Putney is having a facelift. Everywhere you look there are roadworks, scaffolding and plenty of new shops, bars and restaurants springing up too. The Exchange is still undergoing a transformation while the works at the station are fascinating to catch a glimpse of every once in a while to see how things are progressing.
The crossroads has been a bit of a mess for a few weeks now but it looks as if that is reaching its end, with those fancy timer crossing guides now up and running. They must have been installed after numerous crashes and near-misses at that junction.
Down at the bottom, meanwhile, there’s two new bars – the Swift (review to come) and The Toy Shop both give more options for the going out brigade beyond Fez and Citizen Smith (oh, fine Lost and Co, if we must) while Bills is now a nice established part of the high street. Flames, which always overpowered the smell of the nice little flower shop next door with its doner kebab odours, is also, mercifully, gone too.
As mentioned, it’s the station where most interest lies. For months now it’s been undergoing serious work to make it able to handle the huge numbers of people that use the station – which can be seriously busy – to meet this demand, and at present it’s in that stage where it look as if nothing is being done. Yet you know that once the new staircases go in and the ticket hall starts getting expanded and all that it’ll feel like a different place. It’s not hard to imagine people looking back at photos of it from 2011 and seeing it as utterly different and impossible to comprehend as we do in of photos from 1911.
Meanwhile over at East Putney tube the new apartment blocks are slowly taking shape and altering the skyline. The fact a small Waitrose is going in underneath for residents to shop at after leaving the tube is a huge bonus too. Can’t say the Exclusive Foods shop really entices us in very often for some essentials. Putney Hill was given some new tarmac the other day too!
All in all, then, things are looking up and it’s very welcome as Putney deserves all the improvements it can get.
Like many Putney people (and anyone else from the south-west of London, and England) The Putney Paper was caught up in the frustration of trying to get home on Monday night when the entire South West Trains network was up the creek.
Staff at Waterloo were less than helpful, seeming to wilfully lett trains leave without informing anyone they were soon to be departing or where they were going, leaving many commuters rushing hither and thither from platform to platform to see trains leave clearly half empty beyond the first few carriages where the majority of lazy people leap (go down the platform people, there’s more room).
This no doubt left many SW15ers stuck with long journeys home on the District Line which felt all the more busy due to the amount of people forced to do a journey they normally rely on the train for – thus adding huge numbers to the always stretched District Line.
Eventually, an hour and a bit after having reached Waterloo expecting a quiet 15 minute trundle home, The Putney Paper returned to its natural place of rest and relaxation and was pleased to find everything was very much as it should be.
It’s always something of a reminder when transport goes down those trains are pretty much the best route to London we’ve got, as you ain’t walking back that’s for sure, and the tube, buses and taxis are by turns packed, slow and packed and expensive and empty. For those beyond Putney you could be faced with a night in London beyond your choice.
Those of you that commute from the wonderous Putney Train Station( as The Putney Paper does) will know that the billboards along the platforms are generally aimed at the city banker types telling them Artemis can offer great long-range investment portfolio rates, or that Conquistador Finances is the place to help them manage high net worth individuals’ property portfolios.
But, occasionally, there are some other adverts that appear that are obviously aimed at the proles, the masses, the ABC1 types (like The Putney Paper). Before Christmas they had one with the five giant mugs of Sky Sports’ Ashes commentary team staring across the tracks – an unappealing sight so early in the morning.
Now, they’ve gone and stuck a giant visage of one David Walliams up for all to be forced to stare at as we wait for the various one or two minute late South West Trains to turn up. It’s not exactly what you’d choose to place there is it? No doubt it’ll be gone in a few weeks though when the show disappears from the schedule after three weeks of low viewer figures and scathing reviews. A “weekly newsy quizzy gossipy show” hardly sounds that original or interesting, does it?
Not the best sight so early in the morning...