Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Number 484 Route

Lewisham Bus Station to Camberwell Green
Monday February 28th 2011

This was our first bus of a day of a 4-bus ‘daisy chain’. The 484 along with three other single decker routes starts from the access road to Lewisham Train and DLR stations as befits its modest status, but it seemed to be no slouch in the punctuality stakes as we had no wait to speak of.

Any Lewisham route will do a circuit to by-pass the market area, which bustles less on a Monday than later in the week. Interestingly the German sausage man, who arrived for Christmas one year and stayed, was open even at this early hour.  I know the Germans are always ready for a beer or sausage by 11AM, but they do start work a bit earlier than us, so passing him so early in the morning felt a bit ‘full-on’. Talking of meat eaters we had a dog on board but he was very unobtrusive and well behaved.

Our first landmarks are the old Coroner’s Court in Ladywell Road followed by the station itself, but then the 484 peels off uphill to the right passing the attractive Victorian houses along Vicars Hill. The bus skirts aptly named Hilly Fields which reminds me of listening to Ian Wright reminiscing about playing childhood football hereabouts, and how a sloping pitch affected the game – the challenge of playing uphill must have stood him in good stead though!  

The most intriguing part of the journey is through and past the roads that indicate that maybe this hilly bit of Lewisham was once a quarry – Quarry Road, Fossil Road and Shell Road – not to mention that adjacent roads overlook one another at quite different levels like some alpine village, though more densely built up.  I am sure the residents must be very grateful for their local bus service.

The route also passes two secondary schools – the rather venerable buildings of Haberdasher’s Askes (the South London one usually known as Aske’s), now part of a federation of schools  and the much newer build Crossways Academy, which offers 6th form courses only.

The network of streets round here are largely Victorian, some Edwardian with more modern fill-ins so altogether a healthy mix of properties – there is quite a strict (and confusing) series of one-way systems which of course the bus does not need to adhere to and at one point Jo was rather horrified to see the 484 bearing down on a very narrow bicycle contra-flow.  The 484 may be small but it is still a lot larger than a bicycle.

Having served Brockley station  (we noted the seven road junction at Brockley Cross was having some roadwork attention) the route continues to take on passengers from the large Honor Oak Estate, at this point being joined by the more substantial but somewhat unreliable 343.

Ivydale Road and Limesford Road, both of which the bus follows, in fact back onto the wonderful  Nunhead Cemetery, which unfortunately is not visible from the bus but really very close and well worth a trip . Not so famous as Highgate but just as evocative.
Mary was not with us today, on extended half-term break, but we know her allotment is just up the road and certainly did not need watering today.

The 484 just goes close enough to Peckham to pick up passengers but not so close it has to tangle with its inevitable traffic problems, heading instead straight from Peckham Rye (the lungs for this part of London) towards Goose Green and East Dulwich and then up the steep Dog Kennel Hill and past the very low level Denmark Hill station – by the time you come to read this Denmark Hill too will be connected to the London Overground service. It is a lovely station so I have included some additional pictures. Close by is the George Canning pub; this erstwhile foreign minister and then briefly Prime Minister seems to have had several pubs named after him though we are not entirely clear why?
The run into Camberwell is pretty familiar and served by rather more mainline routes than just the modest but pleasing little 484. There are the two mighty hospitals King’s College on the left and the Maudsley on the right dealing with every known ailment of the body and mind surrounded by a wealth of small food outlets offering a range of healthy and not so healthy options.

So there we were, arriving in Camberwell after a most enjoyable trip across Lewisham and Southwark lasting barely forty minutes, and directly at the correct bus stop for our key route of the day, the 148. 

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