Category: Uncategorized

guided walks around the City of London

Soane’s Tomb Inspired Telephone Box Design

The link between those iconic red telephone boxes in cities, towns and villages throughout Britain and the reputation of the Georgian architect Sir John Soane is worth remembering on this day, 20th January 2015. It is the date of his death in 1837 but that was a long time before the telephone was invented. A…
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Estuary at Dusk

The River Thames is no longer the commercial life-line of London. The Docks have gone; towering office structures and apartment blocks have replaced the quayside buildings that once stored spices and cotton, spirits and sugar, timber and tobacco imported from distant parts of the Empire. This river has seen pageants, funerals and frost fairs. For…
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Red Bus Nostalgia

It’s a privilege to walk and explore the streets of this great capital but on these damp, dreary November days taking a bus can be an adventure. So my recent late afternoon journey from Fenchurch Street in the City to Barking Station on numbers 40, 115, 474 and 366 was an opportunity to share the…
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The Master Stands Tall

How can we judge the genius of Sir Christopher Wren when the evidence of his talent and architectural skills is increasingly overshadowed by the modern office blocks which are changing the City skyline? The answer is straightforward enough. Just stop and take a minute or two to admire the churches he designed and re-built which…
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Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

The carpet of red poppies at the Tower of London is a fitting tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War. The inspiration comes from a poem found in Chesterfield Library and written by an unknown soldier who died in the trenches, How ironic that it comes at a time when…
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Child Victims of London’s First Air Raid

Row after row of headstones marking the battlefields of France and Belgium the memorials and overgrown graves in villages up and down Britain all remind us of the horrors of World War One which started in August 1914. So many tragedies, so many lost husbands, sons and brothers who have never been found. Millions of…
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Keeping Their Feet on the Ground

The weather was just a bit too hot to climb the 311 steps to the top of the Monument but members of the Shepway and District U3A were still prepared to walk through the City and visit three churches re-built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 – St. Mary Abchurch, St.…
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Creating City Colour in West Ham Park

The City has many secrets and not all of them are in the Square Mile – like West Ham Park. This is the largest public park in Newham and was bought from the family of Samuel Gurney, the City banker, with a donation from the City of London in 1873. It remains a well-maintained 77…
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Nostalgic Trip to Woodford

The 2014 Spring and Summer speaking season is well underway and a new venue on my calendar was the Memorial Hall at High Road, Woodford where I gave a talk to over 150 members of the Wanstead-Woodford U3A. For me it meant a return to my childhood haunts and was close to Churchfields Primary School…
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Stories Under the Stones

Some of the grim and harrowing stories of London can be seen among the gravestones of the cemeteries in and around the capital. Take Swedish-born Elizabeth Stride for example who was believed to be the third victim of Jack the Ripper in 1888. Her remains lie in a corner of East London Cemetery in Plaistow…
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