Monday, 5 March 2012

The Number 303 Route

Thursday 2 February 2012

This was the middle bus of a three bus tour of North West London, or at least a narrow part of it, stretching only from Queensbury to Borehamwood.  The 303 was the middle leg, from Edgware Station to the superstores at Colindale.  In fact, we spotted what was to be our third bus as we waited.
The day was really, really cold, and Mary, Linda and I were glad of the shelter of Edgware’s Bus Station for our brief wait.  We were onto our single decker shortly after 11.15.  The bus was quite busy from the start, as we turned left, past The Raiway Pub and St Margaret of Antioch church.  She led a busy life, what with being swallowed by a dragon, regurgitated, then beheaded and becoming the patron saint of childbirth, but her church and its graveyard make a peaceful oasis before the left turn into the busy Edgware Road. 

 We also passed ‘Venus Hair and Beauty’ which advertises in Arabic as well as English, and specifically offers marriage hardos.  Linda told us, since we passed several, that nail salons are the only form of business actually growing (pardon the pun) in the high streets of the UK.  We had time for this sort of conversation because the traffic was at a standstill as far as the eye could see: when we crawled to the offending spot, it proved to be miniscule road works but with three way traffic controls.  We were interested in the name of the Change of Hart Pub, but can find no explanation of the odd name (swap my fallow for your roe?)  Searching did turn up a slightly shady period from 2010. 

After passing the usual numbers of available offices, we crossed the Silk Stream, admiring the springlike catkins, which cheered our chilly day. The small rivers of Middlesex are well served by their websites, as we noticed one bus (and over a year) ago with the Dean's Brook.
We took a quick turn  around  Edgware Hospital before heading along Deansbrook Avenue (the Deansbrook and the Silk Stream do meet one another!) Through an area of much improved former public housing, we came to Lyndhurst Park, before reaching Mill Hill Broadway Station, and the nastiest bus station in London, gloomily lurking under the motorway. Then we looped back the way we had come, travelling parallel to the railway for a while.  The Grahame Park area was all built up on the site of the old Hendon Air field (perhaps I should say aerodrome), and after Barnet College, we came to the RAF Museum and then a branch of Middlesex University.  
Once again, the route twiddles into the residential area and shops of what we think may be called New Hendon Village  - unless that is merely the newest flats – before heading back to reach Colindale Station.
Then we passed the NHS Blood Donation HQ, recently in the news about transplants from cancer sufferers  and the Newspaper Library.

We then speculated briefly about the name of  the New Chandos Pub. (I can find no explanation: Did it replace the Old Chandos? Did the Duke of Chandos – he of the portrait of William Shakespeare – appear forever new, like Dorian Gray?)

Back onto the Edgware Road one more time, we turned right to reach the Colindale Asda at 12.00 noon. An interesting ride, we thought, showing how buses loop towards and away from the main thoroughfares to serve the communities around.


  1. The Change of Hart? It was originally the White Hart (of course!). I'm not sure when the name changed - it was already the Change of Hart in the mid-1990s. I used tho frequent the place when my football team were playing at the adjacent, now derelict, White Lion Ground - named after an old pub, closed about 1996-7, which stood next to where the Premier Inn (or whatever it's called) is now.

  2. I'm from Edgware. Steve's correct. It was sometime about 1991/1992 when the White Hart was refurbished, re-managed and renamed.