Friday, 7 December 2012

The Number 455 Route

Thursday 6 December 2012

This was a very cold day, and getting to Wallington, where our route begins, had been a little slowed down by the effect the weather had had on the railways.  But Linda and I set off from the quiet station forecourt at 10.32 on a single decker which felt warm at first, but not for long.

Turning out we passed first the Melbourne Pub, which apparently spent a little time being called O'Neill's.  But I don't know if it was named for the Australian town or for the politician who was Queen Victoria's favourite.  We also passed the John Jakson Pub, definitely spelt like that despite a number of directories spelling it with a 'c'.  It's quite an unusual name but I have found no explanation:  oh that it were a Wetherspoon's not a Marston's pub.
The former Town Hall houses Orchard Hall College, and one of their students got onto our bus in his wheelchair.  The teaching assistant with him had the most beautiful blue hair, on which we complimented her.  We headed on through the town, past rather a fine bridal shop, and then up the hill.  This area has a mixture of semis and bungalows, mostly with hardened front drives, perhaps necessary as the road is quite narrow and busy.

Soon we came onto the Roundshaw Estate, passing the Phoenix Leisure Centre and some pleasant green spaces before spotting the golden pillarbox which reminds us that the golden David Weir was brought up round here.

We passed Wilson's School, one of those schools which moved out of central London, or at least Camberwell where it began in 1615, for the more spacious areas of Sutton, to become a selective state school.  It's interesting, in a Gove-like way, that the FAQs about the entrance test include the pass mark (108).  Presumably if a lot of boys achieved this, they would have to have portacabins.  Heading on through Bandonhill and past the cemetery, we had disant views of Croydon, as we turned down Hilliers Lane to get into Beddington.  We crossed the River Wandle, pretty small and modest at this stage, to reach the huge Asda and then the industrial area.  This was not particularly attractive, and we wondered, as so often before, why it is acceptable to keep building new offices and warehouses when so many lie around empty.

There had been some attempts to soften the area with planting on the banks, and we were also cheered by a flock of geese, Canada we think, enjoying the grass around the sewage works.

 Coming out to Therapia Lane tram stop, we were getting closer and closer to Ikea:  the factory chimneys, ringed with the corporate colours, had been visible for some time, but now we came close and through the associated retail park to reach the outskirts of Croydon and the enormous Sainsbury's, where our fellow passenger and his wheel chair had a bit of a problem negotiating the lowering of the ramp, but eventually disembarked safely.  We, however, pressed on down Waddon Road, with time to admire the remarkable mistletoe balls in a tree, as we took that loopy route past the church to get into central Croydon.

As so often in the past months, we admired the hoarding around Reeves Corner.  It's clear that the store will not be rebuilt here (they are doing fine at their other shop) but we saw no sign of the multi-million pound development actually getting started.  We did, however, pass the Tamworth Arms, buit in the 1850s and still a Young's Pub.  Why Tamworth?  we don't know.

We noted a Christmas Treat at Centrale, but were quite glad to have neither children nor grandchildren of the right age for it.  As we went through the centre to get to West Croydon bus station, we noted that the winter pansies in the council's baskets were looking pretty good, but it would have taken more than a few flowers to prevent a jaded feeling creeping over us:  we have been here just too often in the past few weeks.  So the Clock Tower and Croydon Flyover bit was simply not exciting.  We did, however, turn up onto the flyover to reach the Swan and Sugarloaf, through streets we had not previously visited.  Along here, people who had got on with shopping in the centre were getting off.

Next, with great excitement, we headed along Pampisford Road.  Why excitement?  well, our parents/in-laws lived at Number 140 in the 60s.  This is the only bus along here, and of course back then, everyone went places by car, with little or no problem parking. I had remembered a Barnardo's Home along here, but Netherheys closed in 1973.  Now there are many schools, Regina Coeli, St Giles and Cumnor House among them.  The steep banks  of the mock Tudor properties where the parental home was prevented photographs.

We came down into Purley itself and passed the railways station to come out past the giant Tesco's.  This had been a trip of vast supermarkets among other sights.  Noting an American Golf Shop of similarly gargantuan proportions, Linda wondered if it meant larger checks on the trousers, but it seems to be a brand rather than a description of the goods.

On past Reedham Station, we headed uphill, noting REAL SNOW on the hardened driveways of the narrow roads.  OK, OK, only a sprinkling, but we were still pleased to see the evidence of what had caused the disruption, and we arrived at the destination, Old Lodge Lane, at 11.50.

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