Monday, 1 June 2015


We know that 29 is a "prime number"; it can only be divided by 1 and 29 without remainder. But, according to Wikipedia, it is also a Sophie Germain prime.

In number theory, a prime number p is a Sophie Germain prime if 2p + 1 is also prime. The number 2p + 1 associated with a Sophie Germain prime is called a safe prime. For example, 29 is a Sophie Germain prime and 2 × 29 + 1 = 59 is its associated safe prime. Sophie Germain primes are named after French mathematician Sophie Germain (1776 to 1831) ...

... who used them in her investigations of Fermat's Last Theorem. Sophie Germain primes and safe primes have applications in public key cryptography and primality testing. It has been conjectured that there are infinitely many Sophie Germain primes, but this remains unproven.

So now you know!

29 is/was the number of the bus route between Leicester and Coalville, passing close by the Groby ("oo" not "oh") home of David, our Leicester correspondent. Of course, historically, this was Midland Red territory.
David writes:-

I don't have any Midland Red timetables. It is only my memory. I used to catch the 0900 665 from Coalville (off map, top left) on Saturdays which got into St Margaret's bus station about 0940. It was very exciting. There was a 667 which caught us up from Ashby, if I remember aright; a 670 used to join us at Bardon from Heather; a bus from Groby joined us at Groby, and another at Glenfield Turn from Anstey. It was a real convoy, overtaking each other to pick up. Those were the days. (click on the map for an enlargement)

There might even have been a Brown's Blue from Whitwick (off map, top left) joining at The Flying Horse.

That was prior to a day serving at my father's stall in Leicester market. I often caught the 668 back, which went through to Burton. But none of these Markfield, Bardon & Whitwick wiggles in those days. The buses were usually pretty full.

Browns Blue was taken over by Midland Red  and (we think!) their route "back way" from Markfield was numbered 669.
By year 2000, Midland Red had been split up and Leicester's Midland Fox was part of the Arriva empire, now, ludicrously, owned by Germany's (nationalised) railway operator; from privatisation back to nationalisation in less than thirty years.

A year before the mathematically correct millennium**, services were routes 117 and 118 as in this Great Britain Bus Timetable extract.
Through buses continued to Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Swadlincote, but not as far as Burton-on-Trent.

The core service pattern remained unchanged but renumbered as Arriva tidied up their publicity and presentation. Services from Leicester St Margarets bus station ...
... via Groby Road were:-

 26  Ellistown : Coalville

 27  Ratby

 28  Groby estates

 29  Markfield : Coalville direct

 29A  Markfield : Whitwick : Coalville

And, in a way, they still are. 
But route 29 has disappeared and a new 29X pops up.

As an aside, mention must be made of the historic destination of Whitwick "Dumps" ...
... at the north western edge of the village cenre. The ever reliable Wikipedia tells us...

Equally obscure is the origin of the name 'Dumps Road', an incline forming part of a staggered cross-roads at the northern end of the village. Many theories have been expounded to account for its origin, one being that the houses built on the right hand side after the old railway bridge ...
... were constructed on the site of the old 'Dumblies' pig farm.

Sheila Smith, in her 1984 history of Whitwick suggests that the name may be linked to framework knitting as in 1845 one Joseph Sheffield, giving evidence before the Commission into the plight of the framework knitters, makes reference to a type of stocking called 'dumps'.

... that nobody really knows! Weirdly the continuation of Dumps Road is called ...
... City of Three Waters!

A popular affirmation is that the village of Whitwick contains three 'cities'. The City of Three Waters and the City of Dan are official postal addresses, situated respectively at the foot of Dumps Hill and Leicester Road. Over the years, there have been many contenders for the location of the 'third city', the most popular being The City of Hockley - an area located midway between the Cities of Three Waters and Dan, close to the parish church. This latter appellationid denied by older Whitwickians!

So back to reality!

26, 27 and 28 are largely unaltered, so our investigations must centre on the 29 changes.

** The third millennium (i.e. 1000 years) began on January 1st 2001, not 2000 as universally celebrated. There never was a year 0; hence the first millennium started (theoretically at least) on 1st January in year 1. fbb did have a celebratory bevvy before retiring to his bed at 2230 on 31st December year 2000.

 Next 29 blog :Tuesday 2nd June 


  1. David was right; in 1969 the 665 (as with the similarly routed 667, 668 and 669) was timed at 40 minutes from Coalville to Leicester, but 45 minutes was allowed in the reverse direction. The timetable was rather complicated and on the basic Monday to Friday pattern the 665 and the 667/668/669 were each two-hourly, combining to give a half-hourly Coalville- Leicester service. Whereas the 665 ran Coalville - Leicester only, the 667-669 all continued beyond Coalville to/from Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and the 668 beyond Ashby to Burton-on-Trent, providing a two-hourly Leicester - Burton link. The Saturday and Sunday patterns were different again, but even on Mondays to Fridays there were so many variations that it wasn't possible to show a clock-face summary. RLT