LONDON: coincidence on the train and chaos on the tube

13 Jun

Today was a day of mixed fortunes, ultimately I didn’t find out anything that I could actually add to my family tree, but it was a good day nevertheless.

The train journey up to London was a little different from normal, and not just because everything went according to plan. Like the majority of other British train travellers I wouldn’t normally talk to any of the other passengers, but when the young woman who came and sat in the seat opposite took out a bundle of papers, which included some census returns, I knew I just had to saw hello.

We chatted about our family histories and research until she left the train at Clapham Junction, heading for the Surrey History Centre at Woking. It was a real pleasure to meet and chat with a fellow genealogist, and it made the journey just fly by.

Getting to the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) proved somewhat awkward. I am sure that when I used the journey planner on the Transport for London website yesterday there was no hint of a problem, but today when I reached Victoria Underground station it was just the opposite.

There was no Victoria line service (which was how I was going to get across London) so I took the Circle line instead and a section of that was closed as well. The train terminated at Moorgate, two stations short of Farringdon where I wanted to be!

Not being frightened of a bit of walking (but not really knowing where to go) I decided to give up on the Underground and public transport in general and walk the rest of the way.

The streets were surprisingly quiet and I headed of in the general direction of the Museum of London and the Barbican, which I knew were in the right direction. Although I did have my London A-Z in my rucksack I didn’t need to use it until after I had found the Barbican Underground station, when I wanted to check which was the quickest route to take.

It didn’t take long to get to Farringdon Underground station, and I remembered the route from there to the LMA from my last visit. Straight up Farringdon Road, past the Sushi bar which I remembered from last time, but I am sure that the topless bar a few doors along wasn’t there last time. I’m sure I would have remembered that!

I suppose it took me twice as long (about an hour) to get across London than I had been expecting, but I can’t really complain. Much of the London Underground is in serious need of investment and improvement, I only hope it is worth all the hassle in the end.

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