Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Number 425 Route

Perhaps I should begin by saying that the kind technical support who does the index is at the other end of the world at the moment, though it may be that now he is off the train and in Adelaide he may decide to update us and add November.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Linda and I met in Dalston, and made our way to Nightingale Road, Clapton.  Fortunately Linda has a very clear idea of what is where:  I might naively have believed the TfL journey planner and finished up in quite the wrong Nightingale Road. Delighted and surprised that this was a double decker, we left the pretty terrace houses of Nightingale Road at 10.20 to head towards the Lea Bridge roundabout.  We passed signs to Brooke House Sixth Form College, which has partnerships with all sorts of academic institutions   and also past the white mosque.  We came to Clapton Pond, which was looking very pretty with autumn colours. 

We noted that Clapton Girls’ Technology College has now become an Academy  , and were also mightily impressed with the new building of the City Academy, which was a construction site last time a bus brought us this way.

We liked the Jamaican colour scheme of ‘Swift Caribbean Delights’ takeaway, and then were at Homerton Hospital, and the Hospital Tavern opposite.

This is an area of mainly public housing, including the Banister House Estate with excellent raised bed allotments.  It was initially built in the 1930s, but extended massively after the devastation of the 1940s.  I noticed that it has a day nursery called ‘Graceland’ and wonder whether the children are lulled to sleep with Elvis songs.

Cardinal Pole Catholic School also has handsome new buildings (pic 4) the third such lucky school on this trip. It is interesting that they chose to name the school after a rather controversial Tudor figure.

Passing the Gascoyne Estate, a post war public housing project, we came to the shopping area, with ‘Step ‘n Toe’ shoe repairs as well as ‘Sleep on It’ beds.  We turned into Church Crescent, to pass the Mongers Alms Houses, which date from a bequest in 1669.  They are now privately owned.
 At this point the route leaves Hackney to enter Tower Hamlets.  We admired the positively Olympian class of planting on the roundabout at the end of Grove Road as we came over the Hertford Canal . This was built to enable boats from the Regents Canal to reach the River Lee and hence all the delights of Essex and Hertfordshire, without venturing onto the River Thames, at that time overcrowded with ships of all sizes. Victoria park was looking attractive and autumnal, though the speed of our bus along this part of the route defeated even Linda’s photographing abilities.

The Grove Road Railway Bridge is marked with a blue Plaque, commemorating the day, 13 June 1944, when pilotless bombing arrived in the world.  The ancestor, one could say, of the Drones that attack North Pakistan.

More cheerfully, we crosse the London Greenway, though parts of it are still closed as a result of the Olympics, and came to the Green Bridge in Mile End.

We were now travelling with the dangerous CS2, the cycling super highway, so called, which brings you to the lethal Bow roundabout and flyover.  We saw a substantial police presence pulling cars over, and Linda, na├»ve soul that she is, wondered if they were being stopped for trespassing into the cycle lane. Insert your own hollow laugh here. 
We admired the Stepney and Bow Foundation Coburn Girls School, now the Central Foundation School, with new buildings (a theme of this bus route, you will agree) before coming to tiny Bow Road Station and the Bow Bells Pub, looking for all the world like a London Bus flattened against a wall .

The Bow Roundabout brought us close to Stratford so that we saw the Anish Kapoor Tower, as well as what appeared to be a phone mast enclosed in what might be art or might just be camouflage.

We crossed the Bow Creek, the River Lea, the Three Mills River and the other agglomerated waterways that separate Tower Hamlets from Newham, and then travelled through the many new housing blocks which were being built last time we were here on a bus rather than visiting the Olympic Park.  The flats may be occupied, but most of the retail spaces on the ground floors had not been taken up, which does not help the cheeriness of the area.  We were surprised to notice that the DLR Station at Pudding Mill Lane was still closed, as we had thought that was only for the duration of the Olympics;  but it turns out that Crossrail will bite here, too.

We reached Stratford Bus Station  – not to be confused with Stratford City Bus Station which is up and over the other side of the shopping centre, as we were to discover – at 11.00.

The journey was listed as 25 minutes, so we did not think 40 minutes was too bad.  It had looped to and fro where other buses head straight for Stratford, so we had had a chance to enjoy several of the tidied up and attractive areas of North East London.

Oh, yes, and we were able to collect two of the new, post Olympic bus maps, though North West is not yet available, from a splendid young man ('they're MINE' he said, clutching them to himself as we asked for two copies of each) at Stratford Bus Station.


  1. Index now updated. Sorry, it seems that I had forgotten for several months. Greetings from a sunny Canberra.