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Browsing Archive: April, 2020

The Roman London Wall: Why it Was Built

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London tour guide on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, In : Roman London 

The wall is the most imposing survivor from Roman London. It can be seen to good effect at Tower Green, Cooper’s Row, and inside a car park on London Wall. At Tower Green it stands 20 feet tall, with an extra 10 feet added in the medieval period. On top of the Roman wall there was probably a walkway which would have had a crenellated breastwork and been punctuated by turrets. The wall was two miles long, making it by far the longest city wall in the province of Britannia, and it would have ...


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Taking the Plunge in Greenwich Park

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, April 23, 2020, In : Georgian 
The remains of the house of Queen Caroline lie in the south-west corner of Greenwich Park. Easily missed, they require a degree of imagination to reconstruct what this area adjacent to what is now the wall might have looked like.

Caroline famously did not get on with her husband, George Prince of Wales who succeeded to the throne as George IV in 1820. They married in 1795 and had decided by 1796 to live apart as much as possible. 

She lived in Montague House on the site from 1798 to 1813, ta...

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John Pizer a Possible Jack the Ripper Suspect?

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Thursday, April 23, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 
After Polly Nichols was murdered by Jack the Ripper on 31 August 1888, followed by Annie Chapman a few days later on 8 September, the police questioned many members of the local community asking if they knew anybody locally who showed a hatred for prostitutes, someone who might attack them, rob them or rape them.

Many people were eager to help the police catch this terrible killer and came forward with a possible suspect - John Pizer, a Polish Jew working at a boot- finisher. Being in that t...

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Earth Day 2020

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, In : Events 

Wednesday 22 April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.


It’s a time when millions across the globe partake in positive action in order to raise awareness and save the planet.


This year will be different. Earth day 2020 will be the first ever digital Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to use hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE to safely raise awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic.


It’s clear to see benefits of reduced air traffic from the wonderfully bright blue skies across London...


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Virtual Events for Your Enjoyment

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Theatre 
MUSIC/OPERA


  • British Music Embassy Sessions - PRS for Music has gathered UK artists unable to play the cancelled SXSW festival for the British Music Embassy sessions. Here’s the link to their live sessions on Youtube.

  • English National Ballet Philharmonic - The musicians that make the ENB Philharmonic play the Swan Lake Overture from their homes. Available on Youtube.

  • Support independent musicians performing at home - Isolate Live is a Facebook page that is organising online streamed concerts fr...


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Connecting the World from South-East London

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Local History 
In the latter part of the nineteenth century the new industries of chemicals, electrical engineering and pharmaceuticals increasingly took the place that cotton and railways had occupied as the leading sectors in an earlier phase of industrialization. Increasingly too, it was the fast-growing economies of Germany and the US that blazed the path for the new technologies.

One of the new industries, electrical machinery under the influence of German know-how put down roots in Charlton in south-...

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Looking for Old London Bridge

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 
London Bridge is Falling Down. Anyone know a song about that? London Bridge certainly has a record of having been built and replaced many times. The first Roman bridge was built around 43AD but was replaced by a more permanent structure in 55AD (there is a great model of this bridge in the Museum of London). When the Roman’s rule ended their bridge fell into disrepair and London was left bridgeless until 878 when a Saxon bridge crossed the Thames slightly downstream from the Roman one. Acc...

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The Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, In : Podcast 

The Crown Jewels reside under armed guard in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. 


Over 30 million people have seen them in their present setting at the Tower. They are possibly the most visited objects in Britain, perhaps the world.


It’s such a unique working collection of royal regalia with some still being used by The Queen for important national ceremonies, such as the State Opening of Parliament. Others are only used at a monarch’s coronation. 


Since 1066, coronation ceremonies have ...


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Woolwich Arsenal: Classical Splendour Meets Storage Space

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, In : 20th century 

The Grand Store at the Woolwich Arsenal was built between 1806 and 1813, by James and Lewis Wyatt, and as the name implies was used to house items for the Arsenal itself, and for bits of kit for the army and navy. The picture shows Building 46, which was the western wing. It is built in brick, with Purbeck limestone dressings. In the middle is a triangular pediment supported on four giant pilasters. The windows are recessed and those on the ground floor are arched. The building was not made c...


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Childhood Food Memories

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 11, 2020, In : Eating 

I recently saw a conversation on twitter about people's childhood foods. Some of the contributors shared their memories of sugar sandwiches and tomato ketchup sandwiches and it got me thinking.

Food helps shape the identity of people's whole life experiences.It's a bonding ritual between friends, families and communities. Can you remember a children's birthday party when you went to as a child which didn't have food? No? Me neither. Being a child from the 980s many of my memories are of psyche...
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Merchant Seamen’s Memorial, Trinity Square

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, April 9, 2020, In : Local History 

Just north of the Tower and in front of Trinity House stands the Mercantile Marine Memorial, which was built to commemorate the merchant seamen killed in the Great War.


It is a vaulted passage way with three bays, and with Doric columns.The dead are listed under the names of their ships on bronze plaques on the walls. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens, with the sculpture by William Reid Dick. Reid Dick’s other work includes the boy and goose on Lutyens’ headquarters for the Midland Bank, no...


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Your Theatre Fix (digitally)

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, In : Theatre 
I don't know about you but I cannot live without the arts in my life. 

This lockdown has enabled several artists, art organisations and exhibitions to open up their digital archives. 
I have broken them into genres: Musicals
The Wind in the Willows - One for families, this long-running West End show is up here for free. Just register and consider donating to their suggested theatre charities before watching.  Read our review here.

The Other Palace - Off-West End theatre The Other Palace is st...

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Visit Egypt (Virtually)

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, In : Travel 

This is for lovers of Ancient Egypt

If you missed visiting the TUTANKHAMUN: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibit at Saatchi Gallery then fret not. 

I have been lucky enough to have visited Egypt twice, once for my 21st birthday and the millenium and the other on my honeymoon. Ancient Egypt has called to me for as long as I can remember. 

Who was Tutankhamun?
Egypt's most famous pharaoh is Tutankhamun. The 'bog king's' intact tomb was discovered in 1922 by British explorer Howard Carter and his...


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End of the Line for London’s Effluent

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 4, 2020, In : Victorian 

Situated 11 miles down river along the Thames Path from London Bridge is a Victorian building 

containing the world’s largest rotative steam engines. Crossness Pumping Station, built between 1859 and 1865,  is the end point on the south bank of the river of Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer system.


There were four engines built by James Watt & Co. named Albert Edward, Alexandra, Prince Consort and Victoria, named after the leading members of the royal family, which lifted the raw, untreated waste a...


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