It's more of a Sunday roundup really, as I completely forgot to take any photos on Saturdays walk. However, I was joined by Beth, en-route to her home in Washington DC via Beirut, for the Saturday afternoon St Paul's to Monument walk. Incidentally, we stopped off at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre so Beth could get a ticket for the evening performance of Henry V, but it was completely sold out. Just incase you fancied going, it's perhaps best to book first.
On Sunday, I met June, Henry and David for a wander around the east end. Although all from the States, June and Henry are currently visiting and David is doing a 6 month stint in the City and living in Shoreditch, so thought he'd explore is his own neck of the woods.
Here they are just near Columbia Road Flower Market.
Redchurch Street and the streets around it have changed massively in the last few years and is now home to boutique hotels, boutique cinemas and even in some cases ... boutiques. It has an incredibly high density of street art and just over the road is Box Park (the world's first pop-up mall) and of course Shoreditch House, a private members club with a roof top swimming pool. It's all a far cry from days gone by and incase you're interested, here's an article the Guardian wrote about Redchurch Street earlier in the year.
After we'd finished waiting for Henry to feel useful, David was keen to show us some work by a street artist, who although all over the east end, I've never actually mentioned. Just around the corner from here on Whitby Street are a couple of pieces by James Cochran or 'Jimmy C' an Australian, who uses an almost 'pointilist' technique to achieve the desired effect. Here's David telling us why he likes them so much.
Thanks to those who came along on walks this weekend, and as ever, a smattering of awards. Just two this time.
Most American - Beth, June, Henry & David
Best Moustache - No Winners
Due to either people not turning up, or cancellations I only have one walk to report on from this weekend, which was Saturday morning's Trafalgar Square to St Paul's wander. But, what a splendid group they were, so I thought I'd splash out and furnish you with a few more details than I normally do. How lucky you are.
So, there were five people in all. Tess and Monique from Holland, Rita from Lithuania, (who came on the Sunday east end walk a few months ago), George who came from a variety of places, but predominantly Austria and last by no means least, Dave who came from London, via London.
I missed a trick here, because right before I took this photo we'd walked past the 12th Century Temple Church, which nestles just off Fleet Street. The whole area is pretty much closed off on weekends, but fortunately Monique happened to be really strong and somehow effortlessly pushed open an otherwise locked gate. Naughty.
Soon after this, we went for a drink at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which is what is generally referred to as a 'historic pub'. We were sitting in the new pub because the old pub burnt down in a massive fire. So, this one was built in 1667 and if you look at the photo below, you'll see a small list of the various Monarch's that have reigned since the new pub was built.
A short while later, we were passing the Bridewell Theatre, which stands in the shadows of the infamous steeple of St Bride's church. I won't go on about it too much, but the building survives from the late Victorian period and was once a swimming pool, wash room and general education and P.E type place for the children who's parents were busy keeping all those printing presses on Fleet Street going. The swimming pool has since been made in to a theatre, and quite craftily, we managed to get down to the bar, which was once the wash room. (by-the-way, it's not actually a pub/bar tour). Here we met a very nice bar manager who very kindly explained the history of the place to us, complete with photos they'd recently found of its transformation and previous Victorian life.
Whilst the group were talking to the nice bar manager I took this photo of an old wooden washing machine which still stands rather obtrusively in the bar. They've also got a pretty antiquated dryer and some industrial size Victorian drying racks/radiators.
Anyway, we saw lots of other things along the way, and gradually wound our way up to St Paul's cathedral where we finished. Thanks very much to the group. I really enjoyed it.
Bowl Of Chalk veteran - Rita
Tallest - George
Most Dutch - Tess & Monique
Most Snap Happy - Dave
Bowl Of Chalk has recently been mentioned in various publications and websites, so I thought I'd take the liberty of collating a few of them here in to a handy, easily digestible read.
Back in April, there was a post on the Time Out Blog which gave a succinct appraisal of the walks and how they work. This was followed a few weeks later by the publication of a special edition of Time Out entitled 'People Power! Your 101 favourite things to do in London' and I'm delighted that Bowl Of Chalk's guided London walks were featured amongst the top five 'engaging tours' in London. Many thanks to whoever it was that wrote to Time Out and informed them about my tours.
Then, going national, my walks were mentioned by The Independent in one of their weekly blogs about what to do on the weekend.
And also a little feature in the Cultural Expose by Laura Thornley who came on the Saturday afternoon St Paul's to Monument walk and said "The group was a friendly, intimate mix of Londoners wanting to get to know the city in a different way and have lots of laughs on the way around. Audience participation is encouraged bringing a fresh, personal feel to the walk."
Other blog posts and reviews over the last few months have also included what I thought was a pretty good roundup by Christina of The Travel Editor.com who wrote "Jonnie is endearingly scatty in his approach, like a fully loaded iPod of history set on shuffle" and also Pete who writes about a host of London things under the name, the Londoneer.
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.