Monday, 19 November 2018

The Number 10 Route

Thursday 15 November 2018

The Number 10 kind of encapsulates my time living in London.  When we first arrived, it ran from Hammersmith to Archway, unless we really wanted a ride up the hill of York Way, in which case it could be relied upon to terminate at King's Cross.  Then that end point became official, but the splendid 390 went up to Archway instead.  And now the Number 10 is over.  From Friday 23rd, it will be a former bus:  all part of the plan (to save money, said a driver I spoke to) to reduce the number of buses along Oxford Street.

So anyway, we picked it up in Wharfdale Road, at 10.20, and turned down into the end of Caledonian Road, to emerge onto the Euston Road and pass King's Cross, and St Pancras. Separate stations demonstrate the fact that private companies each built and ran their own railways, just as the fact of all the stations lining the North of the Euston Road show the power of the noble landlords (Dukes of Bedford and Westminster) who did not want railways on their lands.

Then comes the British Library, with a very interesting exhibition about the Anglo-Saxons at the moment, and then the former Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital (now a Trade Union HQ) and, on the other side of the road the 'new' St Pancras Church, which superseded the 'old' one, where Thomas Hardy was employed to oversee the removal of graves to make room for the railway.
We turned left down Woburn Place (in the olden days, the 10 used Gower Street as the 390 does now) and were trapped in very heavy traffic, but happily the route turns right at Russell Square, to pass the British Museum, before rejoining its old route in New Oxford Street for the long slow trundle to Marble Arch.

The smart new entrances to Tottenham Court Road Station are looking very busy already.  Apparently, once the Elizabeth Line opens, the expected footfall will be greater than Heathrow Terminal 5.

We did not think much of the Christmas Decorations (OX ST? Why?) but it did not take as long as we expected to get to Selfridges, and then the left turn into Park Lane.

The massed cyclamens outside the Dorchester caught our eye, as did a notice close to the southern end of Park Lane.  It actually refers to a plan by the Italian artists Matt Marga to use 1 million crystals to make a head of the Queen.  I am sure Linda and I will be passing this way again and so will be able to comment on it.  At this instant, my mind is boggling.

I have always loved the war memorials at Hyde Park Corner:  the simple angled poles of the New Zealanders; the wall of home towns spelling out the battle fields where the Australians fought; the cheeky Machine Gunners' statue of David (Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands) which so annoyed other branches of the army; the fine artillery memorial and of course the Iron Duke himself, or at least his arch.

Then we headed along into Kensington, with Hyde Park looking autumnal and lovely on the right.  At the end of Exhibition Road, the Royal Geographical Society has a statue of David Livingstone in a niche, reminding us that exploring was often done by missionaries in the 19th century. We passed the Albert Memorial, as well as the Polish Museum, both placed we had enjoyed during our museum project. We also noted that there are 'works' going on at the Albert Hall.

After these handsome buildings, one does not have to be the Prince of Wales to find the Royal garden Hotel absolutely hideous, but by then we were in amongst smart shops and restaurants, some with beautiful plantings, though some with plastic wisteria or amazing baubles for Christmas.

At Kensington Olympia, they were holding the European Pizza and Pasta Show, but we did not leap off the bus to experience it, which is as well as it proves to be a trade show, rather than an eatathon.

Even here, in smart Kensington, there was masses of building going on.  Soon we were on the outskirts of Hammersmith, where parts of St Paul's School have become a hotel, and where we enjoyed a glimpse of the attractive parish church of St Mary's West Kensington

The bus station is at the eastern end of Hammersmith, so we did not need to grapple with the difficult traffic there before rolling up onto the top level and climbing off, with barely a minute before our next bus departed. Ninety minutes to cross from on side of central London to the other is not bad in  today's  traffic conditions.


  1. Lucky you got this out of the way, the 10 is being withdrawn this Saturday.

  2. The 10 was withdrawn on 24 November 2018. It now should say the The Number 10 Route (Not). The 10 was replaced by the 23 from Marble Arch to Hammersmith, and the 14 is proposed to extend to replace another portion of the 10.