Sunday, June 20, 2010

Canons Park Tube Station

The trouble with a blog is finding interesting things to write in it. Other people's lives can be so boring and so can one's own life. Mine was particularly boring and Canons Park Tube Station has taken up hours and hours of my youth.

I came across this photo of Canons Park Tube Station in Wikipedia. It actually has its own Wiki page! I was astonished at anywhere so uninteresting and ugly could be worth a mention in an Encyclopedia. I was wrong.

Canons Park Tube Station was about three quarters of a mile from my semi detached  house in Stanmore where I lived from the age of four to 21. The only way to get anywhere was to either walk or get the bus to this tube station. The  daily decision of whether to walk the distance or wait for the 18 bus which seldom if ever came and when it did was usually full up was source of annoyance for 16 years.

I have spent hours of my life waiting for the bus or walking to this station. In the 1950's the fog was so bad I could hardly see my hand in front of my face and I had to count to curbstones to find my way home. I had to do this in the rain and the snow and even in fine weather I hated it.

My father who had a van and later a car never once gave me a lift in all those years. I had to cart all my heavy school books and later ballet paraphernalia each day. Even when Mummy and I went to Brixham for our holidays Daddy never gave us a lift with cases and later dog. On this occasion we waited for the 18 bus. Even when I was performing Daddy refused to help and I had to leave at 6.30 am and do the walk before the TV recording of  'The Turn of the Screw' which was not the easiest thing to sing for a 16 year old. I had to get the train back after at around 11 pm and do the walk. In fact even after the Royal Gala at Covent Garden the train ride back at 11 pm took the gilt of the ginger bread and bought one down to earth. Merle Park was on the train too with me plus bouquet.

The 18 Bus is itself worth a blog. It never came! Once  waited for two hours for one and missed the first Act of 'Ondine' at Covent Garden for which I shall never forgive it. Its route went from Wembley Stadium through Harrow to Edgware Station.

Canons Park Station itself must be the ugliest station on the whole tube. It is, so Wiki says, the least used. It is just a bridge and two windy cold platforms which are high up and battered by the elements. Freezing sleet and snow in winter and  rain in summer.

A waiting room you may ask? Yes there was one but only held about ten people and in the morning one had to be right at the front of the platform to get a seat on the train as it was twenty minutes to Baker Street if you did not change to the fast train at Wembley Park. Again decisions should one change to the fast train and stand to Baker Street, sometimes the fast train sat in a tunnel for hours or sit and stop at every station and again be stuck in a tunnel.

The hours I have stood waiting on that platform must add up to months if not years of my life. Outside the rush hour one just never knew if a train would appear. There was nothing to do but wait.

My journey there and back during my London years must have taken up about two hours of every day. During my convent school days the school bus had a pick up point so I past it every weekday.

The last memory of Canon's Park is waiting at the 18 bus stop on the way home in the pouring rain as if I remember there was no bus shelter. The queues were long as there was the 114 that also stopped there. Sometimes I would walk the mile home as the chances of getting on a bus were slim and it was a long walk past dreary semi detached houses.

I vowed as soon as I could I should escape from the bleakness of the landscape. For me it had not one redeeming feature perhaps only the gasometers nestled in the elms trees was the only thing of beauty and I kid you not.

Now when I look out on the beautiful Auckland Harbour which I do daily I am so grateful that I never have to see Canons Park Station again because I doubt if I could ever afford a house in that area even if I wanted to.

1 comment:

  1. Oh yes. The 18 bus. I remember it's non-appearance well and was fully conditioned thereby to hate public transport until, that is, I found out that a lot of buses in other parts of the country actually adhered to a timetable. I thought CP tube station was a quite exciting place with the trains appearing unexpectedly round the bend from Stanmore. But then I never had to go to work from there.