Monday, 28 January 2013

The Number 541 Route

Monday 28 January 2013

Linda and I took this modest little route on a bright and sunny morning.  The most difficult part of getting to Prince Regent DLR station, whence it departs for the Keir Hardie Estate, is fathoming the apparently inexplicable complexities of Canning Town Station.  Linda found Platform 3 (trains to Beckton) by trying a number of other options first.  I gave up when I followed signs which brought me back, panting, to the Jubilee Line Platforms, and then asked a very helpful young person, who saw me into the lift for the right place, saying that I should have stayed on the Jubilee Line and done a u-turn. Apparently improved signage will be part of the 'works' which are occurring at the moment.

Even with these difficulties we were onto the bus at 09.40, delighted to find it was a double decker.  The only other people on the top deck were two people from a French-speaking part of Africa.  One of them was amused at our photo taking, but then very helpfully told us when we reached the end of the route and assured us that we could ride the bus back.  We gave him a card, so 'bon jour' if you are reading this, sir.

At first we followed the DLR back towards Canning Town, but soon the complicated works were such that we turned right.  At first we thought 'it might be Crossrail', our default solution to any signs of disruption, but of course it's just the DLR upgrade. (But please see the very helpful corrective comment below.  I had not realised just how far the tentacles of Crossrail had spread) So we turned right to reach Freemasons' Parade, recognising the clear signage at which Newham excels, and then came to Ashburton Wood, which breaks up the public housing nicely.

The YMCA's George Williams College is here.  It specialises in degrees relating to Youth and Community work.  Then we dived down under the A13 to come into Chargeable Lane, a name which baffled us.  Certainly no-one asked us for a toll payment as we headed onwards, through mixed areas of terraced houses and more recent social housing.
We also thought that this was not an area that would have much demand for Koi carp, and the shop certainly seemed to have given up.  Custom, of course, for the fact that we were in the Custom House Area, rather than anything about the fish.

The Abbey Pub had rather a handsome sign, depicting the interior of an Abbey; but one lot of choir and lay-clerks' stalls look much like another, so I can't tell you which Abbey it is named for. The web seems to think it's called the Abbey Arms, but the sign clearly doesn't.

After passing Hitchcock's the undertakers, once famous for horse drawn hearses, which seems now to be part of a larger group called Albins, we came to Rokeby School.  It is displaying the excellent words of its Offsted report.  It would be great if their website explained the name, but it doesn't. Rokeby Place is a stately home in Yorkshire;  the name is also associated with a Velasquez painting of Venus in the National Gallery, notorious for being attacked by a Suffragette in 1914. Neither of these things appears to have a close Newham link.

Our journey went on, heading straight towards Canary Wharf, and passing the Masjid Al Habib - 'Habib' means 'beloved', by the way -, as well as a beautician called 'His' Grace.  We were not clear whether this was FOR men, or BY men.

We went back under the A13 to reach Canning Town Bus Station.  The planting that was done for the Olympics is still looking rather nice.  It may well be the only legacy that remains, since 'inspiring a generation' to sporting excellence may prove a bit difficult in the absence of funding.

The NHS advertising on the sides of buses also attracted our interest.  The temptation to leap out and graffiti 'unless you live in Lewisham' after 'is for saving lives' was successfully resisted.

The Canning Town Caravanserai is a community/craft/events sort of place and we passed it before turning teft and then right to enter the Keir Hardie Estate.  This is named for the great Socialist, who rose from the grimmest and poorest of backgrounds to become internationally famous and venerated.

The estate includes some very nice green space, as well as a range of housing types, and our fellow passenger told us that the actual end of the route is the Appleby Centre, which we reached at 10.05.

I nipped downstairs to give our driver a card, and we stayed on to get back to Canning Town.  It is a slightly different route through other streets of the estate, passing a house with splendid plastering embellishments, and a school and play centre whose mural included a pretty fine bus.

All in all, a pleasant little ride, which linked in parts with other buses we have known, as far back as the 5, as well as showing us some new parts of East London

Just to finish with, I'll repeat what our plans are for the next few weeks:  the 549 will occupy next Monday, and after that the 603 and the 607:  but no other 600 buses because they are clearly designated 'school journeys' by TfL and so are not for us.  And then it's on to the letters, starting, probably, with a foray into Bexleyheath for some 'B's.

1 comment:

  1. All the works between Prince Regent and Custom House (and Custom House and Royal Victoria) are Crossrail works. We've just lost the Canning Town bound bus stop outside Custom House Station because of these as well