Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The H22 Route

Hounslow (The Bell) to Manor Circus (Sheen)
Thursday June 27th  2013

H is for Hounslow – again, and again we, that is Jo and I, had some difficulty locating the start of the route.  We spotted the H22 resting so asked its driver where we might board (he could have taken pity on us and let us on there and then) but  he waved in a  left handed sort of fashion. We passed ‘The Bell’ pub after which this bit of Hounslow is named, and then fell onto a further clutch of bus stops: ours was opposite the ‘Budget Ibis’ (ouch: the ordinary ones are budget enough I thought) and spent a happy 10 minutes watching doubtless jet-lagged travellers wheeling their luggage into the hotel while a constant stream of planes passed overhead. We had been in Hounslow last week so you would have thought no excuse for being confused but it is a real bus hub and the bus station (which could solve all our problems) is off limits to bus users. By the way, in case anyone wonders whether we will be riding the N for Night buses I refer you to the BBC 2 documentary called ‘The Route Masters’ – I suppose the night drivers have (slightly) less traffic to deal with but this is more than compensated by the number of night life passengers they get to meet…

Off we set past the Treaty Centre and the afore-mentioned bus station and out towards Whitton. There are in fact two routes which go from Hounslow to Richmond, but they go very separate ways, this one taking a significant dog-leg through both Whitton and later Twickenham.   It was also a popular route, filling up steadily all the way along. After the Clock Tower Industrial Estate there are several terraces of smaller and older cottages, which remain from the era before the inter and post war expansions of residential housing.  Reapers Way sounds quite countrified and the area’s most famous resident was probably Sir Godfrey  Kneller, the 18th century painter after whom several streets are named, and Kneller Hall, which is not on this route. The Lord Nelson pub however still has its rather good and garish pub front sculpture looking for all the world like a ship’s figurehead.   The website boasts of its proximity to the Rugby Stadium but remains silent as to its origins. What looked like a village sweet shop turned out to be the Hollygrove Flooring Company.  Whitton also has a charity shop whose name we had not seen before = The Kathryn Turner Trust.  

By now the H22 was servicing another slice of the Ivybridge area, with its more dense housing, so it was not altogether surprising that   there was not only a newish school, the Twickenham Academy, but also a modern looking Health and Social care centre. 
Staines Road has two nurseries (the children as opposed to the plant variety) called Tic Tocs and Teddies leading one to speculate about Twickenham tongue twisters?

Twickenham Town as opposed to the Rugby Stadium has quite a lively High Street; for some reason our previous routes through here had all been close to Christmas when the shops have little trees poking out at odd angles; to fit the season this time there were some attempts at hanging baskets but this seemed less co-ordinated than their winter efforts. Twickenham Green had signs of hosting cricket matches and the Sainsbury’s windows, which overlook the Green, pick out bits of local history.
The Prince Blucher pub reminds us that the Duke of Wellington would not have achieved his Waterloo success without some help from the Germans.

The Alternative Paint Company seemed an odd choice of name – but as Jo correctly guessed it is rather upmarket offering all those ‘heritage ‘ brands. Having spent the weekend deep in Sugar Soap and Dulux Vinyl Gloss I would go for any brand that does not give me a raging headache. 

St Margaret’s is almost a suburb of Richmond but as such is only served by the H buses, and the H22 does not even pass the quiet station for this area of London.
Rather tantalisingly this is a route which flirts with the River Crane in its early passage and on this its last run into Richmond passes really quite close to Teddington Lock and the Thames, but you really would not know this from the road, so after just glimpsing Marble Hill House through the trees it can come as a surprise when you sail across Richmond Bridge. We had passed this way last week and for no very good reason there was much slower traffic through the Quadrant and High Street, which plays host to far more bus routes than there is really room for.

Richmond Station is fairly unlovely; it seems to have a Thirties frame with a later 'canopy'  but does have excellent connections, so we are always pleased to pass through. 

This route, like quite a few, passes beyond Richmond Town Centre and out to the Manor Circus Roundabout where there is more space for several routes to have a break before turning round. Covering this stretch of SW London took just over 40 minutes.


  1. A few comments on my local route:
    H22 does not serve Clock Tower Industrial Estate or Ivybridge, these are both on the H20. Hollygrove Flooring Company are based on a former chapel!
    Whitton has a few Nelson connections, Nelson Road, Admiral Nelson Pub, Nelson School & Collingwood Close. Never been able to find out what the conection was.
    Twickenham Acadamy replaced the more accurately named Whitton School, in 2010. The school has been rebuild on the same site, whilst still in use. The building is due to open on Tuesday 8th July, 3 months late. The pupils will be able to move out of the temporary classrooms, or 'Learning Villages' as the school call them.

  2. It is my understanding that there is a link between Nelson's family and Sir John Suckling who lived in Whitton, hence the names of the roads. Sir John Suckling, a poet devised the game of cribbage.

    Also, the H22 goes no where near Teddington Lock, for this one has to travel on 281 bus from Whitton or 285 from Heathrow airport. The H22 passes Whitton station, a very busy station on the Windsor to Waterloo line, one can set watches by the commuters.