The next jolly jaunt through the streets of the City will be on Sunday 30th for thinkingbob. We will be discovering a hotbed of creative writing, seditious libel (allegedly), the home of the great Dr Johnson and the story of a very famous Polly the parrot.
In July 2014 I conducted a walk for a work team which had two leavers, both Chartered Accountants. The aim was to fuse together a bit of light-hearted fun, taking in the premises of the accountancy firms they trained with, reviewing the history of the areas in which they and other colleagues once worked and to give a chance to show off some of the hidden passageways, alleys, courts and gardens of the City.
All this whilst keeping everyone’s interest in the heat and allowing the chance of ice creams or gin and tonics as the group desired. Plus the two leavers each had a personalised stop. I’m pleased to say we had a thoroughly fun afternoon. Here’s a preview of some of the things we discovered:
- Where the “Salisbury” comes from in Salisbury Square
- Where Dr Johnson lived and how he defined accountants
- How stealing three turkeys could get you a very long, involuntary trip abroad
- Postman’s Park (delightful place for an ice-cream stop)
- The wonderfully named Prudent Passage
- Chartered Accountants Hall – not the most exciting sounding, but one of the most extravagant of the City’s livery halls
- The Coffee Shops – as we all need a kick in the morning it’s fun to see how (and where) drinking diluted brown grit first took off in London.
1st July 2013 – a very enjoyable afternoon taking a group of Japanese visitors through the route of the Great Fire of London. Tower Hill, tube to Monument, then through the route of the fire to Temple. It’s funny to reflect that London would lack some of its unique charm if it weren’t for our inability to agree on change: faced with all sorts of fancy designs to rebuild London in the emerging European style with avenues and piazzas we decided to widen the streets a touch, add only a couple of new ones and stick to the random development of streets that make the City what it is!
It was a great pleasure to be joined by my first six customers on our walk around Clerkenwell on Saturday 25th August. During the walk, which is entitled “Radicals, Religion and Rivers”, we explored the fascinating history of the area, stretching back 1000 years. It felt like the weather was putting on its very own radical display in our honour, as we encountered thunder, lightning and torrential rain. However with some umbrellas and the judicious use of overhanging buildings and the wonderful London Plane trees we were able to beat the weather and undertake this discovery of this historically rich quarter just outside the City of London.
The walk uncovers the secret of the name Clerkenwell (which was particularly apt for a bank holiday), how fresh water and rivers were fundamental to the establishment of three ancient and important religious institutions together with a canter through some of the radical characters and events associated with the area, which include the Peasants Revolt, May Day marches and the publication of a radical Russian counter-establishment newspaper under the personal supervision of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. We also cover some important literary associations, passing the spot where Mr Brownlow was pickpocketed in Oliver Twist and find out the self-confessed mischief Samuel Pepys got up to in St James’ church.
For more details and the details of some other organised walks, please click here for more information on this and other walks brought to you by members of the Clerkenwell and Islington Guides Association.