diamond geezer

 Thursday, August 04, 2022


As well as visiting 1km×1km grid squares I've never visited before, I'm also visiting squares I've never set foot in. Usually I've been through them on a bus so they're not entirely unfamiliar, or I've been through on a train so have at least seen them from the window, but now finally I'm alighting to see what I've missed.

Back in June there were 60 such untrodden squares but a bit of judicious travelling has got that total down to 33. Occasionally I've blogged about them, like when I went to Hanworth, Tylers Common, Croham Hurst or to see the Havering Stone. But most of the time I haven't because they weren't that interesting, as I'm about to prove by telling you (briefly) about eight more of them. My apologies if you live in any of these squares because they're about to get really short narrative shrift.

TQ2899: Vault Hill (Enfield)
Where is it? Along The Ridgeway between Potters Bar and Botany Bay. (click on the map reference and have a look if you're really interested)
How had I been before? Aboard the 313 bus but I never got off. I once got off at the next stop, North Cottage Farm, because that's the northernmost bus stop in Greater London. But I felt bloody stupid this time dinging the bell to get off at 'Windrush' because that's a bus stop named after a single house called Windrush in the middle of nowhere, and I bet its owners drive everywhere anyway.
What's here? One road. A lot of fields (gorgeous rolling fields looking down across the valley of the Salmon's Brook towards the Trent Park obelisk). One private school in extensive grounds. Two unwelcoming farms. One outstandingly unwelcoming public footpath (leading to a footbridge over the M25).
What did I do here? Waited for the next 313 bus to take me away.

TQ5489: Ardleigh Green (Havering)
Where is it? East of Romford, south of Harold Wood.
How had I been before? Driving along the A127. Also aboard the 256 and 294 buses. The London Loop gets within 100m, but no cigar.
What's here? Deep outer suburban streets. At least five schools and colleges because land was once cheap.
What did I do here? Walked up the alley from Wingletye Lane, across Platford Green and up Birch Crescent, thinking "thank goodness I don't have to blog about this".

TQ5481: Wennington (Havering)
Where is it? Nearly, but not quite, in the village of Wennington.
How had I been before? Actually I'm not sure I had. Maybe it was properly unvisited. My bad.
What does Sophie think? She reckons a teensy sliver of the southeast corner of the grid square isn't in London which means I didn't need to visit, but I have anyway just to be sure.
What's here? A busy road. Half a Premier Inn. Half a farmhouse. The clubhouse of Ingrebourne Links Golf Course.
What did I do here? As little as possible before retreating back to Wennington proper.

TQ0781: Colham Green (Hillingdon)
Where is it? Between the Uxbridge Road and Stockley Country Park.
How had I been before? Aboard the A10, U1, U2, U3, U4, U5 and/or U7 buses (because this square is ridiculously well served), but the main stops at Hillingdon Hospital are fractionally outside. The London Loop gets within 200m, but no cigar.
What's here? I didn't stay long, it looked sort of residential and green but occasionally dual carriageway-ish. Colham Green has a long history so I might come back, but the point of this project is to set foot in the grid square not explore it to death.

Hang on in there, one of these grid squares will eventually be interesting.

TQ2167: New Malden (Kingston)
Where is it? Just south of the Fountain at New Malden, encompassing a bit of Motspur Park.
How had I been before? Aboard a 213, 265, K1, K5 or X26 bus.
What's here? I'm not really sure, it's like a black hole in my London knowledge. I think it's quite desirably residential but the A3 carves through and wrecks some of it.
What did I do here? Got off a bus outside the church, walked a few metres towards the roundabout and left the square.

TQ3667: Upper Elmers End (Bromley/Croydon)
Where is it? Between Elmers End and Eden Park stations, just north of Monks Orchard.
How had I been before? Aboard the 194, 356 or 358 buses, there being no reason to get off.
What's here? A school. A sports club. A railway. Elmers Bazaar. Auntie May's Chinese takeaway. Quintessential semis. Odd postwar flats. An impressively unappealing pub called The Orchard whose architect might have modelled it on a prison outbuilding.
What did I do here? Walked through to Shirley Oaks, because that was a properly unvisited square I intended to blog about, so I picked this one up as a bonus along the way.

TQ4763: Chelsfield (Bromley)
Where is it? Southeast of Orpington, sandwiched between Chelsfield station/Chelsfield village and the A21/ Pratts Bottom.
How had I been before? Only ever aboard a train, mostly in a long cutting and then a tunnel on the way to Sevenoaks, this being one of those rare London grid squares without a bus service.
What's here? Paddocks. Another golf course. An old house called Julian's Brimstone. Worlds End Lane. A lot of big characterful (some would say ostentatious) detached homes, each in its own precisely parcelled strip of land.
You promised something interesting? Court Lodge (in the northeast corner of the square) was once the home of a Mayor of London called Brass Crosby. His father was called Hercules Crosby, so you could argue he got off lightly. Brass was born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1725, studied law, moved to London and became Lord Mayor in 1770. The following year he was asked to rule on the case of a printer accused of publishing the content of Parliamentary debates, and let him off. The House was incensed and duly threw him into the Tower of London, but solidarity from the public and other judges got him out, and it's from his steadfast action that we get the phrase "bold as brass".
Are you sure? As with many phrases and sayings it's not 100% certain what the derivation of "bold as brass" really is, but it'd be nice if it was Brass Crosby. He's buried in the churchyard nextdoor.

Finally, let me update my graphic that shows you how many of London's 1km×1km grid squares I've been to.

Yellow means I've properly been, green that I've passed through in a vehicle, blue that I've only passed through in a train and red that I've never been. My home square is purple.

Jun 2022: 🟨=1386, 🟩=54, 🟦=6, 🟥=17 (map)
Aug 2022: 🟨=1422, 🟩=29, 🟦=4, 🟥=8  (map)

The greens may be stubborn but the reds are nearly cleared.

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