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The Mousetrap and Agatha Christie

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, In : Theatre 

On this day in 1952 Agatha Christie's play "The Mousetrap" opened in London at the Ambassadors Theatre and has played at the St Martin's Theatre since 1973. In 1954 she became the first woman to have three plays running in London at the same time.

Agatha Christie was a prolific writer of novels, short stories and plays and is best known for her series of crime books featuring detectives Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple.

The Agatha Christie memorial on Cranbourne Street near Leicester Square tube...


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Lockdown Street Art – A Tribute To The NHS

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Friday, August 14, 2020, In : Art 

Lockdown has been such a strange time for us all but there has been so much culture available to us online.  However, the other day whilst making my way through the back streets from the South Bank to Waterloo Station I came across a physical example of what has been produced.  A celebration of the heroes of our time – the NHS - through street art.


Under the railway bridge between Waterloo and Waterloo East is this tribute - the NHS as Superman - by Lionel Stanhope. He trained as a sign writ...


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A Modern Monument to 2,000 Years of History

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, In : City of London 

As you cross the Thames on the Millennium Bridge (the “wobbly bridge”) you may well not be aware that immediately below you on the north bank river path there is a fascinating record of the history of London and the UK, scientific instruments/inventions and religion in London over the last 2,000 years.

 

Leading up to the year 2000 the northern riverside, round where the bridge is now, was completely regenerated. An accessible and pleasant riverside promenade was created where previously it...


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A Recording Studio in St Johns Wood - but Not Abbey Road!

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Tuesday, July 21, 2020,

Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood is one of London’s biggest tourist hotspots that isn’t open to tourists. Thousands of people visit each year, graffitiing their name on the studio’s outside wall (and their neighbours’ walls too) and attempting to recreate the Beatles’ famous walk over the zebra crossing from the cover of the Abbey Road album. And rightly so. London should be proud of being the place where arguably the most famous album in the world was recorded, part of London...


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Ten Things To Know About Mary Seacole

Posted by Hazel Baker on Thursday, June 18, 2020, In : Victorian 

Mary Seacole is credited as being a brave doctress and entrepreneur. There was an inner strength within Mary Seacole which made her overcome many barriers. Here are some facts about her. 



1. Born in Jamaica

Mary Seacole was born Mary Jane Grant on 23 November 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother was a practitioner of traditional Jamaican medicine. In 1655 Jamaica was seized by the British. At the time Mary was born, most Jamaicans worked as slaves. Howeve...


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Ten Things To Know About Florence Nightingale

Posted by Hazel Baker on Thursday, June 18, 2020, In : Victorian 

Florence Nightingale is credited as the founder of modern nursing. She strived to improve the standards of nursing, notably during the Crimean war. There was something special and extraordinary about Florence Nightingale and here are some facts about her.



1. ‘International Nurses Day’ is on her birthday

International Nurses' Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. Her birthday is also celebrated as International CFS (chronic f...


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The Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Saturday, June 13, 2020, In : Greenwich 

London does not really do triumphal architecture in the way continental cities do. It has grown up piecemeal, with a belief in private enterprise, suspicion of autocratic government, and a relatively impecunious monarchy.


Greenwich is in some ways the exception, and one of the best views in all of Britain is to be had looking south at it from Island Gardens on the north bank of the Thames, or better still, as it was meant to be seen, from a boat on the river. It is undeniably grand. However, g...


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Shopping For Our History in Kingston-upon-Thames

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Saturday, June 13, 2020, In : Local History 

In these strange times we have more time to look more closely at some of the familiar spots in our own locality. So, I had time to stop and study this over-the-top shop frontage in the historic market place of Kingston-upon-Thames – normally full of shoppers but it was very quiet as most shops were still closed. 

At first sight this Grade II listed building might be thought to be Medieval or Tudor but the two dates 1909 and 1929 give away the fact that it is just over 100 years old and built...


