Kingston Hospital to Hook Library
Wednesday July 31 2013
Of the ladies who bus, only Jo cycles, Linda not being altogether reliable in traffic, so we had arrived at Kingston hospital, situated on a large block between Kingston Hill and Galsworthy Road, after both a train ride and the K1 into Cromwell Road bus station. We managed to get somewhat lost in the back buildings of the hospital which is a not unusual mixture of some new blocks like the William Rous building (erected in the memory of Sir William Rous, a former Quartermaster general and Chair of the Hospital) and the older crumblier looking buildings housing laundry and bloods and supplies... However, we emerged blinking at the front of the hospital, admiring its loos and logos, and climbed almost immediately onto the frequent single decker service of the K2 (not to be confused with the Himalayan peak of the same name).
After leaving the piecemeal hospital behind we turned right and back down the hill through Norbiton , passing its station and the usual shops which cluster round a commuter point. Of particular joy was ‘Woofs a Daisy’, a pet parlour, and that sustained us till we reached the familiar Kingston landmarks of the Tiffin School and Lovekyn Chapel, both of which have long histories detailed here for anyone who wants to walk 'Royal Kingston'. Though the seat of local kings such as Athelstan from the first Millenium it did not get its ‘Royal’ label until 1927. Having never really noticed before today we became aware of the town’s coat of arms – three fishes under a tun – and there were plentiful examples on buildings, street signs etc. Helpfully Kingston also tells you which part of the borough you are passing through on each road sign. After the less historic Fairfield Road Bus station we did the circuit of the shopping streets – those which are not pedestrianised – and came to the conclusion that, although like Hounslow Kingston has many through bus routes, a station and a modern shopping centre, it feels altogether more cohesive and less confusing.
Kingston University attained full University Status a mere 10 years ago but has really thrived in terms of student popularity and spreading campus buildings – it looks as though former empty office blocks have very usefully been taken over by different faculties. The other landmarks on this trip are Surrey County Hall and the Crown Court, which we had ample time to admire as the traffic slowed on our approach to the Surbiton roundabouts. Also the excellent roundabout art for which see the K1.
After the rather grander roads called ‘The Ridings’ where some spacious front gardens remained – we had a little spat about the relative virtues of choisiya bushes – it was all very much residential streets and then arriving in the smaller more concentrated homes of Berrylands, which sounds like the kind of name property developers would think up after too many drinks on a Friday night – however it is all quite genuine and named, as so often on these outer London trips, for a farm which once stood here. They have a station on a more major route than you might expect and there is a small parade of shops, the first since Surbiton’s thriving centre, and the now defunct ‘Berry ‘pub.