London … one waits ages for an excuse to go to Croydon and then seventeen come along at once. Catching the last of the TfL ‘Year of the Bus’ Routemaster sculptures in South London

Although I am a Londoner born and bred, and have lived in the capital for quite a few decades now, I have never actually set foot in Croydon until now. The little I knew until recently of the South London town was admittedly based on London-wide ridicule of the place fuelled by comedians and celebrities as legendary as David Bowie that have blighted the area since it officially became part of the capital in the mid 1960s.

Its large collection of distinct post-war concrete buildings and skyscrapers have arguably not dated well and has given rise to Croydon’s ‘ugly’ image which it seems to find difficulty shaking off. In the 1990s it was unfavourably associated with an equally ridiculed social group of young, rich, working-class teens and twenty-somethings known as ‘chavs’ when a hairstyle often modelled by girls of this group (where gelled hair is tightly pulled back off the face and tied up in a high ponytail or bun) was derisively named the ‘Croydon Facelift’.

Croydon’s unfortunate reputation however was not the reason for me avoiding it in the past. I am a North London girl and I have had no real motivation to take a twenty minute train journey across the river south of London Bridge station to it … until now.

The last batch of the Transport for London ‘Year of the Bus’ sculptures celebrating sixty years of the classic London Routemaster bus were put on display in and around Croydon at the start of the month (December 2014), and having already located the first forty-one sculptures around central London and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (of which all can be found here), I just had to complete my collection. So, off I went with my camera to seek the sculptures out and discover Croydon for myself.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by Croydon. It has some beautiful pre-war buildings like the Town Hall and the gothic Surrey Street pumping station, two huge shopping centres, nice green spaces and parks, a real pride in its more famous residents, and a fantastic, reliable, environmentally-friendly public transport system including electric trams which I enjoyed using very much and now yearn to have in North London. Croydon is presently endeavouring to secure city status which would make it independent from London, and although stunning architectural projects in development will change its landscape, image and fortunes considerably, it hasn’t turned its back from those buildings that have caused it such ridicule in the past. It is actually seeking listed heritage status for these structures like the notorious ‘Number 1 Croydon’ building in the heart of town, a building that I rather like!

So, below are the seventeen ‘Year of the Bus’ sculptures from the TfL Croydon bus trail. There are around one hundred photos here so it may take some time for them all to appear in some browsers.

PS photos of all the other sculptures …  Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Rob Wilson Trafalgar Panoramic looking towards Charing Cross Road can be found here.

Enjoy. TLT x


 

At the Bottom of the Garden

Anna Benson

The Queen’s Gardens

Lovely ... as is the Town Hall building behind it

Lovely … as is the Town Hall building behind it

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Croydon trail TfL Wild in Art Anna Benson At the Bottom of the Garden The Queen's Gardens, back


 

The Library

Anna Rawles and Jennifer Rodgers

Civic Centre, Katherine Street

To all those kind folk who came to my rescue and tried to get me back on my feet outside the Croydon Civic Centre, thank you so much but I hadn't fallen over nor had I fainted. I was just lying down on the pavement to get the whole of the bell tower in shot

To all those kind folk who came to my rescue and tried to get me back on my feet outside the Croydon Civic Centre, thank you so much but I hadn’t fallen over nor had I fainted. I was just lying down on the pavement to get the whole of the bell tower in shot


 

Diversity

Rachel Stevens

Dingwall Road

By local artist Rachel Stevens (and not the S Club 7 pop princess)

By local artist Rachel Stevens (and not the S Club 7 pop princess)

The 'Number One Croydon' building trying to take a peek of its portrait

The ‘Number One Croydon’ building trying to take a peek of its portrait


 

Queen of the Sky

Deven Bhurke

Church Street

Taking off on the Croydon bus trail

Taking off on the Croydon bus trail


 

Moquette

Mini Moderns and Michelle Pouncey

The Whitgift Shopping Centre

The most tactile 'Year of the Bus' sculpture of the lot (I kept going back to stroke it)

The most tactile ‘Year of the Bus’ sculpture of the lot (I kept going back to stroke it)


 

Wild Ride

Jennie Grover

Wandle Park

Taking a Croydon bus trail walk on the 'Wild Ride' (another desperate attempt at a play on words)

Taking a Croydon bus trail walk on the ‘Wild Ride’ (another desperate attempt at a play on words)

...


