Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Number 415 Route

Tulse Hill (Hardel Rise) to Elephant & Castle (Newington Causeway) 
Friday July 13th 2011

This was the starter course to an altogether more exciting bus (the 360) so I will be as brief as the route, for the main part is an alternative to more frequent but longer services along here. As London Bus Routes go this is a comparatively recent one having only started in 2008 – as it happens, only a year before us! Think of it as supplementary rather than trail blazing.

The above link refers to the busy Tulse Hill corridor and this is what this route covers – a straight line from the South Circular at Tulse Hill to the Elephant with never a glance or turn left or right. The ‘corridor’ is densely packed with post-war social housing including both the 1960s-built Deronda Estate near the beginning of the route and the older Tulse Hill Estate.

The Dick Sheppard School site was sold off (at one point Lambeth had no secondary schools, since rectified)  and redeveloped in a gated Regency Style with houses and apartments overlooking Brockwell Park, and this apart from a few mid-century semis is probably about the only private housing along here. The density of dwellings is a reminder of how much housing stock for which Lambeth is responsible. Even from a double decker Brockwell Park is not visible but for all these homes it is very accessible and well worth exploring.

As we neared Brixton Town Centre we passed increasing numbers of food outlets – most of them on the ‘faster’ end of the spectrum. Brazaswith two little birds on the corner of the building (I should have guessed) is Portuguese/South American  and comes warmly recommended. Brixton itself was pain-free today with traffic (that is  the dozen or so bus routes) flowing well and we were through and on up the Brixton Road in no longer than it takes to pause at the couple of designated stops.

The estates continue but there is a higher proportion of older buildings, many of them quite grand Georgian or early Victorian terraces, especially on the approach to Kennington. The other stand-out block is that of the Guinness Trust 
(and yes they are related, but the condition for building was bathrooms not booze) 

We also spotted a ghost sign, saying, though this is hard to believe in 2012,
‘For Your Throat’s Sake Smoke Cigarettes.’ Research indicates the brand advertised here was probably Craven A.

The other element of this part of the trip was Jo fuming about the Cycling Super Highway, which is in fact no different from other cycle tracks (ie. it comes, it goes, it shares with buses) except for the fact that it is bright Barclays Blue – perhaps better named Cheat’s Channel.  There was only one cyclist in view today and the bus driver was careful around her.

Speaking NOT as a cyclist but as a pedestrian and mere observer, the Kennington Road Junction, round St Mark’s, is pretty scary but I suppose works as ‘warm-up’ exercise for the imminent Elephant & Castle. St Mark’s is one of the sister (brother?) churches to St Matthew’s at Brixton,

Passing Kennington Underground Station with its distinctive and listed cupola (to house the winding gear for the lifts down to the Northern Line) our bus continued the straight line that characterises this route, taking the 415  along Newington Butts. Elephant and Castle has lacked stand out features except for being its unique self but since Strata arrived it is much more visible from a distance.

To be fair the road junctions have improved with lights substituting for one of the dreaded roundabouts and several of the horrible underpasses but as a pedestrian or cyclist you are very much a second class citizen – even a subterranean one if you brave the remaining underpasses at the Bakerloo Line end.

We made a mistake and got off at Newington Butts rather than the altogether quieter (relatively speaking) Newington  Causeway, so had to complete our journey on foot, for the one remaining stop of this route. 25 minutes for a straight trajectory almost entirely within Lambeth Borough until right at the end and never more than a supplement and help-mate to the other longer established routes.  

It also marked the last of our 26 routes which pass through Elephant & Castle..


  1. 28 routes pass through elephant and castle, and the 415 isn't the last of them, unless you've riden routes 453, 468, C10 and P5 already.

  2. Lambeth did close down a great many secondary schools, but they still had a fair few left; I can think of at least six that were, and are, still going strong! Plus the excellent and new Evelyn Grace Academy.