Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Number 360 Route

Friday 13 July 2012

What a very enjoyable route this was!  For the first time for some months, it took us into London itself (or at least the western end of the place) It's not that we don't enjoy Essex, Kent and so on, but a change can be fun too.

We set off from Newington Causeway, Elephant and Castle, just after 11.00.  We had noticed the bus was a single decker, obviously, but it took a while before Linda pointed out that we were riding a hybrid bus.  Unsure of the implications of this, we wondered if the strange graunching noise we heard from time to time was the engine switching from one mode to the other.  The TfL website does not mention strange noises, however.

Heading along St George's Road, we turned left to pass the Imperial War Museum, with the large naval guns outside.  They are a reminder that before ships were seen as helipads, they were seen as gun emplacements.  Around it is Geraldine Harmsworth Park, named for the mother of the Daily Mail proprietor, Lord Rothermere, and dating from the 1920s.  We turned left at the Three Stags pub, to head south along the Kennington Road.  I was a little worried about this (not the way I would go to the Albert Hall, myself) but Linda reassured me, and sure enough we headed towards the river at Vauxhall Bridge. We went along Black Prince Road, named for the pub which in turn is named for the oldest son of Edward III, who died before becoming King, thus causing Richard II, the Wars of the Roses, and a lot of Shakespeare plays.  I would not normally mention this, but it's hard at the moment to turn on radio or TV without a dollop of bard-based history, so I thought I would.

The advertisements recommending staying at home this year for all the culture and sport were presumably commissioned before the jet stream got going.

Actually, today was comparatively bright and rain free, as we headed past the Ethelred Tenant Managed Organisation.  This is a Lambeth way of dealing with ex-Council properties.  We also enjoyed some fine brick and plaster work as we headed towards the river, reaching the Albert Embankment and turning left along it.

We were pleased to note the Duck Tour setting off with a full cargo of passengers.  It's some time since I enjoyed this tourist experience, and I recommended it to Linda.

The turn into Vauxhall Bus Station and out again is one we have not done for some time.  We were amazed to see that a tower block is being added to the large complex of riverside flats, though I doubt if 'tower block' is the term that the marketing materials will use.

Anyway, over the river we went, before turning left into Lupus Street, to serve the people of South Westminster.   As we passed St George's Square, we were interested to note that Pimlico School has become an academy, with fine new buildings, conveniently near to the equally new library.

We also passed some blocks of the Peabody Trust's flats.  I have a friend who lives here (she was in the Women's Land Army during the Second World War, but that's another story)  This brought us to the area around Chelsea Harbour, and we made a little loop round a roundabout to reach the Lister Hospital, and then the Royal Hospital, and the building site where the Chelsea Barracks were:  blighted, as you will recall, when the heir to the throne announced that he did not like the design, and the Middle Eastern owners pulled the project.

Next we were up to Sloane Square and round behind Peter Jones to get to Cadogan Gardens.  We were interested to see a large building named for Nell Gwynn.  This proved to be a block of serviced apartments, and you can see the prices here.  I am not going to speculate at all about why apartments available for short lets should be named for this particular friend of Charles II.

We were surprised to see a statue of Bela Bartok the composer, but we learn that he did live in this area on a visit to London, and that there is indeed a blue plaque to him, which we missed, so here it is.

All that remained was to head up past the Islamia Centre and into Exhibition Road, the only bus to serve this newly traffic calmed road.  Museums, a huge Mormon Church, Imperial College, and then the Albert Hall, destination of the 360.  But we didn't actually stop there, heading past it to use it more or less as a roundabout to reach the bus stand at 11.50.
A really enjoyable trip, we thought;  we shall not be back in central-ish London till the 381!

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