AGM 14 March 2020

On Saturday 14 March, just ahead of the more stringent advice on social distancing, the Club held its AGM at Better Bankside.   With the increasing threat of coronavirus, the organisers had thought long and hard about whether to go ahead and email reminders had been sent out about the importance of hand washing, so I was expecting a much reduced attendance. In the event 36 members turned out, only two down on last year, and this in spite of a few older members sensibly deciding to stay at home to reduce their risk of infection. Perhaps we all had an inkling that would be our last physical gathering for a while.  Hilary, in the chair, began the meeting with tributes to Solvig Starborg who had died in January and Ian Gordon who had passed away last May.  Both had been AGM regulars. Continue reading AGM 14 March 2020

BALCOMBE CIRCULAR – 7 MARCH

Fifteen of us set off from Balcombe station, prepared for a day of mud. We knew what to expect & were prepared, we are not fair weather walkers nor dilettantes but, thankfully, the worst was over. No one fell over, slipped into a river or had to be pulled out of a mud lake with ropes, in fact it was a lovely day! A lot of the walk was in woodland with little two-plank bridges over streams but there was some lovely meadow land too.  We also passed a gorgeous and super friendly grey tabby who got a lot of attention from the group. The staff at the Royal Oak pub in Handcross were also very friendly, did pretty good chips & I saw a massive fish arrive on someone’s plate so they are clearly generous with their portions.

Pam & Harriet had had to finish the last 2 miles on the walkover in the dark by the -pathetic- light of a mobile phone so we were interested to see what it really looked like. Nice, actually with a strange & huge rock outcrop split by tree roots where no one would expect to see such a thing. We got to the station in good time & weren’t so covered in mud that we elicited looks of disgust from other passengers.

Harriet. Photos by Ida and Gillian

GERRARDS CROSS AND HEDGERLEY CIRCULAR – 29 FEBRUARY

In spite of mud and bog warnings and heavy rain for the past 24 hours, ten Poly Ramblers still turned up at Gerrards Cross on Saturday morning in sunshine punctuated by heavy showers.  We crossed the common, passing some impressive properties (including one that Andew remembered visiting),  and paused to view an Iron Age hill fort, not much to look at, I admit. Continue reading GERRARDS CROSS AND HEDGERLEY CIRCULAR – 29 FEBRUARY

Sat 15 Feb – Euston to Angel

Saturday 15th February. 15 of us braved the weather to undertake a linear 5 mile London based walk from Euston to Angel. The walk took us round Somers Town at the back of Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross. There are several remarkable buildings in this area, notable because of their residents, or architecture, or historical significance. They included the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, The Polygon/Oakshott Court where Dickens lived and Mary Wollstonecraft (mother of Mary Shelley) died. The Sidney Estate displaying beautiful Doulton Ware ceramic panels and carved finials in the courtyard with hooks to hang the washing lines to dry clothes. The Ossulston Street Estate was impressive – influenced by the Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna. Opposite we enjoyed visiting the Story Garden – a member of the charity co-running this site gave us an overview of the purpose of this garden for the next 3 years. We passed a Portuguese  cafe – although closed at weekends it is well worth a visit and like other places in Somers Town adds to the history of the area along and also sells delicious custard tarts.
Walking along the few remaining rows of Victorian houses (Brewers Company Estate), that survived demolition in the 20th century, we arrived at Goldington Buildings with an impressive entrance and coloured brick work. Then onto St Pancras Hospital which had originally been the Work House. A hidden gem is the Old St Pancras Churchyard where Sir John Soane and his wife are buried as well as Mary Wollstonecraft. There is still a very old church on this site. It has been a place of worship since the 7th century. We then passed the German Gymnasium – the first gymnasium to be built in England – now a restaurant. Lunch was spent individually exploring the development behind Kings Cross.
Additional local information included the origins of the Pearly King tradition with Henry Croft who cleaned streets around St Pancras, the structure of the roof of St Pancras based on the beer warehouses up north and Sir John Betjeman’s role in saving St Pancras.
We then walked along the canal towards Angel. Again there were some historical references which included the gathering of 100,000 people in support of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834 in the area of Copenhagen Street. The walk ended in the Camden Head Pub – which still displays a lot of it’s original features.