Stratford City Bus Station to Crossharbour (Asda)
Wednesday October 31st 2012
We had some fun finding the start of this route: we had expected to locate it at Stratford Bus Station – indeed there were several posters indicating it should start from Bus Stand C – but there was no sign of it on the stand nor any whisker of a time-table (bit late in the day, but we wanted to check frequency and length of trip) As you might expect there is an information kiosk and the operative told us
- the D8 leaves from Stratford City Bus Station – altogether a different beast, up and over the railway and nestling up against the side of Westfield and
- Yes the posters were wrong and they were waiting for new ones post-Olympics.
We thanked him and gave him a card and took a little walk over and into Westfield to use their facilities before finding the small bus that is the D8. It actually does not stop until Abbey Lane, by which time it had taken us on a ‘nostalgic’ tour of the Orbit and the Aquatic Centre still sporting its wings. .
Just before the notorious (for danger to cyclists) Bow Roundabout we crossed the Three Mills Wall River and Bow Creek which sort of join up, and there was also a sign to the Three Mills Heritage Centre
Though as we travelled this route on Halloween this might be a more appropriate tour.
Once past Bow Church Station we headed left down Campbell Road, and essentially this route is very much that of the Stratford to Lewisham section of the DLR. En route we passed Langdon Park station and exclaimed in unison that we had never heard of it: well, it transpires it only opened in late 2007.
I had assumed that the Colman’s Wharf we passed might have something to do with the mustard people (though they are based near Norwich) but this site explains that the erstwhile factory produced dog biscuits!
This led me to remember their charming scottie-dog shaped logo (though that would not have been the word they used), but the website surrounds it with such ferocious warnings about copyright etc that I shan’t risk copying it here, so no free advertising for them…
Bow merges into Poplar and while there are remnants of the old Docklands area, especially in the very evocative street names, little of the pre-war landscape is visible to the passing bus tourist. The area is still densely populated with solid housing both sides of the road, but the Poplar of ‘Call the Midwife’ is long gone. Remnants of an older era include the Poplar Boys' Club (foundation stone laid 1965) and now inclusive of girls also. Nearby is the Chrisp Street Market, which bills itself as the first pedestrianised shopping area in the UK (rebuilt 1951 on the previous Victorian site)
All Saints Church seems to have survived Luftwaffe bombs and stands rather elegantly as a reminder of the wealth of the East and West India dock companies who sponsored its building .
Here are some better pictures than those we managed.
We had also on our trip crossed the Limehouse Cut and from the beginning this was a very watery journey – on the day when most of New York had ground to a halt because of catastrophic floods brought on by a surging storm the amount of water here led one to think whether London could ever be in a similar position – would the Thames Barrier hold?
Where there is water there may be fish and sure enough we were about to pass Billingsgate Market, still maintained by the Corporation of London though no longer within its boundaries. It has been here 30 years so hardly counts as new.
As we know from our previous number routes, to enter the whole Canary Wharf / Canada Square business area by vehicle you need to pass through a security barrier – not a problem for the buses. After glimpsing the full width of the River Thames from Westferry Circus we moved swiftly through the business district with few takers for the bus and exited along Marsh Wall into where housing takes over from offices, though some less prestigious places were available to rent.
More water in the shape of Millwall Outer Dock was attractively apparent as we continued to follow the line of the DLR, passing Crossharbour and coming to a halt at the bus area of the massive Asda . This watery and historic, though very 21st century, trip and had taken us from the Olympic Site through the Isle of Dogs to nearly the Southernmost tip of North London in half an hour of well manoeuvred driving through a positive web of narrow streets.