The Isabella Plantation – A Journey Through Time

Posted on 19/05/2019 By

The Isabella Plantation.

A Journey through Time.

Sid and Dorothy (Bobby’s parents) loved The Isabella Plantation. It’s an abiding memory of a long time ago. Especially the day they took him there on the 213 bus.

A black and white photograph ofSid and Dorothy in 1954(ish) standing arm in arm outside a semi-detached house.

Sid and Dorothy in 1954(ish).

Bobby has been there many times in recent years, but never again by 213 bus.

So when friends Peter and Anna told him how lovely the gardens were (on 1 May), he resolved to go there. On a 213 bus. From 138 Brocks Drive, as he had done then. The house the family had owned for 81 years. It’s particularly significant as Bobby went to the funeral of his sister in law Sylvia on 1 May, leaving him the last of his generation recalling those years gone by for posterity.

So here we are at 138 Brocks Drive, North Cheam. Bobby lived there between 1944 and 1966. This journey through time we guess to be 1954.

138 Brocks Drive.

138 Brocks Drive.

And here is the 213 bus at North Cheam.

And here is the 213 bus at North Cheam.

And as it was in 1954 at North Cheam. A single decker, due to low railway bridges subsequently rebuilt in later years.

And as it was in 1954 at North Cheam. A single decker, due to low railway bridges subsequently rebuilt in later years.

Purists will note that this model RF from the London Transport Museum has passenger doors. They didn’t on the 213 in 1954. Drafty!

Purists will note that this model RF from the London Transport Museum has passenger doors. They didn’t on the 213 in 1954. Drafty!

In those far off days, going to the shops at North Cheam was always described as going “up the Queen Vic”. In recognition of the large pub at the crossroads. There was a Woolworth and a large Granada, where we once queued up for “Summer Holiday”. That pub was redeveloped into a sixties wonderland that eventually became derelict itself. And still is. Much to the consternation of everyone who cares in watching it gradually fall to bits. Many years now. What an eyesore.

The site of the Queen Vic, North Cheam.

The site of the Queen Vic, North Cheam.

Upstairs. Front seats. Here’s Worcester Park and its railway bridge.

Upstairs. Front seats. Here’s Worcester Park and its railway bridge.

Railways came before cars. Bridges were often inadequate as the modern world progressed. The one at Worcester Park was finally rebuilt and the road lowered in 1962. Signalling the end for the 213 RF single decker.

Worcester Park railway bridge as it was with a 213 RF just coming under it.

Worcester Park railway bridge as it was with a 213 RF just coming under it.

Demolishing the old Worcester Park Bridge.

Demolishing the old Worcester Park Bridge.

Worcester park Bridge. The start of the rebuild.

The start of the rebuild.

New railway bridge first. The road was later lowered. Nice Express Dairy milk float.

The next town is New Malden. A seemingly ordinary town with a secret.

New Malden.

New Malden.

Back in 2002, the football World Cup had twin venues. Japan and South Korea. The latter got to the semi-final, where it was revealed that a large screen had been set up in the park in New Malden to allow the thousands of Korean local residents to watch.

Out of a population of around 29,000, 10,000 are Korean. The High Street has many Korean businesses, supermarkets and the like. Purely for research… we went into McDonalds and found half the customers were Korean. They seem a very peaceful, friendly community and it’s a very successful relationship with the locals, we gather. Starting when Korean firms like Samsung located in the area. And, once, the Korean Embassy. The only problem of note and recorded by the Independent newspaper is friction between South and a small number of North Koreans. It’s a very interesting article on a seemingly nondescript Greater London Town.

Read the article here.

Seoul Plaza, New Malden.

Seoul Plaza, New Malden.

Leaving New Malden, the 213 enters the affluent area of Kingston Hill and its surrounds. Most notably enhanced by its magnificent trees. Especially this time of year.

Leaving New Malden, the 213 enters the affluent area of Kingston Hill and its surrounds. Most notably enhanced by its magnificent trees. Especially this time of year.

The bus brushed lots of branches which years ago would have been attended to by tree-cutter buses. Old buses converted.

Tree-cutter bus.

Tree-cutter

Nowadays all double deckers have protective front bars to bash the branches out of the way. Had a few big bashes by the look of it.

Nowadays all double deckers have protective front bars to bash the branches out of the way. Had a few big bashes by the look of it.

Approaching Kingston, the stop for Richmond Park is at Norbiton, giving a pleasant walk along affluent streets to the Kingston Gate of Richmond Park. Probably 30 minutes to the Isabella. An option might be the 85 bus which stops much closer at Ladderstile pedestrian gate and only a ten minute way marked walk to the garden.

Posh houses with posh trees. This a Paulownia. Truly beautiful and truly awful if you read about its impact in the USA. Some states have banned it for its invasiveness, It’s a fascinating tree in view of what it is used for… See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulownia_tomentosa

Paulownia.

Paulownia.

A closer look at the Paulownia.

A closer look at the Paulownia.

So this is where Bobby came with his Mum and Dad in 1954. Not far as the ring necked parakeet flies from Wimbledon Common, where they met and forged a romance. Near where he worked at the KLG for nearly forty years and close to Roehampton Cemetery where they both ended up.

The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden, set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830s to keep the parks deer out. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its rhododendrons and azaleas which line the ponds and streams in late April and early May. Lots of other shrubs and trees. Many rare. The name has a romantic air about it not substantiated by reality.

Originally located in a boggy part of Richmond Park, it was labelled on a 1771 map as Isabel Slade. A Slade being a bog or open space between woods or banks. Isabel meaning dirty or greyish brown.

Bertie sat on a seat in the Isabella Plantation. The seat bears the name in a crest format.

A helping hand from an admirer.

Rhododendron.

Rhododendron.

Rhododendron.

Rhododendron.

Rhododendron.

Rhdododendrons around the lake.

Mr and Mrs Mandarin Ducks.

Mr and Mrs Mandarin.

More Rhododendrons around the lake.

Silver Birch amongst the Rhododendrons.

Pieris.

Pieris.

Am I in Japan? Silly old bear!

Am I in Japan? Silly old bear!

Stream in the gardens.

Stream in the gardens.

A blaze of red.

A blaze of white.

A blaze of colour.

Very popular as you can imagine, but this was on a Sunday.

Very popular as you can imagine, but this was on a Sunday.

Can you blame them?

Can you blame them?

Pathway through a colourful garden.

Deciduous scented Azalea.

Deciduous scented Azalea.

Are you a Gruffalo?

Are you a Gruffalo?

This tree moves round the park during the night. Honest.

This tree moves round the park during the night. Honest.

Hiding in the woods.

Hiding in the woods.

Small is beautiful. Lily of the Valley.

Small is beautiful. Lily of the Valley.

Goodbye until next year at the Isabella Plantation.

Goodbye until next year at the Isabella Plantation.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

An RF single decker just like our 213. And a Routemaster of similar vintage.

An RF single decker just like our 213. And a Routemaster of similar vintage.

We love our Light Box
—————-

BusesGardens    


  1. Avatar Bernard says:

    Great collection put together to give one amazing journey.

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