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The Old Operating Theatre Museum

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Thursday, June 11, 2020, In : Things to Do in London 

Up a narrow 52-step spiral staircase and in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas' Hospital is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe. Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, this atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. The original timber framed Herb Garret was once used to dry and store herbs for patients' medicines and in 1822 an operating theatre was included. The Old Operating Theatre Museum has a sp...


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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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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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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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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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Literary London Tube Map

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Friday, February 21, 2020, In : Literary London 

How well do you know literary London via its tube stations?

In The Book's literary-themed map replaces stations with famous novels based on the area they were set in London, a nice way of sharing some my favourite books (which are also some of our most popular tours). How many do you know?

Oliver Twist is set around Islington. Clerkenwell Green (Farringdon being the closest station) is where poor Oliver Twist is wrongly accused of trying to pick the pocket of Mr Brownlow. Oliver Twist Tour st...


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Smartphone Photo Walks

Posted by Alastair Hilton on Sunday, January 19, 2020, In : Smartphone Photo Walks 

Happy New Year to you all!

Christmas seems a lifetime ago, doesn't it? How are your new year resolutions coming along? Have you been to the gym? Have you refrained from the alcohol? Don't worry, I don't tell anyone if you haven't!

Whatever resolutions you break, the one to keep, is getting out in London with your phone, having a wander and taking some great photos. Luckily, we've got just the walks for you!

From our first Southbank photowalk that we introduced last year, we've now add...


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When is Twelfth Night?

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, January 1, 2020, In : Christmas 

It is said that it is bad luck to leave your Christmas decorations up past Twelfth Night. But when is Twelfth Night?

One of the biggest surprises for those on my Victorian Christmas Walk is that at the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. It’s hard to imagine that many businesses did not even consider it a holiday and for most it was simply yet another working day. Instead Twelfth Night was the big event in the calendar associated with parties and drinking....


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London photography in December

Posted by Alastair Hilton on Saturday, December 14, 2019, In : Smartphone Photo Walks 

Halfway through December and the days are short and the nights are long. Perfect! For photography in London, we now get the best of both worlds, the light and the dark, without staying up really late!

Our smartphone photo walk along Southbank the other day showed what a great time if year this really is. Starting the tour at 3pm, we got some lovely photos of the area and the river and bridges. Then, as we stood photographing the view across the Thames towards St Paul's Cathedral, the ...


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NEW: Smartphone Photo Walks in London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, December 13, 2019, In : Smartphone Photo Walks 

Learn how to take great photos with your smartphone with professional photographer Alastair Hilton.

During the photo walk, Alastair will set photography challenges, nurture your photographic eye and help you develop a better understanding of what makes a great photo. 

At the end of the 2 hour tour you will have gained a collection of photos you will feel proud of and having gained insight as to how to improve your smartphone photography. 


Our smartphone photo walks are external focu...


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Victorian Christmas in Islington with Rob Smith

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, December 13, 2019, In : Christmas Events 
Brand New for 2019

London Guided Walks are proud to present A Victorian Christmas in Islington presented by our very own Clerkenwell and Islington tour guide Rob Smith

The Victorians totally reinvented Christmas and this walk looks at how it was celebrated in Islington in the 1860s. Taking stories from local newspaper's of the period Rob will conjure up the sights of sounds of Christmas - the shops being readied for Christmas day, acts performing at the music hall, decorations for sale and ba...
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Guided Walks this Christmas

Posted by Hazel @ London Guided Walks on Friday, December 13, 2019, In : Christmas Events 

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Soho-Ho Treasure Hunt

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, In : Christmas Events 
Our Soho-Ho Treasure Hunt kicked off the Christmas season on Sunday.

Forty people donned their santa hats and explored the area of Carnaby street looking for answers to our cryptic clues in the streets and in shop windows.

Here's a short video of what you missed: https://youtu.be/AfQGwb32Yr0


Our Soho-Ho Treasure Hunt makes a fun Christmas Event for corporates or friends and family.
Who knows, we may see you on our next public Soho-Ho Christmas Treasure Hunt next year with new clues!
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Half-Price Half-Term London Walks

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, October 2, 2019, In : Half Term 

Looking for a fun way to keep the kids entertained this half term? 

