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London's First Hero?

March 22, 2020
London's First Hero?
Londinium – the city built by the Roman’s we now call London started some time around 43AD. You can see lots of physical evidence of Londinium – parts of the City wall, tiled floors in church crypts, even the amphitheatre where gladiators fought. And there are plentiful objects from Londinium in the Museum of London. However, the names of the people who lived in Londinium are harder to find. One of the few we know the name of is someone who had an important role in building the city - Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus.
Londinium started with a bridge – not far from the site of modern London Bridge. If you have a bridge you need soldiers to guard it. If you have soldiers, you need supplies to keep them fed. And if you have supplies you need merchants to provide them. By 60 AD Londinium had grown into a sizeable settlement – a possibly with a population of around 40,000. Disaster struck the city with the revolt of the Celtic Queen Boudicca of the Iceni tribe attacking London on her rampage of revenge for Roman mistreatment of her people. The Roman’s had seized Boudicca’s land, raped her daughters in front of her then had Boudicca flogged in front of her people. In response Boudicca raised an army that burnt down the Roman city of Camulodonum (Colchester). She then turned her attention to Londinium.
Panic struck Londinium. Most of the Roman troops were away fighting in Wales, leaving Londinium defenceless. Those that could leave did, including the Procurator (the administrator of the city) Catus Decianus, who fled to Gaul. In the slaughter that followed everyone who remained in London was put to death and the city burnt to the ground. Roman Governor Suetonius Paulinius regrouped his soldiers and defeated Boudicca, though almost certainly not on the site of Kings Cross station as popular myth states.
Now it was time to rebuild and Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus became the new Procurator, but first there needed to be peace in Brittania. Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicianus is concerned that Suetonius Paulinius is taking vicious revenge upon the rest of Celtic people, leading to a cycle of violence that will never end. He decides to report Suetonius to the Emperor Nero, who fearing the collapse of the new province decided to sack Suetonius Paulinius and replace him with a new Governor who makes peace with the Celts.
Over the next 5 years Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicanus oversees the rebuilding of Londinium, making it a more permanent settlement, never to be destroyed again. On his death in AD65 his wife Jullia Pacata commissioned this impressive tombstone which you can see in the British Museum. It was found embedded in the Roman Wall not far from Tower Hill tube station, where a replica of it stands today. You can see the original on one of our British Museum tours, and the Roman Wall on one of our regular Roman London walks. As a man of peace and reconstruction I nominate Gaius Julius Alpinus Classicanus as the first London hero.
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London Markets: Ancient and Modern

March 15, 2020
What are these? They are known as the London Fields Flower Sellers. You will find them and also sculptures of sheep in London Fields park in Hackney, east London. They were created in the 1980’s by local artists Freeform Arts Trust and local schoolchildren to remind us of the area’s history.

London Fields used to be on the edge of London and what is now the park was grazing area. Drovers, who had brought their animals from miles away, would stop to give their animals a rest and a chance t...

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Bishopsgate Before the Great Fire of London

March 3, 2020

Suspended high on a wall in the Victoria and Albert Museum is the facade of a London house from before the Great Fire of 1666.


It is a complex succession of curves and angles forming two windows which give rise to a semi-circular column in the centre. The wooden panels are  decorated with scrolls, masks, cartouches and strapwork.


The house belonged to Sir Paul Pindar, the English consul in Aleppo and subsequently  ambassador to the Ottoman court. Pindar traded in alum and tobacco and helped adm...


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Was Martha Tabram a Ripper Victim?

March 3, 2020
For many years it was not acknowledged that Martha Tabram (Turner) was a victim of Jack.

However, in a recent documentary Jack the Ripper Case Reopened, presented by Emilia Fox, star of Silent Witness with help from Professor David Wilson, a expert criminologist, they uncover many fact that point to the fact that Martha could have been Jack’s first victim not Mary Ann Nichols or Polly as she is better known. Calling this the ultimate cold case he carefully looks at the murders with cold case...


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Wanders in London with a camera phone

March 3, 2020

The days are getting longer and the nights are getting shorter as we reach the end of winter. Nighttime can be such a great time for photos. Don't put your camera away just because the sun has gone down. 

When it's dark, there's a whole other city out there waiting to be captured. This photo was from my walk through Hyde Park in February. Do you know the building? When I posted this on my social media, so many people couldn't figure out what this building was. Even though they've visited it. W...


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A Team of London History Experts

February 28, 2020
London Guided Walks is growing from strength to strength



As a solopreneur moving into a leadership role I wanted to get all our tour guides together and work on our core principles and our identity as London Guided Walks. 

Wanting to set the right tone, instead of meeting in a pub (the usual hang out for London tour guides) we met at our office's meeting room (bribed by sandwiches, coffee and cake). 

In this session, complete with a colourful presentation and a whiteboard, we delved into the det...


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Things to do in London (for Londoners)
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We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant world city. Sometimes though, it's hard to find events off the tourist trail and experience the real Londo...
 

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