Thursday, 30 April 2009

Dickens Week 2009 – Day Four + Blog Extra

Celebrating 150 Years of a Tale of Two Cities

Dickens & London – Part the Fourth


By David Tucker

(Continued from yesterday… scroll down for earlier episodes)

“Smithfields is where we go on my Shakespeare's and Dickens' Old City London Walk. We go there to find that London, as much of it as we can. Find it – and reconstruct it. And then read it – both in the city and in the literature.

It’s classic Dickens, when you think about it. That’s what he’s all about. Again and again. “Reading” the city. A youngster – an outsider – trying to make sense of a huge and bewildering and deeply disturbing place.

And let’s close by tethering the fiction to some hard fact. He wrote the novel in 1861. You think London was an easy place to figure out in 1861? How does this grab you?

In 1861 London had 37 King Streets, 27 Queen Streets, 22 Princess Streets, 17 Duke Streets, 35 Charles Streets, 29 John Streets, 15 James Streets, 21 George Streets, 24 New Streets, 16 York Streets, 14 Cross Streets, 16 Union Streets and 10 Gloucester Streets.

Shakespeare's and Dickens' Old City goes every Sunday at 2.00p.m.


Vote!


Elections for positions at what Dickens dubbed “The Circumlocution Office” (see Little Dorrit for his satire of the ways of our elected representatives at Palace of Westminster) remain some way off – but our own LW Blog election starts today.
We want to find LONDON’S FAVOURITE DICKENS. Our shortlist (see yesterday’s post) has been honed from the votes of the London Walks guides and on the top right of the page you can throw your weight behind your favourite from the top four. Is it Great Expectations? Does Oliver Twist deserve some more? Is it A Tale of Two Cities, published 150 years ago this week? Or does a Christmas Carol more than a mere undigested crumb of cheese? Simply tick the box and click Vote.

Blog Extra (or… Business at Usual at the Dead Centre)


Amidst all this Dickens brouhaha, Roger of the IWA Towpath Walks Society is conducting a fascinating new walk this weekend. Here he is:

“Kensal Green Cemetery was London’s first garden cemetery, and the doyen of its ‘Magnificent Seven’. The funerals there of H.R.H. The Duke of Sussex and H.R.H. Princess Sophia in the 1840s ensured its reputation for generations afterwards.

Over 140 Grade 2 or Grade 2* listed buildings in the Cemetery include some spectacular monuments.

Our new London Walk this Sunday walks right through the Cemetery, and then along the Grand Union Canal to Little Venice, and ends in the middle of the Canalway Cavalcade Festival with over a hundred boats in Little Venice.
This event is organized by our fellow enthusiasts in the Inland Waterways Association – indeed, I will be working on one of the Stands at this Festival. The IWA is a voluntary organization which campaigns for better use of and improvements to the Waterways.”
Kensal Green Cemetery – The Grand Union Canal – Little Venice meets at Kensal Green tube station this Sunday (3rd May) at 2.30 p.m.


Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Dickens Week 2009 – Day Three

London Walks celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the publication of A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens & London – Part the Third

By David Tucker



(Continued from yesterday… scroll down for earlier episodes)

“’You would have been disposed of for so many shillings according to the market price of the article, and Dunstable the butcher would have come up to you as you lay in your straw [hear the echo?], and he would have whipped you under his left arm, and with his right he would have tucked up his frock to get a penknife from out of his waistcoat-pocket, and he would have shed your blood and had your life.’

From the Cross Keys Pip goes by hackney coach to Little Britain, where Mr. Jaggers, the mysterious lawyer - the spider at the centre of the plot web of the novel - has his offices. Little Britain. Right by Smithfield – London’s cattle market. London’s killing-fields. Its avatar of abattoirs. Pip says, ‘it was a shameful place… asmear with filth and fat and foam and blood… which seemed to stick to me.’”

