please empty your brain below

Except Bayham Street does have some excitement as Charles Dickens once lived there.
There is a 1985 documentary about the 31 bus I believe still on the iplayer.
Used to live near this route in part of the 90's. It was run by tiny single deck buses for a while, as part of some misguided cost cutting measure. The service was unreliable and somewhat of a cause célèbre in parts of north London.

I once saw a fine photo of a RM style 31 outside the Aereated Bread Company on Camden Road, now replaced by Grimshaw's Sainsbury's supermarket.
It's a shame it no longer goes from World's end to World's end as it used to do before 1999. We started (but never finished) pubcrawling the route from both ends
Used to be my local route (in South Hampstead) once upon a time. I never could quite put my finger on why those flats along the south side of Belsize Road looked so horrible - so cheap - so industrial - so undesirable - so not really residential, so reeking of desperation and despair. But "telephone exchanges" is spot on.

St Augustine's Church is stunning inside, too.
I've lived, worked, played and gone to school near to this route so I've used it many times over the years. This route, and route 28, used to have some friendly bus crews back in the 80s who would get to know their passengers. Imagine that happening today.
As Lorenzo said, it was a disaster when they got rid of the Routemasters and replaced them with Hoppa type buses, the overcrowding was a chronic problem.
Last year I walked the length of the old route to visit locations shown in the documentary that kissenme mentioned to see how things have changed in thirty years.

If anyone hasn't seen the documentary then they should, it's a real gem.
That conversion of routes 28 and 31 from Routemasters to midi-buses on a more frequent basis was the first time, for many people, that Peter Hendy came to the public attention. As MD of CentreWest, is was not his finest hour.

Still, he's made up for it by consumating his love for the old Routemasters by becoming one of the most famous private owners of one.

Bus drivers on the hail and ride routes, or those which operate for "shopping" e.g. 389/399, 965, often know their regular passengers.
Nice write up. While not a regular user I've used the 31 in Routemaster, minibus, Dennis Dart and modern double deck eras. The changes over the years - especially in and around Notting Hill are striking. I recently "finished off" the 31 as I had the NHG - W City section left to do and was similarly gobsmacked at the scale of demolition at Westfield.

Given how Shepherds Bush grinds to a halt every festive season because of people driving to Westfield I dread to think how much worse it will be with the new extension. I read some of the planning application papers which seemed to suggest there would be little extra stress on local roads from the expanded centre. I can't believe that will prove to be correct.

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