Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Number 444 Route

Turnpike Lane Station to Chingford Station
Tuesday August 30th 2011

While Mary was recovering from 'end of school holidayitis' with her grandchildren, Jo and I started a modest Essex jaunt at Turnpike Lane Underground, another modernist gem from Charles Holden.

Strictly speaking, of course, we started from the spacious adjoining bus station, where we caught one of the four-an-hour 444s to head both east and somewhat north. Unfortunately our single-decker 444 was a rather old rattling model, and as you can see the door fittings were in a poor state.

The bus passes Duckett’s Common, which apparently had been suggested as a name for the train station, and almost immediately goes over a bridge where allotments are well established along old railway or possibly tram lines.

This route skirts rather than penetrating the solidly Turkish community of Green Lanes, though we were interested that we passed the Anatolian Youth centre, and if we are close to North Tottenham and Green Lanes can White Hart Lane be far away?  The 444 does not actually pass the stadium and as I write this the controversy about whether Tottenham

  1. Should pursue a court case arguing that West Ham was allocated the Olympic Stadium under dubious circumstances or
  2. Should take up the Mayor’s offer (in light of the recent (August 2011) riots) of cash to help rebuild their stadium as well as the community.
By the time we blog this route the future of Spurs should be settled.
Option 2.  being the more likely outcome if the Mayor's offer holds good? 

From Haringey borough we moved onto Enfield, where they had also experienced violence and looting though all we saw today was more allotments including one with a whole field of maize – not that allotment holders are supposed to grow cash crops.

After a surprisingly swift passage up the Great Cambridge Road (alias the A10) we turned right along Wilbury Road in order to serve the North Middlesex University Hospital usually known as the North Mid – from a  relative who works there we know it’s not a ‘bells and whistles’ hospital but one that serves a dense and very diverse local community with appropriate specialisms for local folk. Not surprisingly a young boy with his arm in a sling got on at this stop.

Opposite the hospital was the Romeo Trading estate looking closed and run down and fresh out of Romeos for the Ladies Who Bus.  In fact from here on the route passes a range of tips, trading estates, business parks and similar. The reason for this is undoubtedly the proximity of the North Circular, and the fact that it is preferable to have used car tips, the London Waste Incinerator and sundry big warehouses like IKEA close to this busy and polluting road rather than attempting much in the way of residential homes. The London Waste Incinerator  is London’s largest and takes non-recyclable stuff from most of the North London Boroughs. You would not know from the jolly leafy website that their business is rubbish and filth, but then someone has to do it.

It was hard to see properly from a low level bus, but we did both sneak under and along the North Circular while it loomed above us, and over the River Lea, which at this point is a fairly modest trickle – we were to meet again in more scenic mode on a later bus today.

Once over the Lea we were in Waltham Forest and heading rapidly towards Chingford and what appeared to be the two most popular bus stops on this route – Chingford Mount and the one following. The bus pushes on up Larkshall Road and into a solid post war-residential area with its usual quota of bungalows and bricked over front gardens but some open spaces also. 

Talking of Greens – and it is quite pleasantly green hereabouts – the 444 passes Chingford Green on its last leg along the still commercially active Station Road, and into the adjacent bus and train stations at which point we remembered we had been here just about a year ago.

This worthy rather than enthralling route had taken us about 45 minutes with no significant hold ups. 

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