More tomorrow…


And the Winner is…



We’ve emailed and badgered and quizzed and queried – and the London Walks Guides have come back with their favourite Charles Dickens works. And the result is… a tie! Here’s how they voted:

Great Expectations……18.5%
Oliver Twist………………18.5%
A Tale of Two Cities……14%
A Christmas Carol………11%
Our Mutual Friend……8%
Barnaby Rudge…………8%
The Pickwick Papers……8%
Bleak House……………8%
Little Dorrit……………3%
David Copperfield……3%

Can you help us break the deadlock? Polling opens tomorrow on LONDON’S FAVOURITE DICKENS. Vote here on the LW Blog – the poll will be open for a month.

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Dickens Week 2009 – Day Two

London Walks marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens and London – Part the Second

By David Tucker


(Continued from yesterday… scroll down for Part the First)

“The Cross Keys, Wood-street. The very inn where Pip touches down when he comes to London for the first time in Great Expectations. The resonances here are many and they’re very ripe indeed. The line ‘packed like game’, for example. It hearkens back to that horrible Christmas dinner in Great Expectations, where the revolting – and revoltingly well fed – Uncle Pumblechook (Dickens is brilliant at names – Pumblechook sounds like a mouthful of mashed potatoes and gravy and crackling and sowbelly) informs Pip that if he were a ‘squealer’, a young pig, he wouldn’t have been ‘enjoying himself with his elders and betters’.”

(Continued tomorrow)


Dickens Location of the Day

48 Doughty Street… the house in which Dickens lived from 1837 – 1839 is now a museum.

Tomorrow… the results of our London Walks Dickens survey (see yesterday’s post)… and on Thursday, your chance to vote for LONDON’S FAVOURITE DICKENS!

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Monday, 27 April 2009

Dickens & London by David Tucker

Dickens and London

By David Tucker


In The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens recalls his inauspicious London baptism. It’s his earliest memory of the city, the moment he made its acquaintance. He says, since those were 'the days when there were no railroads in the land, I left it [his boyhood home in Kent] in a stage-coach. Through all the years that have since passed, have I ever lost the smell of the damp straw in which I was packed – like game – and forwarded, carriage paid, to the Cross Keys, Wood-street, Cheapside, London? There were no other inside passengers, and I consumed my sandwiches in solitude and dreariness, and it rained hard all the way, and I thought life sloppier than I had expected to find it.'”



The Cross Keys, Wood-street. The very inn where Pip touches down when he comes to London for the first time in Great Expectations. The resonances here are many and they’re very ripe indeed. The line ‘packed like game’, for example. It hearkens back to that horrible Christmas dinner in Great Expectations, where the revolting – and revoltingly well fed – Uncle Pumblechook (Dickens is brilliant at names – Pumblechook sounds like a mouthful of mashed potatoes and gravy and crackling and sowbelly) informs Pip that if he were a ‘squealer’, a young pig, he wouldn’t have been ‘enjoying himself with his elders and betters’.



You would have been disposed of for so many shillings according to the market price of the article, and Dunstable the butcher would have come up to you as you lay in your straw [hear the echo?], and he would have whipped you under his left arm, and with his right he would have tucked up his frock to get a penknife from out of his waistcoat-pocket, and he would have shed your blood and had your life.’

From the Cross Keys Pip goes by hackney coach to Little Britain, where Mr. Jaggers, the mysterious lawyer - the spider at the centre of the plot web of the novel - has his offices. Little Britain. Right by Smithfield – London’s cattle market. London’s killing-fields. Its avatar of abattoirs. Pip says, ‘it was a shameful place… asmear with filth and fat and foam and blood… which seemed to stick to me.’


Smithfields is where we go on my Shakespeare's and Dickens' Old City London Walk. We go there to find that London, as much of it as we can. Find it – and reconstruct it. And then read it – both in the city and in the literature.

It’s classic Dickens, when you think about it. That’s what he’s all about. Again and again. “Reading” the city. A youngster – an outsider – trying to make sense of a huge and bewildering and deeply disturbing place.

And let’s close by tethering the fiction to some hard fact. He wrote the novel in 1861. You think London was an easy place to figure out in 1861? How does this grab you?

In 1861 London had 37 King Streets, 27 Queen Streets, 22 Princess Streets, 17 Duke Streets, 35 Charles Streets, 29 John Streets, 15 James Streets, 21 George Streets, 24 New Streets, 16 York Streets, 14 Cross Streets, 16 Union Streets and 10 Gloucester Streets.



