So here we are, the final stop – Wood Lane. I intend to do a full post reflecting back on the journey and my experiences along the way so I’ll leave most of the reflections for then. The current Wood Lane station opened on Sunday 12 October 2008 on the Hammersmith and City Line, the day before my 21st birthday! It was also during a pretty tumultuous period for Britain as the plans for the initial wave of the bank bailout were being formulated that weekend. In some ways it is ironic then that Wood Lane itself opened due to the arrival of the Westfield, a massive shopping mall, at exactly the time the retail boom of the past 15 years was coming to a close. It has been served by the Circle Line since December 2009 when it was extended down to Hammersmith.
Building wise, it’s quite an interesting structure. As its built up on a brick embankment(delights of Hammersmith and City Line!), they have left the exposed brick arches within the concourse area. The ticket office building itself, with its very slightly slanted glass windowed frontage, reminded me a bit of nearby White City while another nice historical touch was the old Underground roundel logo on the glass wall by the steps up to one of the platforms.
There had previously been two stations of the same name – One being slightly further south on the same stretch of the Hammersmith and City/Circle Line. It opened in 1908 as the Olympic Games and the Great Exhibition both took place nearby. It then closed during WW1 and when it finally reopened in 1920, only operated on an ad hoc basis when events were taking place in the nearby exhibition centre. It was renamed to White City in 1947 and then closed permanently following a fire in 1959. The other opened as the Western terminus of the Central Line in 1908 and closed in 1947 when replaced by White City. The station buildings for that stop remained in situ until 2003 when flattened for the Westfield, the development that in turn prompted the return of a Wood Lane station, albeit on a different line!
The Pub: The Defectors Weld, 170 Uxbridge Road, W12 8AA
Wood Lane is right near the edge of the Westfield and the former BBC Television Centre, the latter of which is now a building site. With no pubs right near the station, the best bet is walking south down Wood Lane to reach the edge of Shepherds Bush Green and the Defectors Weld. Now I know some people pointed out to me that the pub is closer to Shepherds Bush Market station, but it still showed up to me as the closest to Wood Lane, so for that reason it qualified!
Inside its a spacious, modern pub. With its big windows backing onto the street, the front section of the pub is suitably light and airy. I liked the lamps above the bar which reminded me of old Gramophones, the kind the HMV dog was listening into. The back section of the pub felt more cosy precisely because its away from the light coming in from the street. There are also a few comfy sofas dotted around the place too if you’re lucky enough to grab one of them! The Defectors Weld also has a small back garden with some rather funky painting on the wall as you can see from my gallery.
On the ale front, its a Youngs pub so you get their usual range of ales – Youngs Bitter, London Glory, as well as guest offerings Wandle, the appropriately named Red Wedge(no Ben Elton in site) – a defiant red ale – and finally Russian Winter from Itchen Valley, their Imperial Stout, complete with Hammer and Sickle on the the pump art. For lager fans there is Meantime and a wide selection of others including Gamma Ray, sadly no connection to the ’80s rock band. Food comes in the shape of contemporary pub grub at around the £11-£13, including the ‘W12 Burger’, Fish and Chips and Macaroni Cheese. I didn’t eat here but one of my friends had the burger and was very impressed.
As it was the last pub, I decided it would be only fitting to have a party to mark the end of it with friends who’d joined me in some far flung places. In some ways it almost felt like a birthday party! As a result, this was the longest time I’ve spent in a pub on the crawl, around 8 hours in total! The management also very kindly let me send over a playlist of music I’d like to hear on, and a number of the tracks made it. I was particularly happy when Careless Whisper by George Michael and its fantastic sax intro came on, I don’t think you hear that in many pubs… I also got Crazy, Crazy Nights by KISS on, a tune which seemed appropriate to my endeavours.
The Defectors Weld is a top pub and was a fitting place to end the blog. Its well worth a visit and also an excellent place for a party. I had a great time here and truly ended the blog on a high note. While I will be doing a final post bringing the blog to an end, this is my last pub review so I’d like to thank everyone whose read any of them over the last three years – I hope I’ve inspired a few pub trips along the way. Cheers!