Briefly in Edgware

Edgware is a district in the London Borough of Barnet. It is the terminus of one branch of the London Underground’s Northern Line. Its significance for me is that, some years ago, I worked for a while in Edgware public library while my home library, Hendon, was being refurbished. I have quite good memories of my time there but had not ever revisited the library. Today, I decided to do just that.

Angel Station
Angel Station

It’s possible to travel from the Angel to Edgware by bus but it’s rather a long journey – an hour or more. It’s much quicker by tube as there is a direct line straight there. I waited until after 9 am when I hoped the rush hour crush would have subsided and…

Not many people
Not many people

…as you can see, it had!

Down the long escalator
Down the long escalator

Two escalators lead down in the depths where the trains run. This is the first one and the longer of the two.

Aboard the train
Aboard the train

Lines like the Metropolitan and the Circle run larger trains but the Northern and other suburban lines run smaller trains. They can be uncomfortably packed at rush hour but there is no help for it: the trains already fit in the tunnels with only inches to spare and it would not be possible to replace them with larger trains.

Above ground
Above ground

The system is called the London Underground and much of it does indeed run in tunnels deeply below the streets but out in the suburbs, some lines break out into the open air and you suddenly have scenery to enjoy!

Greenery
Greenery

There are even stretches of what look suspiciously like green countryside. In some places I have even seen fields with cows in them.

Arriving at Edgware
Arriving at Edgware

Edgware Station has 3 platforms. Because it’s a terminus, trains come in and then have to go out again, reversing direction. (They have a driver’s cab at either end.) This means that you sometimes have to wait a while outside the station until a train leaves, making room for yours. It pays to be patient when travelling on London Transport!

Edgware Station
Edgware Station

Edgware Station is unusual in having a forecourt where vehicles can pull in to drop off people coming for the tube. Round the forecourt are cafes.

Broadwalk Centre
Broadwalk Centre

On leaving the station, I walked down the road to the shopping precinct called the Broadwalk Centre. This was not because I had any shopping to do nor because I had the least curiosity to see the place. Why, then?

Inside the Broadwalk
Inside the Broadwalk

Well, because I have found that when away from home it’s a good idea to make sure you know where to find a toilet. Local councils have been closing public toilets everywhere to save money and they are now virtually non-existent. You may have to find a cafe or coffee shop and buy a coffee to be able use their “Customers Only” toilets. The Broadwalk does indeed have a toilet.

Station Road
Station Road

The thoroughfare in which the station resides is called, quite reasonably, Station Road. It is a busy shopping street and I was interested to see whether any of the shops and cafes I knew from my time here were still open. The answer is no: I did not recognise a single one. But, then, 18 years is quite a long time and business spring up and die like mayflies.

The Library
The Library

Station Road leads into Hale Lane and that is where to library is – assuming it’s still there. The library is set back from the road and not visible until you reach it and I was beginning to wonder whether it would still be there. Local councils have been closing libraries or repurposing them so anything was possible.

Phew! It was still there. The door bore a notice reading “Automatic Door”. I approached but nothing happened. Was the library closed? As I turned to leave, the door opened. A member of staff has pressed to button to open it.

I went in and explained that I worked here long ago and had come to take a look. I was told I was welcome. The library is now “self-service” with a minimum of staff. (I saw only two.)

I walked round, almost wishing I hadn’t come. The rooms were all there and there were people sitting using the computers but the place looked different: quiet and unlike the busy library that I worked in. There were fewer bookshelves and this was particularly noticeable in the children’s library which used to be full of shelves and now just has a few small ones dotted here and there.

Do I wish I had not come? Yes and no, but one thing is certain: I will not be coming back. The clash of present reality with memories of happier days is just too sad.

Crossroads
Crossroads

Heading for the station, I stopped to take this photo of the crossroads. Station Road is on the left, Hale Lane and the library to the right. I passed this way many times when I was on the staff at the library.

Back to the station
Back to the station

I went straight back to the station. I did not hurry but neither did I dawdle. There was nothing here to detain me.

Aboard the train
Aboard the train

I checked the train display and found that the next train for the Angel was in platform 2. I went down and found a seat.

Others joined me
Others joined me

Other passengers soon joined me though the train was not at all crowded. Then…

Off we go!
Off we go!

…off we went, down the metal road to the Angel.

Life is change and nothing remains the same. We can revisit a place but not a past time. Time rushes on, carrying us further and further from what we remember, just as the train now carried me further and further away from Edgware.

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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