POST UPDATED 18/3/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Weekly Gallimaufry

We'd just like to thank…

London Walks Scoops Tourism Oscar!


London Walks has won its second award for excellence in the space of just a few months.

To go with the Visit London Award for Best Tourism Experience 2008 collected at the Albert Hall last winter, the Capital's original walking tour company added the Enjoy England Gold Award for Excellence 2009. Once again the category was Best Tourism Experience.

London Walks is the only London attraction to take gold in this year’s awards.

("Enjoy England is the official tourist board for England and this award for 2009 aims to recognise a tourism business that provides an innovative customer experience within the tourism industry and can provide evidence of success." Source: www.enjoyengland.com.)

A Blog Follower Writes…


This in from LW Facebook Group member Lauren:
“Well done!
It couldn't happen to a nicer walking tour company.
Best wishes,

Lauren and everyone at Rick Steves
Thanks Lauren!
(Scroll down to find out how to join our Facebook Group…)


In the Picture


The London Walks book – London Walks, London Stories – continues to go from strength to strength, with sales already warranting a reprint.

Many London Walkers have asked about the book's illustrations – which can also be enjoyed on the famous white leaflet. They are the work of a U.S-based illustrator by the name of Pete Scully. Late of this parish (i.e. London town) Pete finds himself way out west – by which we don’t mean Penzance. Nope, Pete has struck out even further, to California, where his work, judging by his website, continues to flourish. Even though he does miss Match of the Day. (Pete: if you’re reading this, your beloved Tottenham Hotspur went down 5-2 to Man Utd at Old Trafford yesterday, having been two goals up. Sorry, mate.) Pete’s website is HERE.

The Old Curiosity Blog


It’s Dickens week at the LW Blog. To mark the 150th Anniversary of the publication of the first installment of A Tale of Two Cities, we’ve canvassed the London Walks guides to find out their favourite Dickens works. Votes are being counted and when the counting’s done, a shortlist will be drawn up and posted here on the LW Blog. We’ll then ask you to vote on the shortlist to aid us in our quest to find out which of his many works will win the title of LONDON’S FAVOURITE DICKENS.

As well as the poll, LW’s resident Dickens nut and London Walks pen David has put together a serialisation of ruminations on the great man and his London. Read them here every day this week and on Sunday go and meet the men themselves – David in the flesh and Dickens in spirit – on the 2.00p.m walk Shakespeare’s & Dickens’s London.

Facebook

The new Facebook group, London Walks Walkers is up and running. Join in HERE.


Last Week’s Picture Quiz…


The answer to last week’s picture quiz: He’s Guy the Gorilla (above) and you can find him in Crystal Palace Park.

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Thursday, 23 April 2009

IT'S GOLD!



And the winner is… London Walks!

The annual Enjoy England Awards for Excellence winners were announced in York just a few minutes ago. And London Walks came away with Gold… AGAIN!

Enjoy England is the official tourist board for England and this award for 2009 aims to recognise a tourism business that provides an innovative customer experience within the tourism industry and can provide evidence of success – and makes a brace of such gongs, along with the Visit London Award that went up on the London Walks mantelpiece just a few months ago.

Down the line from York, David of London Walks had this to say…

"……………"

And it's not every day that he's rendered speechless!

Once he has collected his thoughts and stopped crying/stopped shaking/stopped leaping for joy/sunk a Balthazar of champagne in one go/danced the night away with the divine Ms Mary I'm sure he'll share 'em all with you at The Mothership.

In the meantime… consider yourselves not just London Walkers… but Award-Winning Walkers! Cheers!

Blog Extra (or: "and the winner is…" )


Tonight’s the tonight… swing by the LW Blog a little later today to learn the fate of London Walks at the prestigious Enjoy England Awards. The Enjoy England Award is the big sister to the Visit London Award – the gong worn with pride on the front page of www.walks.com – and only the best get to sit at the top table. Up against some stiff opposition, can London Walks slay the dragon on this St George’s Day? Results posted after 21.00 GMT.

