Northumberland Road Station to Euston Station
Thursday May 31st 2012
Our previous journey had taken us to the Angel Road Superstores where a huge Tescos goes face to face with London’s newest IKEA, which opened with controversial publicity in 2005 due to too many customers. Everything looked very quiet today and we had not time to linger as we took the 341 back about four stops to Northumberland Park – unfortunately Jo was unable to find her Freedom pass and paid for this very short journey, which we only needed to get us to the start of Route 476 – a double decker. Of course by the time the 476 arrived her pass had turned up…
This is not an area any of us had visited previously so it is quite interesting that it had been chosen as a research area for looking at population changes – I guess a microcosm of many inner London areas.
The Route 476 is very direct, and from Tottenham High Road onwards it follows a straight north to south line. This part of London is not particularly well served by the Underground until you reach Seven Sisters but there are a series of rail stations and of course a wealth of buses. This route marks our last passing this way. In spite of the range of alternative buses ours was very popular and, reflecting one of the local communities, we had an enthusiastic Turkish speaker on board. Tottenham High Road has had a poor run of luck and the council is trying hard to move things on and perhaps by the time you read this there will be some visible improvements. The 19th century buildings both domestic and public are handsome but need some TLC.
In Woodberry Down Estate Stamford Hill has one of the largest council estates in London – by some weird synchronicity I watched the 1952 Coronation in one of the new flats, where friends of my parents had bought one of those ‘new’ television sets, and here we were passing just before the 60th Jubilee celebrations. Today the flats are still going complete with raised vegetable beds in the communal grassy areas. Hackney has always been a socially minded council; some of the local flats are named after post war Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell From a privileged background himself he was always to the right of the party. Talking of privilege, a local school is named for William Patten who was successful as a teller for the Exchequer until a check up showed monies missing and he lost his job, status and lands round Stoke Newington. Just desserts seemed to arrive more quickly in the 16th Century. Daniel Defoe, who also lived round here, similarly has a school named for him. Stoke Newington Church Street, part of which is covered by this route, continues to be a delight with a diverse range of quirky shops and eating places: ‘Two Wheels Good’ which is a bike shop and ‘Mudfoot and Scruff’ a shoe shop entertained us between the gems that are the Town Hall and Abney Park Cemetery, one of the Magnificent Seven – for a more leisurely enjoyment of this stretch try Stages 12-13 of the Capital Ring walk. If Newington Green looks better than it did it is thanks to such local groups and hard work behind the scenes.
Leaving Stoke Newington behind, the 476 carries on down the entire length of the Essex Road until it reaches the Angel Islington (Angel to Angel route?). The Essex Road gains over Upper Street in its lack of pretension but still maintaining an attention to detail – we spotted a couple of ghost signs and more interesting shops – the the Architectural Forum+ and unfortunately our third ambulance of the day.
We trundled through Islington faster than we often do (memories of being stationary on the 73 and 38 routes when they were bendies linger) and noticed the Walkabout pub had closed and was turning into a ‘Rattlesnake’ ?
Lord Clyde seems to have a pub named for him but as there are several generations of this name it is hard to know whom the Essex Road establishment is commemorating! Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is easier to identify as this building used to house the medical school and hospital she set up for women.
An easy right turn took us along the Pentonville Road past the two great North London stations – Kings Cross, its transformation nearly complete, and St Pancras, now a well oiled machine. It is quite fitting that the Rocket pub should lie between them. We turned round the back in order to park up in front of Euston Station and its Doric Arch. This was a straight and uncomplicated North to inner North London run and none the worse for that.