Monday, 21 May 2012

The Number 333 Route

Elephant & Castle to Tooting Broadway
Monday June 14th 2010

Mary & I were doing this trip not so much in a spirit of adventure, as the route 333 covers very well trodden /ridden territory, but in order to reach different more key routes. Our driver sped away from Elephant & Castle clearly desperate to leave it far behind and headed off down Newington Butts (did they really shoot bows and arrows here?) for Kennington and points south, passing many old ‘friends’ like the convoy of 59s we saw. Still, there are some handsome buildings along this stretch – the Guinness Trust flats and the imposing corner building which was once the Belgrave Children’s Hospital (now totally absorbed into King’s College at Camberwell) and once also a homeless persons hostel, seemingly now flats. There is also St Mark’s Kennington, which is worthy of a mention.  This seems such a busy road junction on the old Stane Street (Roman road) it is hard to imagine it as a site for the gallows, though the old common had a bit of a dodgy reputation. Like its brother gospel churches (St Matthews’s at Brixton, St Luke’s at West Norwood and St John’s at Waterloo) it is an impressive local church.

As we moved very fast (this driver was in a real hurry) into more residential areas it was fun to spot the different flags hanging out to show support in these early days of the Football World Cup 2010. Round Stockwell there is a well-established Portuguese community with lovely little cafes so no surprise to see both Portugal and Brazil flags.
In fact this is probably the largest community from Portugal in the UK and I gather we may just have missed Portugal day, which gets celebrated on June 10th. There were also some flags we had to research and now know one to be the Ghana flag.

For once we did not jam (traffic as opposed to food or music) through Brixton – the extensive and lengthy road works to beautify Windrush Square are finished and we noticed they are also brightening up the strips of greenery called Rush Common.

Just short of Streatham is the old Tramways garage and this route takes a right inclination at the church now stranded in a one-way system and carries on towards Mitcham. The 333 heads round the back of the ice skating though 1 advert tempted us with ‘Chariots Roman Spa’ however as this proves to be a gay sauna perhaps not and not on this route anyway! (it’s in Spitalfields apparently)

By now we were enjoying the view from the top deck as we could see far down into Croydon and beyond and really enjoying everyone’s front gardens on fine sunny day  – though you cannot smell them from the bus we know the elderflowers were in fine form and ready to be picked -  plenty of recipes for boiling them into cordials or champagne but in Austria they deep fry them in batter and scatter with sugar which is just as delicious – anyway it’s strictly seasonal and it may well be winter 2012 by the time we post his route!!
(As it happens I am just posting as 2012’s elderflowers come into bloom!)

After Southcroft Road and Mitcham Road we were clearly heading to Tooting and this was arguably the slowest part of what had been a very swift trajectory through SW London. Today we made it in about 50 minutes giving us time for a pit stop and amble round for our next bus.

On the whole not a very original route – there seemed to be no point where it went where others have not
dared and just seemed to be following the well trodden paths of other routes.

PS Having now ridden and blogged several of the 300 routes it is clear they are mainly the outer suburb extensions of inner London routes, interspersed with some ‘back-street’ routes. Bear with us.  

< Philadelphus not elderflower!

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