Long bus ride to Ilford


Today Tigger has a day off and as the weather seems better, we thought we might go on an outing. But first, Tigger had a ticket giving a 25% reduction on breakfast at Giraffe, so, of course, we just had to try it out!

We walked to the branch in Essex Road, passing Islington Green with its “doughnut” war memorial which has proved somewhat controversial, some people feeling that it doesn’t look like a war memorial. Personally, I don’t think it looks like anything at all.

Islington Green and the controversial war memorial seen from Essex Road
Islington Green and the controversial war memorial seen from Essex Road

Gaskin/Church Street
Gaskin or Church St

We had a very good breakfast, enough to see us through to supper tonight. I needed to pick up a parcel at the sorting office in Almeida Street so we walked up through what is now called Gaskin Street but, according to remaining traces of its old name, must once have been called Church Street. I don’t know why the name has been changed because the church in question – St Mary’s – is still there. It was the first church in London to be bombed during WWII but was rebuilt.

The graveyard, as is often the case in old urban churches, has been landscaped as a public garden, and very pleasant it is too, especially on a sunny day like today.

St Mary's Church Garden
St Mary’s Church Garden

After collecting my parcel (fortunately a small one, as I was going to have to carry it around with me), we caught a bus to town. Looking for our next bus, we walked through the Royal Exchange. It is now a centre for “Luxury Shopping” (not for us, then) and though we were tempted by the “Grand Café and Bar”, we didn’t tarry. Well, only long enough to take a photo or two. It’s a rather magnificent place.

The Royal Exchange as it now is
The Royal Exchange as it now is

We found the bus we wanted and climbed aboard. Tigger’s intention was to visit Ilford. It turned out to be rather a long journey on a crowded couple of buses and it literally had me falling asleep where I sat. We eventually arrived to my relief, and took a look around.

Ilford (well, a bit of it)
Ilford (well, a bit of it)

Ilford has a town hall, called Redbridge Town Hall. It was too long to get the whole façade in the picture without serious distortion, so here is the entrance to give you an idea of it.

Town Hall entrance
Town Hall entrance

It also has a public library that includes a museum. “Aha!” we said, “A museum!” Quite. But unfortunately, the museum is closed on Mondays. We were sufficiently taken by the library to enquire when it had been built but if anyone knows, they’re not saying. I have sent an enquiry by email in the hope of finding out.

How’s that for a coincidence: just as I was writing the lines above, an answering email arrived! It says “The Ilford Central Library was officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester on Tuesday, 25th February, 1986”. So now we know!

Ilford Central Library
Ilford Central Library (opened 1986)

There’s not a lot more to be said about Ilford, as far as I can see, so we had a cup of coffee and started back. The return journey was as long as the journey to get there, of course, and the bus was uncomfortably crowded until we reached central London.

Back on our home turf, we went for coffee at the Tinderbox cafe which has this rather hypnotic lamp on the staircase.

Staircase lamp, Tinderbox Cafe
Staircase lamp, Tinderbox Cafe

You may think that was enough wandering for one day but Tigger suddenly decided she wanted to look at a particular shop. Nothing odd about that, but the shop happened to be in Archway. So thither we went by means of the 43 bus.

The famous road bridge, Archway
The famous road bridge, Archway

Archway is named after, and is famous for, the road bridge that was opened in 1900. It is a stout piece of Victorian engineering and, I think, visually pleasing. Unfortunately, the rest of Archway is not of the same quality, architecturally speaking. Its other landmark is the Archway Tower.

The Archway Tower
The Archway Tower

I understand that the council has plans to demolish this monstrosity but that the operation is being hampered by its cost. You have to wonder how anyone could, firstly, design such an eyesore and, secondly, agree to have it built. Its simple removal will improve the environment no end.

Well, that was the end of our wanderings for today, and we returned home to the welcoming aroma from our slow cooker, the first time we have used it this autumn. Its use marks the change from summer to winter as surely as do the shortening days and the clocks going back.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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