Thursday, 31 January 2013

News: New Pub Walk For Summer 2013

From the 1st of May 2013, London Walks will run …





…the Rock'n'Roll London Pub Walk every Wednesday at 7.00pm.


News of more new walks and changes for the London Walks Summer Programme coming soon both here and at www.walks.com



A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Plaque of the Week No. 110 – Fred Russell


Return of the Plaque of the Week!

Our Plaque of the Week series returns for a 12 week run…

You've seen them all over the city: discs, tablets, cameos and plaques commemorating the great and the good of London Town. Wednesday is our new day for tracking down London plaques (Blue or otherwise) and putting them centre stage on the Daily Constitutional. This week…





Fred Russell

Where: 71 Kenilworth Court, Putney, SW15

Fred Russell (born Thomas Frederick Parnell in 1862) is widely regarded to be the founding father of modern ventriloquism. It was Russell who pioneered the single, knee-sitting dummy.


He started his working life as a journalist and although his “hobby” eventually made him an international star in his day, his life is shot through with London locations and references. He was born in London, edited the Hackney & Kingsland Gazette, his dummy was named Coster Joe, he lived in Putney and died in Wembley at the age of 95.

His career spanned the eras of both Music Hall and television, and by the end of his career he was billing himself as “The World’s Oldest Ventriloquist”.

In his honour I have typed this post without moving my lips.




A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The London Nightly Photoblog 29:01:13


The London Nightly Photoblog at The Daily Constitutional returns for 2013.


The walking and the blogging remain the same…but relentless London changes every day. There's time for just one last look at London before lights out.

Maybe you saw tonight’s pictured location on one of today’s London Walks. Perhaps it’s your shot, sent to us at the usual email address.

Of course some London Walks guides will still be out there, Londoning away into the small hours. For them, we borrow a famous London phrase… Goodnight, and good luck.




Having beheaded the King, this Roundhead skips off for a spot of lunch. (Pic taken after the King Charles I execution ceremony last Sunday)


A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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. bebofacebookyoutube
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A Day in the Life of a London Walks Guide



A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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Monday, 28 January 2013

The London Nightly Photoblog 28:01:13


The London Nightly Photoblog at The Daily Constitutional returns for 2013.


The walking and the blogging remain the same…but relentless London changes every day. There's time for just one last look at London before lights out.

Maybe you saw tonight’s pictured location on one of today’s London Walks. Perhaps it’s your shot, sent to us at the usual email address.

Of course some London Walks guides will still be out there, Londoning away into the small hours. For them, we borrow a famous London phrase… Goodnight, and good luck.



A Gothic welcome for northerners disembarking at King's Cross  


A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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In & Around London: Vroom Vroom



The Monday Photoblog!



Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.

Collated on a theme or an area, if you've got some great shots of our capital and want to join in send your pictures to the usual address.



Today we offer an olive branch to the natural enemy of the walking tour: traffic.


Taxi! What details betray the period in our picture?
A snow-bound Hillman Imp in North London
Another period shot? A still from a 60s movie? Or 21st century Lambeth?
Taxi! South of the River?

LW's Mary makes her daily rounds checking that everything's okay on the various London Walks.








POST UPDATED 24/4/16 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, 27 January 2013

Last (Snow)Man Standing

We found this melty specimen at Butler's Wharf yesterday…



…atop a table outside a bar along the route of the Somewhere Else London Walk. Bye-bye snow. Bye-bye.




A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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Saturday, 26 January 2013

On This Day In London History 26th January 1679


"FIRE! Help."

No, not that fire. Nor that* fire.

But bad enough all the same. And no one can help. And had it not been for this fire – on January 26, 1679 – the first public museum in modern Europe would have had an even more impressive collection.

Because amongst other things "the great fire in the Middle Temple" (as it came to be known) destroyed Elias Ashmole's chambers at the Temple – and most of what it housed: thousands of coins; numerous books, engravings, prints, series of seals, etc.

And, yes, you'll have guessed from the name of the man whose chambers they were. The Ashmolean at Oxford – world class museum that it is – would have been considerably greater if the Middle Temple part of Elias Ashmole's cabinet of curiosities hadn't gone up in flames.

Ashmole's a fascinating character. He was from Lichfield. What is it about Lichfield? Ashmole, Dr. Johnson, David Garrick... Need I say more? He was "into" magic, alchemy, and astrology. Indeed, he was the Royal Astrologer for Charles II. Not surprisingly he was a through and through royalist. He was obsessed with the Elizabethan occultist John Dee. He was "into" heraldry. It was more than a passing interest – as Windsor herald he was a big shot in that world. He was a renowned authority on the Order of the Garter. Hand in glove with the heraldry, he was an antiquarian. He catalogued the Tradescant family's collection of rarities. Said catalogue was the first of its kind. He was a mason – the record of his admission to his lodge is the earliest extant reference of its kind in this country. He was the City of London's "Comptroller of the Excise". He married astutely. His second wife was a rich widow. In Ashmole's words, he was "enabled to live to my selfe & Studies without being forced to take paines for a livelyhood in the world".

In modern terms Ashmole would be one of those extremely well connected characters who sits on about 30 or 40 different Boards of Directorships.

The Tredescant "connection" is the one that stands out though. The Tredescants were to Tudor & Stuart gardens what Wren was to London churches. But they weren't "just" gardeners for the high and mighty. They were also naturalists and collectors. And it was their cabinet of curiosities, amassed and kept safe in The Ark, their house in Lambeth, that was, under Ashmole's stewardship, to form the nucleus of the Ashmolean Museum. Indeed, like John Tredescant the Elder, Elias Ashmole is buried at St. Mary's in Lambeth, hard by Lambeth Palace.

So. You're thinking the Ashmolean, you're thinking Oxford – you have to make the connection, have to think London as well. Because London was the great progenitor of that quintessential "piece of Oxford and Oxford history."

*The 1861 Great Fire of Southwark


A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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When Saturday Comes


Griffin Park, home of Brentford FC, is famously the only football ground in England that has a pub on each corner.

Brentford’s home ground was in the news last weekend when 150 fans volunteered to shovel snow from the pitch so that the match with Tranmere could go ahead…




Read the full story here: www.bbc.co.uk.



Brentford will be back in the spotlight again this Sunday 27th January when they host West London neighbours Chelsea in the F.A Cup. 

The Bees warmed up for this London derby by beating east London rivals Leyton Orient 2-0 on Tuesday night. Taking on Chelsea, however, will be a different matter.

A distance of about five miles separates the two clubs in west London, but 43 places keep the teams apart in the league (across three divisions). But in terms of finance, the teams exist in different worlds. Brentford’s top scorer this season – Clayton Donaldson – arrived at Brentford on a free transfer. Chelsea paid paid a reported £50,000,000 for striker Fernando Torres in 2011.

Chelsea have won the F.A Cup on seven occasions. Brentford have never progressed beyond the quarter finals.

The thrill of the F.A Cup remains the prospect of an upset. Lower league teams are thrown into the hat with the big boys and the ties that emerge have led to a number of shocks down through the years. The phrase used by fans and media alike to describe such events is as apposite as it is delicious… Giant Killing.

It's very unlikely, of course. The odds for Brentford scoring 2 goals currently stand at 80/1. Stranger things have happened. We know where our loyalties lie here at The D.C.

Come on The Bees!


Visit Brentford’s website here: www.brentfordfc.co.uk





A London Walk costs £9 – £7 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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