We have half-price tickets for our half-term London walks to keep the kids busy and entertained. Half price tickets available for half term week Monday 21  - Saturday 26 October 2019

Adult tickets £6 & Kids £4 + booking fee

All our mid-week half term walk start at 1pm and at a tube station.



Monday 21 October, 1pm Wonders of Whitehall

Explore the historical district of Whitehall see the iconic Houses of Parliament and Wes...


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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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Old Mill Pub, Plumstead

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, In : Local History 

The Old Mill pub is a historic pub right on Plumstead Common. The windmill was built on Plumstead Common in 1764.


In 1827, there was an accident at the mill when so many people crowded onto the stage to watch a sham fight that it gave way, injuring a number of them. In 1848, the mill was converted into a brewhouse, having been disused for a number of years previously.


Plumstead Common Windmill was marked on the 1819-43 Ordnance Survey map. Photographs show it was once tied t...


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London's Brunch Festival

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Eating 
Saturday 31 August & Sunday 1 September 2019
The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane
Tickets: £12.50 + booking fee
VIP Tickets: £35 + booking fee

This will be the biggest celebration of brunch London has ever seen. There will be coffee, there will be booze, also workshops, talks, music and most importantly … more perfectly delectable brunch food, yum yum.

Event includes:

Marketplace
- 10 amazing Brunch Headliners who will each be serving a special festival menu

Sweet Street
- packed full of...
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Nunhead Cemetery Open Day 2019

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, May 2, 2019, In : Events 
Saturday, 18th May, 2019 11am - 5pm
FREE
Nearest Station: Nunhead

What does the event entail?
Cemetery tour including visits to the chapel and crypt which are not usually open to the public.
Seek guidance on family history
Food and drinks at our café.

More Nunhead open day information

Find out more about Nunhead Cemetery in our blog post.
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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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Beasts of London, Museum of London

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, In : Events 
When: 5 April 2019 – 5 January 2020
Where: Museum of London
Suitable for: 7 years+
Price: Variable. Family tickets from £20

Beasts of London experience at the Museum of London explores the fascinating role animals have played in shaping the capital. Step into a self-guided tour through London’s beasty history, narrated by the animals who once lived here. 

Follow the footprints to travel through time, from the Roman era through Medieval London and right up to present day, narrated by the b...
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Unusual Work Christmas Parties

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, In : Christmas 

Need to organise a Christmas works do with a difference? 


Being a small business owner, one thing I don't miss are those awkward Christmas work dos, where you're sipping a glass of paint thinner disguised as white wine while trying to look like you are having a good time.

If you need to organise your work’s Christmas do, give them an experience they can share and remember with our Christmas corporate events. This is your chance to get out of the office and to explore an area of Lo...


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New Solo Show to open at Curious Duke Gallery

Posted by London Guided Walks on Saturday, March 11, 2017, In : Art 



Solo Show of Contemporary Artist Louise McNaught explores the theme endangered animals through paintings and 3D painted sculptures at the Curious Duke Gallery, currently London's leading urban and contemporary art space for emerging artists. 

The exhibition on opens Friday 7th April. McNaught's wonderfully colourful combinations of animals and neons where the animals are ‘God-like, sublime and ethereal in their luminescence.’ 

McNaught embraces a mixed-media approach which is motivated by e...


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Sensational Butterflies at Natural History Museum

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, March 9, 2017, In : Attractions 



This Easter, escape to the tropical butterfly house and see the crawling caterpillar transform into the beautiful butterfly at the all-time favourite National History Museum.

Sensational Butterflies returns for its ninth year in 2017 and remains a spring and summer favourite for schools, families and anyone seeking solace from the busy London streets.

Running from the 31 March – 17 September you can see so many butterflies and learn about their lives in the specially constructed tropical en...