 

Croydon Layers

Matt Bannister

Mint Walk

...


 

Pearl

Janet Fishwick

College Road

A bus of pearls by pearls of (college) wisdom

A bus of pearls by pearls of (college) wisdom


 

Magic Carpet Bus

Giles Boardman

Fairfield Gardens

As it was two weeks before Christmas and the Fairfield Halls behind me had just started a panto run of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, I just couldn't resist and called out to those waiting at the bus stop: "The year of the bus sculpture. It's behind you!". Clearly they were not in the festive spirit.

As it was two weeks before Christmas and the Fairfield Halls behind me had just started a panto run of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, I just couldn’t resist and called out to those waiting at the bus stop: “The year of the bus sculpture. It’s behind you!”. Clearly they were not in the festive spirit


 

Poppy the Party Bus

Jenny Leonard

North End, Centrale Shopping Centre

...


 

Do the Locomotive

Anna Rawles and Jennifer Rodgers

Reeves Corner

The past ...

The past …

... and the future of travel in Croydon

… and the future of travel in Croydon


 

Trammin’

Alice Cretney

Charles Street

Figures of Croydon born Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and famous Croydon residents Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and comedian Ronnie Corbett. Maybe Kate Moss's figure (arguably the most famous person to come out of Croydon) is hiding behind Alice Cretney's bus sculpture

Figures of Croydon born Dame Peggy Ashcroft, and famous Croydon residents Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and comedian Ronnie Corbett. Maybe Kate Moss’s figure (arguably the most famous person to come out of Croydon) is hiding behind Alice Cretney’s bus sculpture

Nope, no signs of Ms Moss

Nope, no signs of Ms Moss


 

The ’75 to Crocus Valley

Lis Watkins

Saffron Square

The name 'Croydon' is believed to derive from the Anglo-Saxon words for 'Crocus' ("croh") and 'Valley' ("denu")

The name ‘Croydon’ is believed to derive from the Anglo-Saxon words for ‘Crocus’ (“croh”) and ‘Valley’ (“denu”)

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Croydon trail TfL Wild in Art Lis Watkins The '75' to Crocus Valley Saffron Square, left side with The Interchange


 

Crystal

Sophie Green

The Whitgift Shopping Centre

...


 

Surrey Street Market

Matt Bannister

Matthew’s Yard

...


 

Circuit Bus

Eloise Kerr

Dingwall Road

...


 

Flower Fairies

Michelle Heron

The Whitgift Shopping Centre

Michelle Heron's delightful design was inspired by Croydon born Cicely Mary Barker's famous Flower Fairies book illustrations

Michelle Heron’s delightful design was inspired by Croydon born Cicely Mary Barker’s famous Flower Fairies book illustrations

One list some Black Friday shoppers clearly didn't have with them a few weeks ago

One list some Black Friday shoppers clearly didn’t have with them a few weeks ago

 

More on the TfL ‘Year of the Bus’ celebrations here at their official website.

Photographs of the other forty-one bus sculptures found around Central London and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park can be found here

Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Westminster trail TfL Wild in Art Cath Kidston and Sarah Jane Richards Cath Kidston Bus Piccadilly Circus left side with Union flag      Routemaster 60 Year of the Bus sculpture Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park trail TfL Wild in Art Pawel Srokowski Invisible to the Environment with The Orbit above

TLT  x

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2 Responses to London … one waits ages for an excuse to go to Croydon and then seventeen come along at once. Catching the last of the TfL ‘Year of the Bus’ Routemaster sculptures in South London

  1. Rebecca says:

    great post , thanks for visiting our town glad you enjoyed it :)

  2. Frostiesgal says:

    I did not know that was taking place in Dec 2014 and I live in the area!

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