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Browsing Archive: May, 2020

London's Folklore

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 29, 2020, In : Podcast 

Why is storytelling important? “It's the foundation of how we understand the world. When we're looking back on our own life, we make narratives about the people who we know and about ourselves and think about your life. You've always got the kind of grandparents who read out the same old stories again and again, and that's how you understand your own life. So our whole life and our whole thought is all structured around stories and a city like London is basically, you may say it's built br...


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Music Halls and Cabaret - from yesterday to today

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 22, 2020, In : Podcast 

Modern cabaret and burlesque shows can trace their roots back to the taverns and coffee houses of 18th century London. Hear how they grew in popularity and made history.

Variety shows in London still continue today, often with venues with a single doorway leading out into the street. Some are steeped in history and others are making history today.

Making history today is Ivy Paige, international showgirl, singer and burlesque queen. Check out our Episode 9 Podcast to hear Ivy's experiences back...


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A Fine House For A Ship's Captain

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Friday, May 22, 2020, In : Local History 

Rainham Hall, in the London Borough of Havering may not be the largest house in London, but it is certainly one of the most charming. Now owned by the National Trust it was built for a ship’s captain. Captain John Harle, one of the traders and ship owners who made 18th Century London wealthy, showed off his fortune by building Rainham Hall in 1729.

Harle was born in South Shields , in the North East of England and began his career sailing on ships bringing coal from Newcastle to feed London...


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Clattering Hooves Over London's Oldest Bridge

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Friday, May 22, 2020, In : Local History 

In the most South-Western corner of Greater London is the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. Many people think of this area as just the suburbs, but there is a lot of historic interest here.

This shouldn’t really be too surprising. It is one of only three Royal boroughs in London – the other two being Kensington and Chelsea, and Greenwich. Just think of the name – it means King’s manor/estate. It was first mentioned in royal records in 838. In the tenth century it was the place of ...


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The Monument to the Great Fire of London

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 15, 2020, In : Podcast 

The Great fire of London destroyed four fifths of the city. The monument on fifth street Hill is a memorial to the great fire, and those who rebuilt the city without rock and roll.


The monument is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. It took six years to build to the difficulty of getting a sufficient quantity of Portland stone or the required dimensions. This caused the King to issue a proclamation on the 4th of May, 1669 for bidding any person to transport stone from the Arla Port...


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The End of Londinium

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Roman London 

Dating the precise collapse of Roman rule in London is hard. However, a lack of archaeological finds for the fifth century suggests that the Roman city was largely empty by about 450. The Anglo-Saxons developed a new port in the late seventh century, but that was upstream from the old settlement at what is now Aldwych.


It used to be thought that an imperial rescript (a set of answers to queries) of the Emperor Honorius dated to 410 was a reply to an appeal from the Britons for help, in which h...


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Mithraeum

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Roman London 

In virus-free times you can visit three Roman sites within the City: the Amphitheatre underneath Guildhall Art Gallery, the baths on Lower Thames Street, and the Mithraeum in the Bloomberg Building. Each is definitely worth a visit, and the three are very different, not only in terms of the buildings’ original purpose, but also as visitor experiences.


The most high-tec is the Mithraeum. The construction of Bloomberg’s new European headquarters allowed for an extensive archaeological dig an...


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The Crutched Friars: London’s Least Known Religious Community

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Medieval 

Religious orders were divided into monks and nuns who followed a monastic life, and mendicants who followed a monastic rule but who went outside their house’s walls to preach, perform acts of charity and beg for alms. Complicating matters were canons regular, who were ordained priests (members of monastic and mendicant orders were not priests) who followed a monastic rule but who also went out into the community to preach.


The name ‘friar’ was commonly used to describe a member of a mend...


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Was Francis Tumblety Jack the Ripper?

Posted by Jenny Phillips, Jack the Ripper Tour Guide on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Jack the Ripper 

 A man of dubious character to be sure, as at 15 he was selling pornographic books and papers on the canal packet boats. He apparently disappeared from the area, returning years later he advertised he was ‘a great physician’, but he was really a man who sold potions from the back of a wagon. One of these, for pimples, was very effective and made him a fortune.  A boastful flamboyant man, who held sumptuous dinner parties in his tastefully furnished apartment in Washington, intimate with m...


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We'll Meet Again for VE Day 75

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 8, 2020, In : Things to Do in London 
For the first time in our 150 year history, the Royal Albert Hall will play host to a unique concert.

Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE will perform in an empty Royal Albert Hall in a special free online half-hour concert.

Katherine will sing wartime favourites including The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again; the latter performed as a virtual duet with Dame Vera Lynn. The timeless song, featuring the lyrics, ‘I know we’ll meet again some sunny day’, epitomised the emotion...
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True London Spy Stories

Posted by Hazel Baker on Thursday, May 7, 2020, In : Podcast 

Have you ever wondered how much of the James Bond stories are true? We all know 007 is a fictional character but the inspiration for the stories has to come from somewhere.


During the Second World War, the James Bond author Ian Fleming was a Naval intelligence officer at the time involved in the Goldeneye operation. Goldeneye eh - seem familiar? Fleming oversaw two of the intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T- Force throughout the Goldeneye operations.


His wartime service experiences provid...


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Explore London's History Through a Modern Mosaic

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Monday, May 4, 2020, In : City of London 
Over the last 20 years the riverfront in central London has been transformed. In many places it used to be dominated by derelict warehouses and seedy streets – not the sort of place for a pleasant stroll. How things have changed! In particular, on both the north and south banks of the Thames between Waterloo Bridge and Tower Bridge the pleasant river paths now make the regenerated river frontage accessible in most areas.

Whilst the path on the south has much of cultural interest (galleries,...
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