Wednesday 8 January 2014
Linda and I were delighted to be joined by Mary on today's outing, and we met at the handsome and interesting station at Leytonstone. Not only does it have really helpful notices to tell you how to get to your bus stop, but it also celebrates local hero Alfred Hitchcock with some wonderful mosaics, which would test the knowledge of any Hitchock fan, as you can see here.
But we had no time to examine them, as we needed to get to the W13, which would take us to Woodford Wells. We were on board by 10.10, at first with only one other passenger, but the bus filled up as we went through the high street's shops and businesses to cross the A12 at the huge Green Man Roundabout. There are lots of footpaths and so on underneath it, but it is a huge and depressing road. Once round the roundabout, we travelled alongside the main road, but not for long, as we were almost immediately into Wanstead. This is a palce with many marvellous shops and cafes, including 'The Delicataste' and a number of beauty shops at the herbal end of the spectrum. We were concerned that the Revive Dress Agency might have closed, but its website is still rather fine, so maybe the staff were having a day off.
Coming out of the town, we passed The Galleon and Heronwood Inpatient Facility (as the Care Quality Commission calls it, which is now a mental health and rehabilitation place. This does give me a chance to recommend one of the websites that we have found most useful and interesting over the life of the project, here explaining the history of this Victorian relic.
The area is mainly residential, with semis displaying a range of replacement windows, and other evidence of proprietorial care. We turned into George Lane, and passed the Railway Bell pub, to reach South Woodford Station. The bridge over the Central Line brought us to the shopping centre, and we were pleased to see the metal flowers in the middle of the traffic, which we had admired on our previous visit to these parts, together with the lovely glass arcading outside some of the houses
By the way, we passed two pie and eel shops on this trip, which we thought was a reminder that people who had 'made good' in the east end of London have always moved out to this part of Essex. They now of course also have a Waitrose....
We were very close to the M11 here, with huge roads acting as feeders. so it was refreshing to get back to the large green space, where there is a statue of Winston Churchill, who was, as you all know, MP for this area for many years. He did not of course live round here, preferring his house in Kent, but the calm prosperous feel of the area helps to explain his long tenure of the seat
So we carried on along the dual carriageway, with green either side of the road, to come to a stop outside St Thomas of Canterbury Church. He's an interesting saint for veneration in the Church of England, isn't he, since he allowed himself to be martyred to maintain the power of the Pope over the Church in England.
We were surprised that this was the end because we had thought the 'Wells' might indicate something less residential, perhaps more medicinal; but it turns out that the spa which flourished here in the 18th century is long gone.
It was 10.35, and, avoiding the school students, presumably moving sites between lessons, we crossed the busy road by an underpass to head towards our next bus. The sun was coming out and it was strangely mild and not at all windy, and we had enjoyed our tour of some of the classier parts of Redbridge.