Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Number 316 Route

15 June 2009

This was a part of a three bus journey very near the beginning of our project, which had involved the 16,  close relative of the 316, bringing us to Cricklewood from Victoria

After our little expedition to Lidl (and renewed thanks to the helpful staff there) we climbed onto the 316, our first single decker bus for some time.  We retraced the 16 route as far as Cambridge Avenue and Kilburn Park Station, but going East was much slower than going West.  The bus is well-used, mostly for shorter journeys: a lot of shopping trips, clearly. The engine made loud blowing noises at almost every stop, which annoyed us more than it seemed to bother the driver. To pass Watling Gardens was a little strange:  Roman Watling Street linked London to Dover;  but the name is used on parts of the A5 as well.  A pub calling itself ‘The Good Ship’ announced that it was ‘transmogrified’ and we noted a surprising number of B and B establishments.  Linda’s professional eye suspected that they were more in local authority use than for visiting tourists.

 We spent some time tracing the Bakerloo Line, and some time on the 6 route, and passed the Roger Gracie Academy of Brazilian Jujitsu (no, nor did we…)  Then we were back on familiar territory as we went down Ladbroke Grove and over the canal, where we just glimpsed some passing boats.  Then we were into the car park for ‘Sylvia’s Sainsbury’s’.  From the bus, we could not see the memorial garden to the dead of the Paddington Railway disaster of 1999 though we know it’s there somewhere. We looped round St Charles’ Hospital, where Sylvia spent a few weeks in the 1990s.  I’m sure it’s cleaner now than it was then:  it is impossible to imagine it being dirtier…

The attractive houses in Barlby Gardens made us aware of the powerful scent of flowering privet, and reminded us of Michael Frayn’s novel Spies.  The bus wiggled round Cambridge Gardens and under the Westway. St Ann’s Villas has a Blue Plaque for Albert Chevalier, the Music Hall comedian, who died in 1923.  We had noted that there were fewer blue plaques than on some of our trips.

We were expecting White City Bus Garage to be a bit bleak, but it was magnificent, with an amazing bus cathedral where some of the buses were resting:  occupying a huge area at the back of Westfields shopping centre, it had pleasantly planted tubs where Linda and I enjoyed our sandwiches before getting onto the 31.

(how strange it seems now, almost three years on, that there was once a time when we did not know about White City Bus Station!)


  1. LOL brilliant comment about White City bus garage at the end.

    The original Watling street went much further than that (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watling_Street), and takes in important places like Milton Keynes. Well, the place where MK was to be build, or whatever. In MK the V4 grid road is called Watling Street, and I think it is along the route of the old Roman Road.

  2. The Memorial garden to the 1999 Ladbroke Grove crash is to the left of the roundabout as you turn round at Sainsburys.