Tag Archives: underground

LONDON: Genealogy sightseeing from a London bus

14 Jun

I had noticed several buses passing the top of the road at the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office, and thought that it would be a good idea to find one heading south, which would take me closer to Victoria railway station and home.

I walked a short way down the street and found the bus stop, and as luck would have it there was a bus direct to Victoria, the number 38. I had just missed one (I had seen it going past as I walked to the bus stop) and back home in rural West Sussex that would normally mean waiting another hour (or sometimes two) for the next one. Fortunately here in London the timetable said it would only be 4 to 6 minutes.

It has been a while since I travelled on a London bus, not that it is much different from any other bus, except that this one announced the upcoming stops to passengers. Anyway I sat down an relaxed, and before long we were stuck in traffic, but at least I was seeing more of the streets of London than I would on the Underground.

I sitting back enjoying the world outside the bus when I realised we were heading through the streets of Westminster, the area where Thomas KINGHORN (my 3x great grandfather) had lived. I strained to see the street names, trying to spot one I recognised.

We must have been travelling down Shaftesbury Avenue, because we turned left into Great Windmill Street (or one end of it) and I realised we were in the street where Thomas KINGHORN had lived! Not that much remained from the time when he was living here, but it was nice to be there anyway.

A bit further along I guessed we would pass the St James’s Church, Piccadilly and sure enough we did. I caught a brief glimpse of the church and the colourful market outside, the church where four of Thomas KINGHORN’s children had been baptised, including my 2x great grandmother Dorothy Isabella.

I could go home happy now, in fact I was over the moon, my escape by bus from Underground mayhem had turned into a genealogical sightseeing trip!

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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