Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Number 359 Route


Addington Village Tramway Interchange to Selsdon Library
Thursday June 28th 2012

Lovely summer’s day, and we would have been quite happy (me at least) to sit in the sun for a while for this twice an hour service, but as Jo and Linda stepped off the 353 and located the 359 stop it was clear we only had five minutes to wait. While we were photographing the bus stop a waiting passenger offered to pose and it transpired he was a former bus driver, who had inadvertently been, I think he said, on the ‘last single decker RM’ – help me here bus people: did Routemasters come in single mode (leaving aside the odd arson attack I have read about)?  His story was spoilt somewhat by failing to remember the route number but he said he was besieged by spotters all keen to take the last ticket machines and ticket rolls off him. I do remember as a child if you smiled nicely at the conductors as they came to change ticket rolls they might give you the end of the roll, which had a magic turquoise stripe running through it!

Enough with the memories and back to the very pleasant Addington Village Interchange. Three of us boarded the Number 359 and in fact after the non-team passenger got off we had this little number to ourselves. It essentially goes to Selsdon, which is only up the road and according to TFL Journey Planner a 26-minute walk if you do it directly, which of course the bus does not.  Before the bus takes a right turn to serve the estate (big on hills but few shops or other amenities) we passed the substantial John Ruskin School, now a 6th form college but in existence since 1920 and formerly a Croydon grammar school, numbering no less than England Manager Roy Hodgeson amongst its old boys.   The estate’s properties were built in the post-war period but some of Selsdon pre-dates this with larger pre-war homes.

As noted, rather than the straight route the bus takes a more scenic route, essentially via the combes and hills of the Monks Hill Estate.  Croydon’s website tells us:

In December 1945 Mr. Riesco entered into an agreement with the Corporation under which the latter would buy the estate for £83,000. Monks Hill was bought from the Estate immediately and was developed for housing and schools..   

We were a bit surprised the route was not a ‘hail and ride’ one but as it happens no-one else got on, so we could be as indiscreet as we liked. At this time of year many of the front gardens offered excellent displays of classic English garden varieties.

As we rejoined the Selsdon Park Road we crossed the London loop walk, the 152-mile walking ring which circles London roughly in the Zone 6 belt. Jo was muttering something about Conservative politics and she was of course remembering the dreaded ‘Selsdon Man’ who in 1973 pledged to promote and uphold a free market economy. Unfortunately Selsdon man turned into Selsdon woman in the shape of Margaret Thatcher and all the evils she begat but I suppose we cannot blame an area (or a bus route that crosses it) for their politics?  

This bus route ends at a newish Sainsbury’s and is actually what you might term a ‘circular’ route as we suddenly, after barely 20 minutes of trip, found ourselves trying to get out as many shopping laden passengers boarded.

We suspect that Sainsbury’s had received permission to build provided they gave some added value, and we liked the older persons’ community centre and library which form part of the same building as the shop – and all air-conditioned.  

The clock, a fairly recent (2007) addition gave the accurate time of our arrival at the end of this short trip.  
PS I love a person who loves public clocks. 




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