Friday, 24 March 2017

The Spirit of Saturday Afternoon: A Fan Letter to The Pink & Blues @DulwichHamletFC ‏

It's the second-to-last of The Daily Constitutional's 50 Greatest Hits Posts…

DC Editor Adam writes…

In December 2016 I posted the The Daily Constitutional's blog post number 5,000.

To mark the occasion I've been digging in the archive and over February and March 2017 I'll be reblogging The DC's "Greatest Hits" – my 50 favourite posts. 

In addition I'll be sharing my 50 favourite London photos to have appeared here since October 2008. 

I hope you enjoy them

March 2017

This one was first posted back in 2011. Since then, Dulwich Hamlet FC has undergone something of a transformation, gates are up and the team get feature coverage in The Guardian. An energised support also gets involved in all sorts of good causes. It's been a while since I've visited Champion Hill (being, these days, a South Londoner trapped in a North Londoners body) but it remains my favourite football place in London. This post was originally published as part of the It's A London Thing series…

The name sounds like some final resting-place of the gods: Champion Hill. Sadly, the only business the gods would have in this corner of South East London these days would be stocking up on Sainsbury’s own-brand ambrosia: a supermarket now dominates the location where 20,000 souls once crammed themselves in to watch Dulwich Hamlet play football in the Isthmian League.

The name of the approach road to the now more compact football stadium – Edgar Kail Way – commemorates Dulwich Hamlet’s contribution to Football’s own pantheon. Edgar Kail won three caps in 1929 as the last amateur to have played for England and scored 427 goals for Dulwich between 1919 and 1933 – fifty-three of his strikes in the Isthmian League Championship-winning season of 1925/26. In this, The Hamlet join illustrious Londoners such as Arsenal in making a lasting contribution to the municipal landscape – Gillespie Road tube station on the Piccadilly Line was renamed after the Arsenal football team in the 1930s…

Kail was born in the Lordship Lane area in 1900, and lived in nearby Tintagel Crescent. He graced the pink and blue quartered strip – a livery redolent of the Edwardian era – in the early part of the 20th Century, and was the star of the 113-year-old club’s golden age. Although coveted by many professional clubs, Kail could not be tempted to turn his back on his beloved Hamlet.

In 2003 when Southwark council polled its burghers for Peoples’ Plaque nominations – a version of the Blue Plaques commemorating important sites and people from London’s history – Kail’s enduring legend was affirmed when he was honoured among such luminaries as Sam Wannamaker, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Charles Babbage.

To acolytes of Chelsea and Arsenal, such bald nostalgia will sound like the alliteration-fuelled outpourings of Word ‘Smitty’ Smith, the nonagenarian sportswriter protagonist of Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel. But while the standard of football may be at best erratic down Hamlet way, at least the essence of Saturday afternoons gone by, free from corporate marketing and obtrusive tannoyed music, can still be found at Champion Hill.

The area takes its name not from glorious deeds on the football field, but from Philip Champion de Crespigny who had an estate here in the 18th Century. The name could be seen as something of a millstone to a team who plies its trade some six leagues below the millionaire’s playground that is the Premiership. At time of writing, Dulwich Hamlet lie more than 100 places below exiled south east London neighbours (the formerly Woolwich) Arsenal in the English football pyramid. Further obscurity for both the area and the team came in the 1960s when Champion Hill station was re-christened East Dulwich.

In 987, Edgar the Peaceful (as opposed to Edgar the Goalscorer) granted Dilwihs (meaning ‘meadow where the dill grows’) to a favoured thane. For Hamlet supporters, the glory days may feel almost as remote as that act of largesse. But Hamlet remain the best supported team in the Isthmian League – a league in which devotion can be tough going when considering the remoteness of glory and prestige.

The new, modest Champion Hill stadium lies but five stops from London Bridge. Glory is a rare bird in this neck of the woods: but the spirit of Saturday afternoon is alive and well. And they will not charge you – as many London teams can – more than the price of some seats at the Royal Opera House on the gate.

Dulwich Hamlet: It’s a London Thing.

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

#London Walkers Review London Walks: "Great Way To Learn More About London"

Mary, Fiona, Maxine & Noel in the London Walks office write… On Mondays & Fridays we'll be sharing reviews of our London Walks written by London Walkers. Firstly, THANKS to all who have written to us down through the years, your kind words are greatly appreciated! Our guides don't solicit these reviews on our tours – we believe that this would be a waste of your time. That's what makes these reviews all the more special – they have been sent to us by genuine London Walkers who have given up their valuable time to drop us a line or two, or leave a comment on travel message boards & websites. Thanks everyone.

