The Number 60 Route

Friday 4 October 2019
This was a pleasant South London trip; the route has a surprisingly low number for something that gets no closer to the middle of London than Streatham.  Reaching its head stop required trains and other buses, including a brief trip on the 60 to get to the end/beginning.  The kind driver let us remain on board for the five minute turn around break at the Tudor Rose in Old Cousldon, which was pleasant as the rain had begun and the bus shelter was full.

We set off at 10.45, to pass the handsome and modern Coulsdon 6th Form College, and head steeply down hill along Tollers Lane.  We noticed that the bungalows were cleverly designed, with the 'downhill' one of each pair having a garage underneath, while the 'uphill' halves had their garage on the level. 

We came to the Coulsdon Memorial Ground, but thought that the bowling green looked to have rather a challenging and uneven surface.  Possibly people no longer play bowls around here.


Coulsdon South Station is surrounded by recently built apartments, mostly new since we were last this way.  It's quite a good place to commute from, since trains these days go to both London Bridge and St Pancras

We noted the cycle shop near Coulsdon library:  the sort of hill we had come down makes an electric bike look rather a good idea.  We also admired Coulsdon's large Methodist church with its uneven looking tower.  

Now we headed straight along the A23, with residential properties on either side.  Most of them had large front gardens, depressingly turned into car parking spaces, though some had at least got smartly trimmed hedges.  I think it was P G Wodehouse who once referred to something as being 'straight as a privet hedge in Purley'.

We passed apartment blocks where (we thought from our youth) Purley Cinema and its Orchid Ballroom used to be.  Croydon, like many other boroughs, has adopted banners proclaiming the delights of the place.  Whatever we think of straplines like 'safe in Purley', we did approve of the borough flowers on the street barriers

As we came into South Croydon, we noted that the Earl of Eldon had gone the way of so many pubs, but the property (or space for apartments) had not yet been sold. We thought at first that the Swan and Sugarloaf, a bus stop as well as a pub, had survived, but no: it is now a Tesco.

We passed 'Wandle Apartments' which may, for all we know offer riverside living.  And now we were into Croydon, interesting in many ways:  the attractive pedestrian crossing; the huge amount of street art of various kinds, both formal and informal;  and the fact that former offices were now becoming flats.

Opposite the Clock Tower Museum (the bus stop was called 'Croydon Library, but we know better...) there is a large hole in the ground.  It is being cleared by John F Hunt, whose website says
Queens Square, Croydon – a major asbestos removal and demolition project on behalf of R&F Properties at their Queens Square mixed use scheme in the heart of Croydon. The scheme comprises the demolition of 4 commercial blocks and associated ground clearance with a value of circa £9m due for completion Q3 this year.
And this appears to be what will be going up instead.

We travelled on to admire the little pedestrian area in the centre of the scary dual carriage way by Croydon College and the Fairfield Halls, and came to a small gym where the art work appeared to be tiles, not paint.
As we passed West Croydon Bus Station, we saw that the force was gathering for some bus fare inspections:  not our bus, though.  It's a good interchange, with the Overground, the trams and the buses all in close proximity.

The next place you go through used to be called Thornton Heath, but it seems to have been rebranded as Broad Green, Historic Village, for reasons which are explained here.

As we headed on, we saw a EuroLoos van displaying the sense of entitlement from which drivers of motorised vehicles seem to suffer:  double yellow line? so? Cycle lane? who cares?

More enjoyable were the ladies in the fountains outside the hotel we passed: presumably they were in cages to protect them from unwanted attentions and litter.
What we used to know as the Mayday Hospital has been renamed 'Croydon University Hospital' which is probably sensible.  The nearby Saints and Sinners Pub seemed to be alive and well.

Once we had passed the Thornton Heath Pond roundabout, we were quickly into Merton, passing both the Library and the densely packed graveyard, before moving swiftly into Lambeth, our third borough of the ride.
As we came along the Streatham High Road, we were startled by a brightly ornamented pub called 'The Rabbit Hole'. And we were right to be amazed:  the former Greyhound Pub has been themed as an Alice place!

But we were nearly at the end of our journey.  Thank heavens for bus lanes, I thought, as we moved past stationary traffic to reached Streatham Hill Station at 11.55

The Number 60 Route