Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The D6 Route

Monday 18 March 2013

Linda and I were delighted to have Mary back with us after the snowbound adventures in Guernsey, and we also had the pleasure of Ricky’s company.

Although we had done a couple of D buses before, the Project had now reached the moment when we needed to polish them all off:  well, there are only four, of which this is the second.

 We met, after a bit of phoning, where Amhurst Road meets Dalston Lane, and were on our single decker by 10.03, bound for the Asda at Crossharbour.
Mare Street is a very Vietnamese area, and we notices a shop selling Vietnamese Baguettes, as well as meeting places, caf├ęs and money transfer places.

The Hackney Empire was looking fine, and the Town Hall is undergoing restoration.  We also noticed the newish Hackney Picture House, which seems to do more than just show films.

There is a stone announcing that it was unveiled by Princess Christian along Mare Street, though we failed to identify the building.  She proves to have been one of Queen Victoria’s daughters, and was called Helena, but when she married Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein, became known by her husband’s name.  She did a lot for children and war veterans, so this may have been the site of a hospital. Even the excellent Hackney local history website did not explain it for me, however. 

We were interested to see Keltan House, part of Hackney College, where Ricky taught at the very start of his career.  On we went along Mare Street, passing St Joseph’s Hospice, one of the first, as well as The Last Tuesday Society, so much more than a shop. 

The next Borough is Tower Hamlets, and we passed Cambridge Heath Station and Old Ford Road to prove it.  The enormous building, once a town hall, labelled Viajante, proves to be a ‘restaurant set in the beautiful urban landscape of East London’.  Some things you do not need to invent.

The Tower Hamlets Labour Party  office is also along here, as is a historical plaque to commemorate the great boxer, Daniel Mendoza. Those of us who read Georgette Heyer recognise the name as the young heroes of her Regency stories were always going off to watch sparring matches.

Evidence of the increasing poshiness of the area came with a line of shops offering alternative therapies and herbal remedies of various kinds, alongside the London Buddhist Centre, and also with a number of hire bike racks more than half empty;  there were some charming and well maintained 19th century terraces.  But this is predominantly an area of public housing, much of it dating from the 1950s,  when the Luftwaffe had helpfully cleared the sites.  We did, however, notice more modern buildings, one with rather patriotic brickwork. For a while along Roman Road, we were alongside the Regent’s Canal, and then passed the Green Bridge at Mile End. 

I was also interested to notice a shop calling itself an ‘Off License’ with an ‘s’ having just finished reading David Crystal’s explanations of English spelling, and why the verb (as here) is spelt differently from the noun.

Grove Road, of course, takes you past the Blue Plaque commemorating the first V1 to hit London, 13 June 1944 – just as the population expected that the Normandy Landings meant that the Allies were winning at last. 

The bus had been very full for almost all the journey, with people standing, and young  mothers with buggies deciding to wait for the next one.   As Canary Wharf loomed over us, and we entered Poplar, the passengers began to get off, perhaps to go to Chrisp Street Market.  We came to a statue of Richard Green,  a local ship builder and philanthropist of the 19th century.  He was the son of George, also a ship builder, whose name lives on in one of the local schools.
We turned right to pass the handsome All Saints Church, and Ricky got into conversation with a knowledgeable local lady as we turned into Poplar High Street.

Now, as we headed down Preston Road, we were almost surrounded by water,  bordered more by flats than by maritime businesses, and turned into East Ferry Road to reach Crossharbour DLR station and superstore at 10.45, having gone North to South through the East End.

Given the heavy usage of the bus, we were surprised that it as a single decker, the more so as our other bus of the day, the next you will read about, was much less busy, and yet was a double decker.

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