Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The P5 Route

Thursday 15 August 2013

When Linda and I penetrated the depths of the Patmore Estate, there appeared to be two P5s awaiting us; but one had broken down, and the other had just arrived as a replacement. The amiable driver let us on, which was kind, as Linda had hurt her knee climbing down the startlingly steep step off the train which had brought us to Queenstown Station. 

The bus starts in an area where light industry and storage meets housing. Linda and I remember when Aussie Man and Van was the small business its name implies!

At 11.42, we were off, heading for Elephant and Castle.  Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, as we headed in many different directions before arriving at E and C.  If Watson and Crick had used the P5, they would have been inspired to think of the Double Helix of DNA much more quickly.
 We wiggled through the Patmore Estate, passing Sir James Barrie School (I don’t think he ever came near this area, being a Kensington Gardens and Great Ormond Street person) We turned onto the Wandsworth High Road and now began to have some company on the bus.  A little collection of Portuguese and Brazilian eateries caught our eye before we turned right down Landsdowne Road.  We were not sure which way we were facing, so were pleased to reach the landmark of Stockwell’s fine bus garage (unlike this blogger we have never been inside it, though we have been into the Streatham garage). 

We noted with interest that there was a 24 bus parked in the garage.  Odd, because this is nowhere near either Pimlico or Hampstead, the ends of the route which boasts Boris’s vanity bus (nicknamed by Diamond Geezer -but use his index to find the post about the bus - ‘the Roastmaster’ for its failed, though very costly, cooling system)
 I mention the Mayor only because we were about to come to another failed vanity project, the so-called cycling superhighway 7, which, as you can see from the picture, provides a safe and uninterrupted route for cyclists (not).

 We liked the mother and child statue, which dates from 2008, and also paid our respects at Stockwell Station to the memory of Jean-Charles de Menezes, murdered by the Metropolitan Police.

Heading on towards Brixton, we came to the Acre Lane Almshouses, emblazoned with the words ‘built and endowed by Thomas Bailey’, and the date, 1822, and then we were passing Lambeth Town Hall to reach Windrush Square. 

As we negotiated the one way system, we could see signs of the changing population of the area, though there is still the Ultimate Jerk Centre as well.

Now we turned into the Loughborough Park estate and passed the Evelyn Grace Academy, with the amazing buildings designed by Zaha Hadid. I’m not able to discover who Evelyn Grace was, however.  The Loughborough Estate is run by the Guinness partnership and we continued through it to reach the Shakespeare Business Centre, clearly less prosperous than it once was.  

 This is the area where Oval Quarter is being built , a huge development though of course not owned by the public , unless the public are people who can afford a quarter of a million pounds for a one bedroom flat.  The building works meant our bus driver had to squeeze skilfully through very narrow spaces.  We came out into the Camberwell New Road, passing signs to the Blue Elephant Theatre

St Wilfrid’s is a Catholic Church, named for a British saint who was instrumental in ensuring that Christianity in Britain became Roman not Celtic.  

Turning left into the Walworth Road, we spied East Street Market, where Ed Milliband recently had an interaction with an egg.  But we also noticed the very up-the-road grocers,  G Baldwin and Co.
The building that houses Newington Library is part of a health centre complex that dates from the 1930s and shows it with a quote from Cicero above the entrance. 

Finally, we admired the new and improved road layout of Elephant and Castle’s complex junctions, and passed the Northern Line Station and the shopping area, to terminate at 12.30. 

This had been mainly a visit to the extensive and varied public housing (and ex-public housing) schemes from Wandsworth, through Lambeth and into Southwark.  It was like a history lesson about how politicians used to provide for the basic needs of the people.


  1. Great post! Before November 2012, Stockwell Bus Garage ran bus route 24, until they lost it to Metroline. But actually, you were one of the first people to see the Borismaster for route 11, which converts to NB4L operation next month on the 21st, not 24! :D Fab!

  2. Hi there, I work for Bradt Travel Guides and next month we are publishing a book on buses, Bus-Pass Britain Rides Again, would love to talk to you about it. Please contact me at hugh.collins@bradtguides.com


  3. Very much enjoyed the journey through Brixton where I grew up in the 1950s. Haven't been back for more than forty years so would hardly recognise the place. I used to catch the 2B bus outside the Astoria (Brixton Academy) to Dick Sheppard School on Tulse Hill.