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

The Out-of-Towners


From Barnet to Crystal Palace, from Theydon Bois to Ealing Broadway, wherever there’s a London compass point, you'll find London Walks.
But you won’t be surprised to learn that London Walks goes the extra mile or two, too. Carshalton, anyone? Here’s Delianne with a few words on this Sunday’s one-off walk A Country Afternoon in London: Old Carshalton Village :

“The lovely village of Carshalton is famous for its springs and ponds, but few people know that in the 18th Century it was home to some of the biggest and most grandiose estates near London – rivaling Blenheim.

Sir John Fellowes, a Governor of the South Sea Company was raking it in, and decided to celebrate by adding to his considerable estate – a water tower/bath house, and a picturesque grotto complete with live-in hermit.

On April 26th I have arranged for a visit to the water tower for a tour AND be taken to the Grotto, now in the grounds of St Philomena's School. This will incur a small charge additional to the price of the Walk, of £2-3, but will be well worth if for the experience of getting into these mostly locked-up sites.”

A Country Afternoon in London: Old Carshalton Village meets at Carshalton Railway Station this Sunday (26th April) at 2.30p.m.

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Monday, 20 April 2009

The Weekly Gallimaufry

Some London Peculiarities…

Billy’s Birthday

To mark the traditional date of William Shakespeare’s birth 445 years ago (his precise birthday remains unknown but it is marked on the 23rd) this week why not join David or Shaughan on one of their Shakespeare themed walks. And since that anniversary falls on St George’s day, you could be twice blessed in the celebration stakes by joining them again for their Along the Thames pub walks, which ends – where else? – the George Inn every Wednesday and Friday night.


Film Fun

At time of writing, the first London Walks film is creeping steadily toward the 10,000 hits mark on You Tube (see London Links further down the page). You can view it – and all the other London Walks films including the new Ghosts of the Old City extravaganza – by clicking HERE.


South of the Border – Down Carshalton Way

Come back to the LW Blog later in the week for full details of the latest in the London Walks compass-encompassing repertory programme – we’re heading to Carshalton.



Facebook

The new Facebook group, London Walks walkers is up and running. Join in HERE.

Last Week’s Picture…

From last week’s Weekly Gallimaufry LW Bloggers Meaghan Fitzgerald and Mark Adams both correctly identified the up-close detail (pictured) as being from the covered courtyard at the British Museum. Well spotted! Mark also sent us a link to his own wonderful pictures of London – to have a look, click HERE. Scroll down a little for another LW Blogger picture submission

Monkey Business

This (above) in from LW Blogger J.D, an image captured on his camera phone. His questions are straightforward: who is it and where is it? Email us at londonwalksblog@gmail.com. Answers next week…

Join the NEW LW Facebook group London Walks Walkers HERE

TODAY’S WALKS & NEWS: www.walks.com

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The London List No.10

Five London Spooks & Horrors



Boris KarloffBorn William Henry Pratt in Forest Hill Road, East Dulwich in 1887. Plaques commemorate his memory at both his birthplace and the “Actors’ Church” – St Paul’s, Covent Garden. In 1931 he became the first man to play Frankenstein’s monster on screen, a character created by…

Mary ShelleyThe writer of Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus (frontispiece from the first edition illustrated here) was born in Somers Town, London in 1797. She died at 24 Chester Square, Belgravia in 1846, the same part of London in which….

Christopher Lee
The late cinema legend was born in Belgravia in 1922. Lee first played Frankenstein’s monster in 1957 and went on to bring The Mummy and Count Dracula to the screen for Hammer Films. He also starred in the 1971 title I, Monster, an adaptation of The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and…

Mister Hyde
Robert Louis Stephenson’s treatise on the nature of good and evil was inspired by his hometown of Edinburgh, but set in London. The central character, the good Doctor Jekyll invents a potion that unleashes his evil self, Mister Hyde, and a compelling tale of a wicked double life ensues. Not unlike the wicked double life of…

Shaughan Seymour
By day an actor, Blue Badge Guide and all-round good egg… by night… well, to view Shaughan’s evil-self in full spate on the Ghosts of the Old City Walk



POST UPDATED 23/3/16

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









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