had:
  • Salon profile
  • Kriss Kutz
  • Kiss Kut
  • New Salon
  • Cutting It Fine
                                                       Beefy Boys on the other hand proves to be a café!

The bus seems to run out of steam here in Purley: having made the ascent it seemed scared to progress on to more rural Surrey and so left us adjacent to the Purley Way Tescos and Purley Station up on its hill.

A trip to Purley was something of a sentimental trip for Jo as it was her substantive UK family home during the Sixties – two very high bus numbers will eventually take us even closer but today was not the day to get out and have a nostalgic wander around.

Talking of ‘cutting it fine’ I managed to miss my train back but still feel quite kindly disposed towards the very friendly 289.

PS Bit pushed for photos here between the rain /condensation and low windows things look poor. 
Thanks to Tim for updating the index.


  1. Although it would like to be, Croydon isn't a city In it's own right. I do believe it's on the short list of places vying for city status as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations though, so maybe it will be later this year.

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