I left my job at Kingston History Centre at the end of April 2017. I’ve now started a PhD researching the nature of the ‘Heritage of Everyday Life’ using bus traveller experience as a ‘case study’ of sorts. I am so amazed where my imagination, and thirst for knowledge, and love for research has taken me to. I am also so grateful to everyone who has found this blog and supported it by reading or supplying their memories.
213 Leaving Cake
I miss my life in Kingston, my friends and my colleagues, and I miss the 213 bus despite not having used it regularly since 2014. But I need to face up to the reality that my project – to complete local history research on each bus stop on the route – is likely never to be completed.
Readers! Would anyone be willing to ‘adopt’ a bus stop and contribute a piece of research or memories to help me complete my work? I have loads of ideas about what might be an interesting research topic. I’m just physically in South Yorkshire and am emotionally not quite up to the task of revisiting my old place of work to do the research.
If you are willing to help, the next stop is Cambridge Avenue and then all subsequent stops to Sutton Garage. Please email me at email@example.com to ‘Request a stop’ you want to write about.
Those of you who are very observant may know that there are in fact two types of bus stop: ‘Bus Stops’ and ‘Request Stops’. The logo on ‘Bus Stop’ flags is red on a white background, ‘Request Stop’ flags have the reverse. The bus is technically meant to stop at every ‘Bus Stop’ if there is someone waiting there, i.e. you shouldn’t have to stick your hand out to wave it down at these types of stop. However, I wonder how often this works in practice: I for one always wave down the bus even though my stop is a Bus Stop, and I’ve only ever had one 151 pull up to ask if I wanted to get on in almost two years of waiting there. With 24 Bus Stops towards Sutton, and 24 back towards Kingston, you can imagine the route might take a lot longer if the bus actually stopped every time it is meant to. On the other hand, people with reduced mobility, or those who physically can’t wave down the bus (e.g. blind people; where the stop is positioned right after a turn in the road) should have some security that their bus will actually stop for them!
Bus stop flags are really well designed things, displaying information simply with a versatile design which serves the whole of London. They also reveal something about the bus stop: that catching a bus there actually gives you an opportunity to go anywhere because all stops and bus routes are interconnected.
From 213 stops you can also catch: 57; 80; 85; 93; 131; 151; 154; 164; 265; 280; 371; 407; 413; 420; 470; 613; 627; 665; 668; 773; 775; A3; E16; K1; K2; K3; K4; K5; KU1; KU3; N44; N87; S1; S3; S4; X26 – that is 36 different bus routes! Plus it connects you directly to railways at Worcester Park and New Malden, plus Sutton, Cheam, Malden Manor, Norbiton and Kingston if you can walk a bit. I will eventually put this all on a map but for now, the mind boggles at the numbers alone!