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Visit the Wellington Arch

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, June 18, 2015, In : Georgian 

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Wellington Arch is an English Heritage property which has an interesting exhibition about the battle and reveals a few details which are missed from the English history class rooms.

Wellington Arch now sits at Hyde Park Corner, where Kensington Road meets Piccadilly near its junction with Park Lane, and where the Kensington Turnpike Trust had its tollgate. As a result, Hyde Park Corner became thought of unofficially as the new entrance...


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Farewell Christmas Lights

Posted by London Guided Walks on Sunday, January 4, 2015, In : Guided Walks 
It's not yet the 6th day of Christmas and yet many retailers in the West End have taken down their Christmas decorations. The 2 tonne Christmas canopy of Selfridges on Oxford Street disappeared overnight. Where is Harry the Golden Goose now?

Even though each season has it's own charms, there is an air of sadness when the darkness returns to the West End, when the Christmas lights are removed and the wait for lighter evenings begins.

Christmas 2014 saw nearly 200 attendees on our Christmas light...
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Christmas at Kew Gardens

Posted by Guided Walks in London on Wednesday, December 17, 2014, In : Quirky 

I get a little tired of hearing "Christmas is for Children'. Surely Christmas, a time for sharing and goodwill is for everyone, no matter their background and beliefs?

Walsall Illuminations and Severn Valley Railway at Christmas were my Christmas highlights as a child. But what is there for adults that doesn't include mistletoe or alcohol?

Christmas at Kew Gardens has the answer; a one mile trail of illuminations befitting the world’s most famous botanic garden. The effects are enough to gi...


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The Great Fire of London - a terrorist attack?

Posted by London Guided Walks on Friday, September 5, 2014, In : Restoration 

The Monument, near Pudding Lane

The Great Fire is known as the most famous disaster in
London's history.
 The Monument is located at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 61 metres from where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. It was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City.

How did the Great Fire of London begin?

The fire is believed to have began in a baker's house in Pudding Lane on Sunday 2nd Septemb...


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The National Police Memorial

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 21, 2014, In : Art 

National Police Memorial

Seated at Cambridge Green, on the corner of The Mall and Horse Guards Road, directly outside the Old Admiralty Building.The site had previously been occupied by an air shaft on the Bakerloo Line of the London Underground.


The National Police Memorial consists of two distinct parts; a black granite clad tablet with a glass cabinet containing a book listing the names of every British police officer killed during arrests or as a result of criminal acts. Alongside that is t...


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Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner

Posted by London Guided Walks on Thursday, August 21, 2014, In : Art 

What is the objective of having a war memorial? 

To remember the dead? To bask in the glory of sacrifice for King and country? Ex-servicemen were quoted by the Manchester Guardian as reminiscing about the war as they examined the statue, and remarking on how the bronze figures had captured the reality of their time in the artillery. The newspaper noted that the frankness of the portrayal was a "terrible revelation long overdue", and hoped that veterans would be able to show the monument to the...


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A City surrounded by dragons

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, In : Quirky 
The City of London is surrounded by dragons but why? 


How are dragons perceived in western culture?

In classical legend, dragons are associated with guarding something. For example, in Greek mythology, a ten headed dragon guarded the golden apples, in the Garden of the Hesperides. In medieval romance dragons spend a lot of time guarding pretty, captive women i.e. the princess in the tower story we all know so well.


How are dragons portrayed in literature and language?

Dragons are mention...


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Henry VIII and his family jewels

Posted by London Guided Walks on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, In : Tudor 

The statue of Henry VIII on top of the main entrance gate to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in West Smithfield is apparently the only public statue of the Tudor king in London. Is familiar frontal stance shows off his shapely calves and codpiece off to full advantage.

What is a codpiece?

The word comes from Middle English with cod meaning scrotum and was originally required to provide a fashionable man of the Middle Ages with modesty as the short doublets failed to do so.

What is a Tudor codpiece?

...


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