A few weekends ago, Mum came to stay and I decided to take her to London Transport Museum. I’ve visited the Museum a few times (and wrote a blog about it once upon a time) but it was so exciting to be back! All the red shiny vehicles, signs in the distinctive New Johnston font and moving models are engrossing, and I wore my metaphorical anorak with pride and a broad grin throughout the visit!
The present temporary display is all about London Transport Design. The upper floor has a series of objects on display, from bus stop flags to handrails and ticket barriers, a favourite exhibit being a collection of seat moquette and a video about how they are made. If you are interested in that too, there should a number of free drop in events as part of ‘Weaving Futures’ pop-up studio which will run 21st November to 18th February 2017.
Down the spiral stairs takes you to a ‘design studio’ of sorts which attempts to explain the design process for projects both realised, scrapped and for the future. I particularly enjoyed learning about how designers tested the effectiveness of the wayfinding mini- and monoliths (Legible London) using a full scale mdf and paper replica. I remember the real things being installed in Worcester Park and then Kingston a few years ago, a sort of proof that we are in London, despite what my ‘city’ friends might say about us ‘suburbians’! The other half of downstairs is a space dedicated to designing, where a large table invites you to get stuck in and where the drop-in events are held.
This exhibition emphasises how integrated good design is with our everyday lives: ‘design that is often hidden by its familiarity’. It therefore connects quite well to my own interest in transport – the potential connections between place, heritage and everyday life – with these themes touched upon and celebrated in the display.
Designology is part of a wider project called ‘Transported by Design’ being run jointly by the Museum and TfL.
The design theme continued in a variety of wonderful gallery and visitor activities including: The Unfinished Bus, Make your own Oyster Card, Design your Own station and Create your own Bus! Definitely worth a visit, something fun for everyone and one of my favourite museums.
Kenley Road was laid out in 1931-2 with no.2 being completed on 24th July 1931 and later numbers approved in January 1932 and completed in the autumn of that year (for example, no.20 completed 7th October 1932). You can view images of the road during construction here at the Britain from Above website.
A Change in Route
In Spring 1963, the 213 bus route changed from going along Traps Lane and Coombe Lane and began an additional service along Clarence Avenue and Kenley Road. This became the route as we know it now, but not all residents at the time approved of the change.
The change of route was advocated by the Borough of Malden and Coombe for many years. At a committee meeting of the Public Health, Works and Highways Committee of 24th April 1963, complaints were received from 7 individuals and by one letter signed by 25 people. Chairman of the committee Alderman A Hill responded to the concerns by saying: “I can take this back 30 years and remember well the time these people and others like them objected to a public house being built” before going on to be the ones who used it(!). Another member, Alderman A Arbon-Collins stated that “you cannot hold up progress”. Hard to imagine elected members talking in quite the same tone today, or a change in bus route being described as ‘progress’.
Residents were able to negotiate the siting of new bus stops, firstly in a meeting with Kingston Borough Council and the Transport Board, and later through petition direct to the Department for Transport. There was, for a time, a bus stop ‘on the corner’ which was re-sited onto Gloucester Road after complaints that it was ‘dangerous and noisy’.
The new route ran from 8th May 1963.
To end on…
In the initial coverage from the Kingston Borough News, Kenley Road was referred to as Kenley Avenue. In correcting them, a local resident sent this to the paper:
We will walk up the Avenue not a Bus in sight; But we will run Down the Road for a 213 tonight
- Britain from Above (http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw040758)
- ‘Kenley Road Residents Angry’, in Kingston Borough News, 24th May 1963 p.1
- ‘New Bus Service: Complaints Fail’, in Kingston Borough News, 3rd May 1963 p.1
- ‘Residents Angry at New Malden Bus Run: Kenley Ave Objections’, in Kingston Borough News, 26th April 1963 p.1