diamond geezer

 Saturday, December 03, 2005

Prime Movers
Route 5: Canning Town - Becontree Heath
Location: London east, outer
Length of journey: 8 miles, 65 minutes

Every bus with a route number below 20 runs through central London... except for 5. This wasn't always the case. Route 5 used to run from Bloomsbury to Barking, inaugurated as part of the great Trolleybus Replacement Programme of 1959. But the West End terminus was cut back to the East End in 1990 and now the 5 is a very ordinary suburban bus, its route divided between two very different boroughs and two very different East Londons.

First half: Things to see in the London Borough of Newham
Canning Town: a big shiny bus station (pictured), the start of the new DLR City Airport extension (opened 5pm yesterday), poor people, very poor people, very poor people smoking, barely a white face, wrinkled grannies pulling baskets on wheels, two girls with giant hoop earrings wearing pink anoraks with furry hoods, Rathbone Market (a nasty 60s construction of lowbrow tack-stalls and minging pound shops).
Plaistow: a pre-teen posse bounding loudly onto the top deck, shops selling colourful plastic sink drainers for £1 or less, a growling thug taking his muzzled pitbull for a walk, 6 Carlings for £5, a yellow Police board propped up against a lamppost ("Can You Help?" "Murder" "...fatally stabbed in a red Nissan"), deprived housing, traffic jams, A Spittle (Florist, now boarded up).
Upton Park: bookies, kebabs, shops painted in claret and blue, two boys in Santa hats covering the base of the Bobby Moore World Cup statue with spray string, Nathan's Pie & Eel shop, a 3 screen cinema (1 Hollywood, 2 Bollywood), inconsiderate drivers blocking bus lanes, claret and blue plastic seats in the West Ham grandstand.
East Ham: net curtains behind condensation-soaked window panes, hoodies, a very ordinary-looking mosque ("all visitors are politely requested not to congregate outside the vicinity of the mosque. Asslamu Alaykum!!"), East Ham Market Hall, flats with pink doors, local residents all clothed by market and discount warehouse, Newham Town Hall, brown, grey, black.

the North Circular
the River Roding

Second half: Things to see in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
Barking: green, a giant roundabout, Wickes, Abbey Green, Barking Abbey (ruins), Barking Town Centre, two thirds of the passengers alighting, a bustling street market, non-Persian carpets for sale, a bandstand, old ladies admiring artistic icing in the window of Cake Express, poor people, poor people reading the Daily Star, a shrivelled bloke hobbling home.
Fair Cross: a big park, giant ornate villas, a whelk stall, Barking bus garage, a giant shaven-headed hulk in a vest (almost certainly on steroids), leafy avenues, the University of East London, redbrick, displaced Cockneys, publessness, row after row of identikit semis.
Becontree: row after row of identikit council semis, families lugging big boxes home from the shops, cars, parked cars, old cars sunk into unmowed front lawns, barely a black face, barely a brown face, pebbledash, stonecladding, superstores, teenage cliques in navy and grey sportswear, bleached blondes, the chav cliché lives.
Becontree Heath: a tiny desolate bus station centred round a brick shed beneath a pair of tower blocks (pictured), a London Transport roundel on a spike, Barking and Dagenham Civic Centre, flat grass, "dreary, depressing, miserable, unlovely, intimidating, grey, windswept, bleak, bland, decaying, unloved and thoroughly nasty".

5 links
Route 5: anorak-level route information
Route 5: timetable
Route 5: anorak-level bus information

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream