12 May, 2012
Fulwell with trolley busses and Richmond Mayfair
I've heard people say that big red shiny things go down well on blogs (so to speak) so there's a treat in store for all today. I went to see the jubilee of the end of trolley busses at Fulwell Bus Garage. Trolley busses began in London in 1931 and finished in 1962. I don't know why they did. They were, and are, much more flexible than tramcars because they are not confined to rails and can manoeuver easily in traffic - in fact they behave just like a normal bus but very quiet and clean in operation. Even the unsightly wires seem not to be such a problem now because electric trains and trams are now built using these overhead things. I can remember TMT trolley busses as they were removed in 1971 predeceasing Bradford which closed in 1972. Getting off at Fulwell Station I didn't realise quite how many trolley (or just general) bus enthusiasts there were. It was like a rush hour crowd. The depot was very busy. This is London's last trolley bus. We were allowed to go inside to admire the moquette and read the notices etc. We were allowed to sit on the seats of the this bus and perhaps pretend we were going somewhere. This next bus dated from the early fifties and we were not allowed to sit on the seats of that one. That reminds me although I looked out for two bus enthusiasts that I know, they weren't there. Perhaps they came later on. Both busses seemed comfortable but photography was difficult with the crowds. We were not allowed onto the first trolley bus but it had a lovely half timbered or perhaps panneled staircase. The crowds were pressing so I decided to walk into Teddington for a wander round the shops. Back there again two weeks in a row! Teddington was fine. This time I crossed the bridge and went onto the river bank at Teddington Lock. 320m below the lock is the lower linit of the Thames Conservancy Commission who marked the end of their territory with an obelisk. I walked down the thames and came to Richmond via Petersham. The parson was plying his marriage trade at Petersham Church so couldn't go in to have a look but instead walked on and up through Richmond's terrace gardens. These were very pleasant although a little steep and approached via an underground passage that begins in a shell grotto. The shell motif is repeated in a small well, the remnants of Richmond's days as a spa. The notice said that the barrel shapes were cast from the barrels on board the Cutty Sark but I think this is doubtful. The Cutty sark was a tea clipper and tea comes in chests. After a short interlude in the Richmond Museum - now free (the last time I called it was £5 to get in!) I went to the Richmond May Fair. I suppose having mayfair on their doorstep helps RICHmond's residents feel at home. I had a scout hot dog and wandered round the stalls and roundabouts. I think it was a sort of breeders gay pride. Went home tired but happy and the only down side was the extortionate cost of transport. Now don't forget your 99 tea- it's the best you can get!