Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Number 432 Route

Brixton  Station to Anerley Station 
Thursday November 12th 2011

Our usual punctual meeting had been disrupted by a failure in the Victoria Line which meant Jo had walked down from Stockwell, not a major hardship on quite a mild autumn day, and we met at the first stop near to the Police Station – by the time this is blogged this will definitely be our last route through or starting/ending in Brixton** so marks another major landmark as Brixton is such a hub. For Jo, who had ridden the Number 2 alone, this was quite pleasantly nostalgic, more pedestrian for Linda for whom Brixton used to be the ‘go-to’ Underground Station.

The traffic flow in Brixton has certainly improved and all those road works so evident on our earlier routes through here – the 2 and 37 for example – are complete and seem to have improved things. Brixton is always busy and the market was just getting going so no shortage of people passing through. The Ritzy continues to offer good viewing as an excellent Independent Cinema and manages to combine showing more obvious choices with smaller gems you might not find elsewhere.

The route, downhill, to Tulse Hill has both extensive social housing and larger older properties; St Martin’s in the Field’s School is in a lovely old building though doubtless they would rather have something more modern and prizewinning along the lines of the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton. More modern is the Primary Jubilee School opposite. 
PS I think Zaha Hadid inverted her designs for the Olympic Pool here, but how wonderful to have such an exciting building to work in. 

Today the traffic continued to flow well (always easier coming out of central London) and we negotiated the major Tulse Hill interchange with the South Circular pretty smartly and headed on down to West Norwood. Jo spotted an interesting change of use from corner built bank chambers to a car showroom… the plasterwork on many of the buildings is quite fine but sadly polluted.

West Norwood means the 4th Apostle Church – this time St Luke’s (having passed he back of St. Matthew’s in Brixton).  Interestingly all four early 19th century churches now occupy strategic positions in traffic flows and  key road junctions  – the result I suppose of the then architect wanting them to be seen from afar down broad sweeps. Just adjacent is West Norwood cemetery, one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ built to cope with inner London ‘overflow ‘ (both of bodies and noxious matter).  Some of the well known people buried there include Isabella Beeton (probably given syphilis by her erring husband: advice not included in her ‘Household Management’). Julius de Reuter without whom we would not have news agencies (I guess nowadays he would start up a Twitter Newsfeed), and James Greathead, the engineer who devised the deep tunnel bore that allowed the depth of digging to achieve many of the Underground lines. There are of course more but try the quite garish link and see if you can guess the people from the montage.

Unlike the other buses, which here take the left fork, the 432 carries on along Elder Road and this proved to be something of a treat. Smaller cottages by Pilgrim Hill and the rather surprising Boat House which seems to reference the lost River Effra which ran near here.
Lost rivers and walking them being something of a recent theme, you might enjoy this  link also. 

All this talk of hills and we had been DOWN to Tulse Hill then UP to West Norwood and further UP towards Crystal Palace via the rest of Elder Road until it joins Central Hill. At the speed we were going it was difficult to tell whether Elderwood Place was a restored older build or more modern – given that it is described as a ‘gated community’ that would be the latter then – with views over Norwood Park looking calm and autumnal, not a combination you often get.

By now we were up on Central Hill – to the right the older properties and to the left the more recent (but actually late Sixties build) Central Hill Estate – today we were on a double-decker and though misty the views over outer South East London were excellent.  Though we have mentioned this before Central Hill houses the Pear Tree Bunker.

We even passed along the usually very congested Westow Hill (it’s all those restaurants) at a good speed and were soon on the crest of Crystal Palace noting the footings to the former exhibition halls, which gave this whole area it s name, as we made the steep descent to Anerley.

If you raise your eyes above the mediocre run of kebab and liquor shops there are some fine solid buildings in Anerley – mainly grand villas now sub-divided but still standing proud – see here for how they would have looked before.

Bromley Borough (for that is where this route ends) had sold off the little Town Hall which is where the bus turns left into a suitable side street for disgorging its (very few) passengers, conveniently close to Anerley Station.  Jo was intrigued as she had passed through on the Overground but this was an opportunity to see the real above ground (as actually the train runs in quite a deep cutting round and through Crystal Palace.

So we had completed this very straight trip in about 35 minutes, and had only to cross the road to reach our second (but numerically earlier) bus of the day. 

** Rules Committee has since committed to some Letter Routes, two of which run close to Brixton so not ‘last’ after all.  

1 comment:

  1. In fact one of them, the P4, actually starts (or ends, depending on your point of view) in Brixton.