Friday, August 24, 2012

The Wrong Bus Home

There are two bus routes from the town centre to my neck of the woods, three if you count the number 19 whose destination is Sparcells.  The number 1A is the more direct route while the number 1 goes the wrong way or the long way home.

Buses depart from the G stop on Fleming Way and take a left turn into Catherine Street.  From here both buses travel along Faringdon Road and past the Milton Road Baths on the left, the railway village on the right.

A turn into Park Lane and under the railway bridge, making a left turn into the Churchward estate built on the site of the former railway factory 'A' Shop.  We're now on the Wootton Bassett Road approaching Mannington Roundabout and West Swindon.

At the West Swindon centre the two routes part company.  The 1A travels up Tewkesbury Way while the number 1 goes the wrong way home, the long way home, travelling through first Grange Park and then the Prinnels.

The western development of Swindon began in 1975.  Although Wiltshire County Council had anticipated 'there would be no objection' to expansion plans, they had not allowed for the strength of feeling expressed by people who lived in the area under threat.  Following a vocal 'Say No to Swindon Westward Expansion' Wiltshire County Council and the North Wiltshire District Council asked for a temporary halt to the expansion but as the Swindon Advertiser reported on Thursday, January 19, 1978 - "Six weeks of legal and bureaucratic arguments, involving three authorities, a government department, four of the country's biggest builders, all resulted in the news that Swindon can expand to the West."

Grange Park was built on farmland once part of Marsh Farm and owned by the St John family.  The street names and architectural style have a Tudor theme in homage to the St John's connection to Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII.

Passing the bus stop at Hampton Road our journey takes us along Hay Lane, a short stretch of what was once an ancient trade route or Salt Way stretching from the Midlands through Cirencester to Avebury.  The primary school in Middleleaze, opened in 1989 and closed just seventeen years later, was named to mark this historic thoroughfare.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  On the left we have the entrance to Lydiard Park, home to the St John family for 500 years until it was sold to Swindon Corporation in 1943.  And opposite a field called the Prinnels which lends its name to the housing development sneaking up behind it.

The 16th century Wick Farmhouse survives but the ancient fields of High Croft, Blacklands and The Clay Pit Ground, where evidence of a large British Romano pottery making complex was discovered, have long gone.  Street names here include Wilmot Close, Winchmore Close & Spencer Close named after members of the extended St John family.

Nearly home and the wrong bus turns into Middleleaze Drive, look to your right for Brookhouse Farm, another former St John family property, now a Hungry Horse Restaurant.

A brief pause while the number 1 changes destination details and prepares to become the right bus, taking the shorter route back into town.

Thamesdown bus routes

setting off

Park Lane

Outlet Village bus stop - former railway works in the background.  Departure times of the wrong bus home, no sign of the right one.

Another view of the Outlet Village bus stop - the old Pattern Stores building in the background, now Bottelinos

Former railway factory weighhouse

New flats built on the site of 'A' Shop

Number 19 route

Wootton Bassett Road

Mannington Roundabout

Great Western Way

Applewood Court - built on the site of the orchard at Mannington Farm

Police Point, West Swindon centre

West Swindon Health Centre and the Link Centre


Tudor street name in Grange Park

1980s Tudor houses

The Prinnels

Wilmot Close

Grandison Close overlooked by Wick Farmhouse

Alba Close - the right side of the road

My stop and home

You might like to read

Milton Road Baths 
GWR Park
Windmill Hill
Wick Farm
Brook Farm
St John Street Names

1 comment:

  1. The Number 1 bus is the right bus for me! :-) Nice post bringing old and new together.