I’m Amy. This blog is about the 213 bus route. I probably spend about 1.5-2 hours a day on this bus going between Worcester Park (where I live) and Kingston (where I study and work). I like eavesdropping on conversations (sometimes people talk so loud you can’t escape the minute details of their personal lives), looking at the first storey of shops and meeting people, I often take a cheeky nap and nearly miss my stop. I also watch the time as life zooms/crawls by outside the window, worrying if I will be late for work…again… even though I left 1.5 hours to get there.
I am completing a Masters degree at Kingston University called ‘Heritage (Contemporary Practice)’. I’d like to do a project about engaging communities in their local heritage and exploring the meanings behind what often seem mundane realities. Thinking about this on the bus, it struck me that a project about a bus route, my bus route, the 213, could be a good project. Why does it connect Kingston with Sutton? Why does it stop where is does? Who uses/used it? What stories and memories do people have about being on the bus, or looking out of its windows? More broadly, why and what do people (dis)like about living in Kingston, Norbiton, Coombe, New Malden, Old Malden, Worcester Park, Cheam and Sutton? Broader still, how can heritage professionals engage with local communities to make something meaningful and truly collaborative?
I hope to update the blog weekly with musings about where I have been (my next blog will talk about the London Bus Museum), and things I have read, things I have overheard on the bus. It is mainly a record of my research for personal use, but I open it to you in the hope of finding some collaborators – please comment away with your own stories of bus trips, time spent in the places on the 213 route and anything else really.
Thanks for reading!