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London’s First Coffeehouse

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Monday, July 6, 2020, In : Eighteenth Century 

London’s first coffeehouse was founded in 1652 by the churchyard of St Michael’s, Cornhill. It was not quite the first coffeehouse in England, which had been founded in Oxford two years earlier, and it was not really a coffeehouse - more of a coffee shack. Business blossomed for the man behind it, Pasqua Rosee, and soon he was selling 600 dishes a day. From this start, the capital had acquired several hundred coffeehouses by the turn of the century, a development which set London apart fr...


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Coffee Houses - a hotbed for revolution

Posted by Hazel Baker - London Tour Guide on Saturday, June 6, 2020, In : Eighteenth Century 

Coffeehouses became a hub of news and inevitably a place where new ideas were formed. Boy runners were sent from coffee house to coffee house in order to relay information on major events of the day. After a while coffeehouses became members only clubs in order control the clientele and raise the status of the particular coffeehouse. This conversion of coffee houses into clubs came at the same time as coffee consumption began to decline due to import duties on coffee increased significantly....


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London's Coffeehouses of 18th Century London

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Friday, June 5, 2020, In : Eighteenth Century 

London's coffeehouse culture and its commerce were intrinsically linked. During the 18th century a new active culture evolved. Coffeehouses sprang up all over London and attracted a variety of patrons with a head for business. The crowd at coffeehouses included doctors, merchants, writers and politicians.

Over two-thousand coffee houses existed in London by the closing of the seventeenth century. Here are some of London's prominent coffeehouses in the 18th century that we didn't have time t...


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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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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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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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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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Rare objects paint a new picture of Bronze Age London

Posted by Hazel Baker on Monday, February 10, 2020, In : Things to Do in London 

A total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 have been discovered in Havering, Greater London. They were uncovered by archaeologists from Archaeological Solutions, as part of a planned excavation.

A pair of terret rings will be on display at the Museum of Docklands’ new exhibition: Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery. 

What are terret rings?

Terret rings are believed to have been used to prevent the reins of a horse from tangling on carts. 

These are the first Bronze Age ex...


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Keep Calm and Carry on Worshipping

Posted by Susan Baker, London Tour Guide on Thursday, February 6, 2020, In : 20th century 

August this year will be the 80th anniversary of the start of the Blitz, that constant bombing in the Second World War which, second only to the Great Fire of London, changed the face of this great City.

A symbol of the Blitz spirit can be found inside a church in the City of London, only a stone’s throw from that great survivor of the bombing, St Paul’s Cathedral.  St Vedast in Foster Lane, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London, was not so fortunate.  On 30th December 1940 it wa...


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Medieval London: Holy Trinity Priory

Posted by Ian, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, In : Medieval 

If you peer in the window of a modern office building at the end of Leadenhall Street, where it meets Fenchurch Street, you can see what is left of Holy Trinity Priory. All that remains is an arch which once led from the choir to a side chapel. There is little to indicate the priory’s former grandeur.

Holy Trinity was one of England’s wealthiest religious houses, and after the crown it was the largest landowner in the capital. We have a papal taxatio - a valuation - from 1291 whic...


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What is the strange contraption in St Magnus the Martyr church?

Posted by Susan Baker, London Guided Walks tour Guide on Saturday, January 4, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 

As you enter the church of St Magnus the Martyr, just to the east of London Bridge, you would be forgiven for missing this strange wooden contraption to the right.  What is it?  Not a mobile pop up food stall.  It’s a very early fire engine.  How appropriate it should be in this church as a reminder of the dangers of fire, particularly in medieval London.

St Magnus was the second church to be destroyed in the Great Fire of London – the Monument being built on the site of the first...


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Leadenhall Market: the Heart of Roman London

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, London Tour Guide on Friday, January 3, 2020, In : Roman London 

Leadenhall Market stands in the very centre of Londinium, for underneath its buildings and avenues lie the remains of the forum.

The Romans began their conquest of Britannia in 43AD, and the settlement of London began sometime after. We do not know exactly when, but perhaps the most important find from a great deal of archaeological digging in the capital points to very rapid development. A timber drain found under No 1 Poultry dates to 47AD, indicating that a road was constructed by ...


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Hidden Roman London

Posted by Susan Baker on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, In : Hidden 

When I wander round the City of London ( “the City” or “the Square Mile”) it is always a delight to find remains from our past amongst the hustle and bustle of the modern business centre.  Many City workers rush around without seeing their history all around them – I know I was guilty of this when I worked in an office in the City.

However, some things are rather more difficult to spot than others.  This remnant of the ancient (originally Roman) city wall is an example.  I h...


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Al fresco brunch at The Plumstead Pantry

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, In : Local History 
Do you have a favourite London al fresco spot? Tell us!

Here's my review of The Plumstead Pantry
With the sun shining I decided to head on out for a spot of al fresco lunch. We jumped on the bus to Plumstead to The Plumstead Pantry. This is somewhere I have been itching to go for a few months after stumbling across them on Facebook. Having missed their August lates I wanted to take full advantage of the Indian summer.

We were lucky to have a table for two outside in the sunshine, overlooking Plu...
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Beasts of London: a Review

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, In : Events 
Rats, horses, a dormouse, pigeons and geese, the Museum of London is turned into a menagerie of beastly wonder.

In partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Museum of London's latest exhibition 'Beasts of London' is a journey through London’s history, told through its animals who have lived in London and those who still call it home.

It's described as an experience rather than an exhibition even though there are a handful of artefacts on display including an impressive prese...
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FREE music festival at the Barbican

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, In : Events 
Music will burst from the Barbican and out across Culture Mile’s architectural gems with a line-up of artists for whom the boundaries between classical and contemporary, experimental and jazz are blurred – or never even existed in the first place.

Venues include:
Barbican Lakeside, Hall, Conservatory and Cinema
St Giles' Cripplegate
Silk Street Music Hall
LSO St Luke's
Museum of London
fabric
The Charterhouse
St Bartholomew the Great
Cloth Fair
St Bartholomew the Less
Piano Smithfield

From authentic m...
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#BeBoldforChange - looking back to move forward

Posted by Hazel Baker | London Guided Walks on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, In : Tudor 



International Women's Day is a day where people come together to help forge a better working world, a more gender inclusive world. This year's International Women's Day is #BeBoldForChange

By definition bold means 
(of a person, action, or idea) showing a willingness to take risks; confident and courageous. Bold, taking risks, confident and courageous aren't words often associate with women, not in a positive light. But why?

Women such as Anne Askew, Edith Cavell and Fanny Burney are all wom...


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