This week I addressed the Maldens and Coombe Heritage Society, a newly formed society of people interested in their local area. Robin Gill (as mentioned below) invited me along and his enthusiasm for my project has been a really great motivation to keep things ticking whilst I also complete the other two modules for my MA this term! It was quite nerve racking standing up before everyone to talk about my project but I did get some interesting memories about the 213 route:
Unfortunately for Mary, the Chairperson, the 213 holds bad associations dating all the way back to 1943 when her little Labrador ‘Bobby’ was run over by the bus! After the meeting, Julian (another member) came up to me and mentioned his investigations into whether Kingston’s gallows were located at the junction of what are now Queens Road and Galsworthy Road (The Stop: Queens Road – Kingston Hospital), which has made me consider developing a ‘Deathly telling of the 213’ incorporating these stories alongside information about the various local undertakers on the route and anything else under this heading people wish to contribute!
Two lovely gentlemen kindly filled in my reminiscence flyers, and hopefully I’ll get some more through the post or at the next meeting. If you’d like to fill one in I can post or email it to you.
‘In the mid-1950s I lived in New Malden and went to school in Croydon. The 213 bus took me from the Plough to Sutton and each bus had a metal plate on the side with (I think) some letters and a number. If I was in time for no.10 I would be certain to catch my connection (Route 406) at Sutton. If it was no.11 I would probably be late for school!’
‘Single deck buses ran up Traps Lane until the new bridge at New Malden Station, after a double decker was introduced ‘213A’ going along the same route as now, the new double deck 213 still ran up Traps Lane and Coombe Lane for some time before it was withdrawn’
Other than that I’ve got some more leads: New Malden Fortnight (6th-20th July) should be a place I can gather more information or possibly even enact the creative element of my project…. I’m thinking a carnival of all my collaborators dressed as 213 buses (anything is possible with cardboard)!!! I learnt a bit about the history of Pengilly’s stationers (on New Malden High Street) and why ‘New Malden – The Fountain’ has its name, which isn’t because of the public house, but for the fountain which used to water the horses of horse-and-carriages in the pre-bus days.