Thanks to subwaymark of Salem, Oregon for the following five-star review…

We took the Brunel Walk that included a river cruise and the Brunel museum. My wife and I really enjoyed it. Our walk as stated involved taking one of the River boats down the Thames, then the DLR and finally the overground. I knew about Brunel's tunnel since I at one time wanted to be a Civil Engineer and have a fascination with subways. But this tour opened my eyes to the Brunel family and how much influence they had on the infrastructure of London. The price of the tour was great, and it was great to just show up, no booking required. When we return to London in 2018, I plan to take more London Walks!

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

Friday is Rock'n'Roll #London Day: The #PinkFloyd Punishment Book @MOJOmagazine

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day! Join the Rock'n'Roll London walk this (and every Friday) afternoon at 2:00p.m meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station

DC Editor Adam writes…

Excellent feature in the new Mojo magazine on the forthcoming Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A…

My fave detail in the piece - they've found the punishment book (!) from the Cambridge boys school that Roger Waters, Syd Barrett and (Floyd sleeve designer) Storm Thorgerson attended. Turns out that it was the sleeve designer who was beaten most often! 

Remember the teacher in The Wall? How could you forget? That extra, new detail makes him all the more vivid. Here's a reminder…

The new Mojo is on sale now:

You can shop Pink Floyd's website for The Wall here:

Book for Their Mortal Remains at the V&A here:

And help yourself to a free download sample of my Rock'n'Roll London Comic Book starring Pink Floyd here:

Don't forget I'm leading the Pink Floyd London Walking Tour on the 17th June at 10.45…

You can book on EventBrite here:

The Rock'n'Roll London tour meets on Friday afternoons at 2pm, Tottenham Court Road tube

Here's the trailer for the tour…

The Rock'n'Roll London walk is ONLY London Walk with its own dedicated comic book! Written by Rock'n'Roll London guide (and Daily Constitutional editor) Adam it's available in both print & digital formats at the London Bookstore 

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

Thursday, 23 March 2017

#London Fragments From A Long London Day #WeStandTogether

DC Editor Adam writes…

As regular Daily Constitutionalists & London Walkers will know, it is my habit to update this blog first thing in the morning, often as a prelude to a day of leading London Walks tours.

I've left it a little later today. For obvious reasons.

It's not been the easiest day in London.

But I know I am lucky to have seen it.

It's not going to be the most coherent of Daily Constitutional blog posts. It's going to be fragmented. And the fragments may not even be in order. But here goes…

The late PC Keith Palmer was the subject of many tributes, including this one from Charlton Athletic Football Club in South London, marking the seat he occupied for many years at The Valley…

Every Londoner has played a part over the last day or so.

The doctors and nurses who ran across Westminster Bridge from St Thomas's Hospital yesterday to help at the scene.

And the passers-by who stopped to lend a hand. To do what they could.

Every Londoner who had to explain the situation to a child - I count myself in their number – mindful that Aysha Frade was killed on the school run yesterday.

And the police officers all over London last night and today, going about their business. Doing what they do, day in day out.

Every Londoner played a part last night: Every Londoner who made the effort not to bump into another Londoner as we jostled through the busier-than-usual West End streets; Every Londoner who didn't take to social media with bilious hatred.

Every Londoner who got in touch. Thanks to faraway & honorary Londoner Jeannine Lanigan…

Every Londoner who attended the vigil in Trafalgar Square tonight.

Every Londoner – visitor and resident alike - who joined us on a walking tour today played a part, too. I was in the East End with a group this morning. A chilly wind was whipping up from north east.

"Gather round folks," I said to the group, "come close and keep the wind off me!"

"And you can keep us warm," said one of the women in the group, "with all your hot air!"

Boom! We were all grateful for the laughter.

Particular thanks to every Londoner who laughed at the US TV presenter who suggested that we'd been brought to a standstill…

And thanks to President Obama. He gets us…

Last night, in the immediate aftermath of the incident, our London Walks tours went ahead as usual. I led the Rock'n'Roll London Pub walk and, as has become a regular feature on this walk, we stopped at the Alley Cat Bar in Denmark Street and I performed a few songs relating to London music stories.

Of all the acts that are associated with this great city, I just couldn't see past Bob Marley. So I sang Three Little Birds.

And everyone joined in. The tiny bar was packed, and everyone sang along. I stopped playing the guitar and they kept going. Londoners, Americans. Germans, Italians all singing "every little thing gonna be alright"…

Have a listen to the original. (And have a sing.)

We all did what we could. Every Londoner played a part. That – and this blog – was mine. Thanks to every Londoner who helped this Londoner get through this day. And thanks to every Londoner who helped a fellow Londoner along the way.

Last word to Londoner Angel Storey (as shared by Rick Steves)…

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