Monday 4 March 2013

24 - 4

The significance of 24
Like Sheffield's route 51, subject of a series of blogs last month, London has a route that has celebrated 100 years and is equally unchanged.

In contrast to some routes which seem to change every few years the 24 is one of the most stable routes in London. It started as Hampstead Heath to Victoria on 5th May 1910, and was extended to Pimlico on 19th August 1912. It has run between the same two terminals by the same route ever since, give or take a couple of one-way systems and a slight change to the terminal working at Pimlico.

Starting in the North, its Hampstead Heath terminus is at a leafy South End Green ...
... which lies at the southernmost tip of "the Heath." This terminus is a couple of minutes walk from Hampstead Heath station, now splendidly poshed-up as part of Boris's Overground.
The Heath first entered the history books in 986 when Ethelred the Unready granted one of his servants five hides of land at "Hemstede". This same land is later recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as held by the monastery of St. Peter's at Westminster Abbey, and by then is known as the "Manor of Hampstead". Westminster held the land until 1133 when control of part of the manor was released to one Richard de Balta; then during Henry II's reign the whole of the manor became privately owned by Alexander de Barentyn, the King's butler. Manorial rights to the land remained in private hands until the 1940s when they lapsed under Sir Spencer Pocklington Maryon Wilson.
But the Heath has remained mainly common land, i.e available for the "common people" of the area. The main part of the Heath was acquired for the people by the Metropolitan Board of Works. Parliament Hill was purchased for the public for £300,000 and added to the park in 1888. Golders Hill was added in 1898 and Kenwood House and grounds were added in 1928.
route 24 map

The route then proceeds down Malden Road to Camden Town, seen here in the throes of another traffic management scheme.
Our 24 continues southbound, passing Mornington Crescent Underground station, ...
... eponymous inspiration for the well-loved and well-understood (?) game on Radio 4's "I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue", formerly chaired by the late Humphrey Lyttleton.(usual warning; don't try to listen if your broad band isn't!)

Mornington Crescent is a London Underground station in Camden Town in north west London, named after the nearby street. The station is on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line, between Euston and Camden Town. The station was opened as part of the original route of the Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway (now the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line) on 22 June 1907. Prior to the station's opening, the name of "Seymour Street" had been proposed. After opening, it was little used, and for many years it was open only on weekdays, and before 1966, Edgware-bound trains passed through without stopping.
The station was closed for much of the 1990s for refurbishment which was sensibly compketed in a style similar to the 1907 original. Even the tiled names were retained.
The station hosts a plaque to the late Willie Rushton, cricketer, satirist and acclaimed expert at this particular segment of the radio show.
Bus route 24 crosses Euston Road at the complex Euston Square and Warren Street junction, just to the west of Euston main line station.
Here it enters the Congestion Charge area and we hop off the bus until tomorrow's blog.

fbb is sure that his readers will be utterly thrilled to learn that, in her long-distant youth, the future Mrs fbb used to catch the service 24 from South End Green to central London. This was before she met fbb and their romance blossomed. Aaaah!

But she did enjoy the clip clop of the horses as they clattered through Camden!

 More 24 tomorrow : Tuesday 5th March 


  1. "But she did enjoy the clip clop of the horses as they clattered through Camden!"

    I'll miss your blogs, fbb. And I'm sure the judge will be lenient on Mrs fbb.

  2. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.
    House Extension in Pimlico