Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Number 483 Route (Not)

The best I can do for finding  out about a 483 bus route is that it used to be the 403A and commuted around various mental health hospitals from West Croydon to Warlingham Park and Chelsham. In 1973 it became the 483 but whether it runs still is not clear.

Of course you all know, because you have been paying attention , that the old mental health services (known originally as asylums) were dotted around London in what was then countryside. So it would have been a day out to visit anyone, which is why many patients were forgotten. 


When I came to write this and research the pictures to reflect the markets we had passed on buses over the last few years I concluded that ‘market’ was really rather an elastic term, embracing anything from two fruit stalls to a major wholesale enterprise, guarded with secure entrance.  They certainly come in all shapes and sizes.

In London the big wholesale markets have on the whole relocated – Billingsgate for fish
used to be close to the Tower of London, our old-style fortress, but has now moved just outside the differently fortressed Canary Wharf  Development.  The fruit, vegetable and flower market moved away from the picturesque Covent Garden to the very utilitarian Nine Elms. This leaves Smithfield
 the meat and poultry wholesale market just about hanging in there.  Nowadays these are designed for van and lorry rather than pedestrian or bus access. Longevity is the other characteristic of these markets – Smithfield has an 800 year old history. 

The more local markets are dotted around with some clearly well-established – for example Enfield Market Cross dates from 1826 (not so old then) but the market itself has a longer pedigree. Another clear criterion for a market must be the ability to shop at your pace, hurried or leisurely, free from traffic fumes and the like and without risk of being mown down by horse and cart or automobile or bus. The more self-contained markets are therefore well tucked away, often under cover and normally pedestrianised, and so not that visible from a bus, which is why our glimpses are so tantalising.

  Romford Market - on certain days only  ^

< Rathbone Market, near Canning Town, no more...

On the whole London lacks the market squares you find in traditional market towns (Enfield is one exception), and many of London’s are linear along streets on certain days of the week. Most are open-air but the East Ham ones are undercover.  Even the ones that are overtly trying to sell arts and crafts or antiques tend to have food outlets somewhere in the vicinity and the food speciality ones can become places of pilgrimage, Borough Market for example. Prices should be lower as the theory is without buildings to maintain the overheads are lower than conventional shops, but this does not always seem to be the reality experienced in some of the trendier venues.

For a comprehensive if not exhaustive list see Wikipedia.

What often catches our eyes, from a bus, are the fruit and vegetable stalls and others which spill out onto the pavements – not strictly speaking a market but enticing nevertheless.  

 Shepherd's Bus Market - near the railway arches, as in Brixton  

Church Street off the Edgware Road - a cheaper option to the main road stores?

Camden Lock, between road canal and railway --- a runaway success...

Roman Road in Bow

East Ham going down the High Street  >>

and from the back 

Croydon is tucked away 

 Apple Market in Kingston, where are the apples you might ask? 

Hildreth Road , Balham >

Bruce Grove , Tottenham >


  1. Brixton Market proper is a shadow of its former self, alas, but the covered market has undergone a bit of a renaissance as a foodie heaven. Walthamstow market is much more like the Brixton market of 25 years ago, and is apparently the longest market in London! And don't forget East Street market in Walworth, always popular....

  2. There are lots of new routes are you think of doing an update