The 2015 Open City Architour with the Arriva London Heritage Fleet

  
  

RM 2217 parked by Russell Square
RM 2217 parked by Russell Square

This year’s Open City once again provided a thoroughly enjoyable and imaginative Mystery Architour, with the Arriva London historic Heritage Fleet bus RM 2217, itself an iconic piece of design, transporting the lucky ballot winners on a trip in London from Russell Square to Stratford, taking in St. Pancras, Kings Cross and the Boundary Gardens at Arnold Circus.

Our two guides for the tour were Joe Kerr, a lecturer at RCA and part time bus driver with Arriva London, and Paul Lincoln, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Landscape Institute. The theme for the day, as they explained, was to show how architecture, the landscape and people have interacted at various points in the history of London.

Lime tree arch in Russell Square
Lime tree arch in Russell Square

The first treat was to see how the Georgian influence, combining these elements, brought about the development of such beautiful spaces as Russell Square, with its tree-lined walkways and ample open spaces. 

The next stage introduced the group to RM 2217, which had been parked up on the other side of the square. Joe explained its importance in the history of London transport and everyone was eager to get on board, but also to have a photograph taken with her.

The Granary square previously the railway yards
The Granary square previously the railway yards

Paul indicated that the next stop would be quite an eye opener, as the bus made its way down onto the Euston Road past the refurbished facade of St Pancras and then the new square outside Kings Cross Station.

The bus took a sharp left after Kings Cross and as Paul explained further, our next stop was to be Granary Square, where everyone would alight to see the now redeveloped area of the old railway yards that, until a few years back, had been closed to the public.

More new buildings behind Kings Cross
More new buildings behind Kings Cross

Fountains, a canal, St Martin’s work areas, cafes, a natural swimming pool, a skip garden and an amazing array of new housing development and work areas, was just the tip of the vista that awaited. Plus, a clear view of the difference in heights of the two stations, Kings Cross and St Pancras, in the distance. There was so much to take in and experience, we could have spent the whole day there, but Joe and Paul had other plans.

The canal used to bring coal and grain to London
The canal used to bring coal and grain to London

Back on the bus, we headed east again to Arnold Circus, the site of the very first social housing project, initiated in 1889 by the new democratically elected London City Council. They had the task of clearing a place known as the Old Nichol, which had become the worst slum in the whole of London. All of the rubble from the slum was placed in the centre, and a mound built with a park on top to cover it, and then around the mound the housing was erected.

London's first Social Housing
London's first Social Housing

Newton, the Routemaster bus driver, had kindly stayed with the bus each time it stopped, so no one had to carry their bags and coats whilst walking. On returning to the bus again, it was explained that the last stop would be the Olympic park at Stratford to see the regeneration of the area, and the legacy that has been left in terms of housing and parks for the local communities.

The site of the Old Nichol now Arnold Circus
The site of the Old Nichol now Arnold Circus

At Stratford everything is new and modern, and so it was an interesting contrast to see the old historic Heritage Fleet Routemaster parked up outside Stratford Station at the end of the tour, again demonstrating the interaction of the landscape, people and architecture in all of our everyday lives, exactly as Joe and Paul had set out to illustrate back in Russell Square.

Our thanks go to Joe and Paul for their excellent tour and commentary, and to Newton the bus driver who delivered us safely and in style to our various destinations.

The old railway yard plaque
The old railway yard plaque

Joe Kerr holds a first-class honours degree in the History of Art from University College, London, and an MSc in the History of Modern Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. He joined the  RCA in 1998, where he established the Critical and Historical Studies programme in 2001. He is responsible for teaching history and theory to students in the Architecture and Vehicle Design programmes. He is also a part-time Arriva London bus driver, working out of Tottenham Garage.

RM 2217 at Stratford, the old and the new at the end of the tour
RM 2217 at Stratford, the old and the new at the end of the tour

Paul is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Landscape Institute. He manages the team that develops and implements the Institute’s policy programme, public affairs, marketing, internal and external communications, the journal, events programme, sponsorship, competitions, awards and knowledge services.

The  Arriva Heritage Fleet is part of Arriva London and offers organisations and individuals the opportunity to hire these historic vehicles for events and special occasions. Arriva London works closely with Open City to supply these vehicles for free for the Architour, as part of their contribution to the communities they serve.

 

  
  

Tags:   NewsThe Arriva Heritage FleetHeritageRM 2217Open CityArchitourJoe Kerr
Published : Fri 25th Sep. 2015
Related archived articles
Published : Wed 7th Feb. 2018 - Fri 4th May. 2018
 
Arriva London’s Heritage Fleet assists The Royal Hospital Chelsea to mark their National Care Home Open Day

The Royal Hospital Chelsea recently celebrated National Care Home Open Day 2018 by opening the doors to its dedicated care facility and welcoming supporters and visitors to the event.

Sickle Cell charity representatives visit Brixton garage to say thanks for Payroll Giving donations

Last week, we were delighted to welcome Michelle Salter and Donna Prendergast from the Sickle Cell Society to our Brixton garage, to meet with some of the givers and also record a few words about what the Payroll Givers' generosity means to their charity.

Our gender pay gap report is published

We have the ambition to become the mobility partner of choice, preferred by our passengers, partners and clients. Having a diverse, talented and motivated workforce is key to achieving that ambition.

Arriva London’s Palmers Green garage just got greener

We are always looking at ways to improve our green credentials and a recent initiative, part of our Destination Green programme across the business, at our North London Palmers Green garage is another illustration of this process.

Arriva London begins new route W4 contract with 14 new Enviro 200 single-deck buses

Last summer, we were delighted to be awarded the contract from TfL to operate route W4 running from Oakthorpe Park Estate to Tottenham Ferry Lane estate, operating from Wood Green garage.

Two primary schools visit two of our garages in two days

As part of our commitment to developing our business, we invest heavily in training for all of our staff to offer the great customer experience. We also look at other ways in which we can develop our relationships with the communities we serve, and allow them the opportunity of learning about our processes and to meet some of the team.

 

Please wait...

 

.Delivered by CSN MCL / All content copyright © 2007 - 2018 original copyright holders, except where individually stated. All rights reserved. E&OE.