On Saturday morning I met Aviva for the Trafalgar Square to St Paul's walk. Part of the walk involves winding through and around Fleet Street, a street synonymous with printing and the newspaper industry, ever since a guy called Wynkyn De Worde, who aside from having a brilliant name, brought the first printing press to the area in about 1500. Anyway, as if to highlight the fact, just outside the Bridewell Theatre we stumbled across an amazing array of old printing equipment that had been left on the street. There were a number of drawers, all packed full of thousands of the individual metal letter typefaces. Had I not been doing a walk, I would have very probably hailed a cab and taken the whole lot home. Here's Aviva with the treasure, that someone else now has.
On Saturday afternoon I was joined by Urvesh, Chris, Christina, Teresa, Bea, Sam and Louise for the St Paul's to Monument walk. I haven't seen it so busy around Bankside for a long time, but I guess that's what happens when the sun comes out. We didn't come across any discarded treasure, but of course there's Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the Rose Theatre and lots of other things to uncover along the way. Here are the group by Borough Market.
What a fun lot they were too. Also, I should mention that it was Sam's second Bowl Of Chalk walk, having previously come on the east end 'My neck of the woods' walk a few months ago ... which allows me to segue effortlessly on to Sundays walk.
Once again, the sun was beating down and a reasonably international group turned out for Sundays east end walk, hailing from Germany, Poland, Portugal/Luxembourg, France and even England and Scotland. The 'world and his wife' were out in force around Columbia Road flower market and Spitalfields where we finished. Here are the group standing next to one of street artist Pablo Delgado's miniature paper street scenes, which also has a little sign saying 'Please queue here' ... hence the photo.
From left to right we have Felix, Teresa, Babara (or Basia), Maja, Dorina, Magali, Lesley and Manu. There was also Tom, but he isn't in the photo because he had to nip off.
So there we have it. Perhaps the sunniest weekend of walks ever in the history of weekend walks. As ever, thanks very much to all who came along.
Most Swiss - Bea and Chris
Most Historically qualified - Urvesh and Chris
Most inappropriate footwear - Louise
Veteran Bowl Of Chalker - Sam
Best name that actually creates a statement - Teresa Brown
Best Moustache - No winners
Most laid back - Felix
Most German - Dorina and Magali
Weekend Roundup - 24th & 25th March '12
It's weekend roundup time again and all three walks took place in one form or another beginning with the Trafalgar Square to St Paul's walk on Saturday morning. Unfortunately for Yang Fang who joined us all the way from Birmingham via China, her bank card was callously eaten by a rogue NatWest cash machine half way through the walk. However, the situation was mildly rectified and hopefully she has now been reunited with her card. I also completely neglected to take a photo of the group, but a special mention goes to Denise who became the first person to complete what she has dubbed 'the trilogy' of walks. They were a truly international bunch represented by Uruguay, China and Newcastle.
St Paul's to Monument
It was a day of repeat offenders, as Richard, Kat, Stella and Enid returned for their third Bowl Of Chalk walk, but are yet to complete 'the trilogy' as they have come on Sunday's east end walk twice now. In fact, Stella was so keen the first time she came in December, that she wasn't actually born until a week later. Yang Fang valiantly returned after her bank card fiasco, and the group were complemented by Joelle, Ben, Zoe and Janice. Here they are after having had a mooch around Borough Market.
On Sunday morning, I met Joe, who was the sole group member on the My neck of the woods east end walk. He's going to be working in the area this week, so it was nice to be able to show him around and help him get acquainted with the area. This is Joe standing outside Christ Church in Spitalfields, a Nicholas Hawksmoor church, which Joe recognised from having read a blog (and now book) which I can highly recommend called Spitalfields Life. 'The Gentle Author' who writes the blog (and subsequent book) has set him or herself the momentous challenge of writing 10,000 stories about the area at the rate of one a day, detailing the fascinating history, buildings, characters, shops and life of Spitalfields which will be finished in the year 2037.
First to complete the BOC London walking trilogy - Denise
Best at dealing with a bank card catastrophe - Yang Fang
Most Uruguayan - Marianne, Santiago & Anna
Most dog like - Enid (again)
Best moustache - No winners
Weekend Roundup - 14th & 15th Jan '12
The first London walks of 2012 took place this weekend under a clear, crisp and bright wintery sky ... except when it got dark on Saturday. It was still clear and crisp, but less bright.
Saturday 14th Jan
In the end it kicked off with Saturday afternoons walk and after meeting the group of intrepid Chalkers, had a minor mooch around the streets that surround St Paul's cathedral before heading over the wobbly bridge to Bankside.
We paid an impromptu visit to the Rose Theatre, or at least its watery remains, as it was the first Elizabethan theatre, built in 1587 and after the foundations were re-discovered in 1989 now resides in the bowels of the office building that was built over the top. However, we had an equally impromptu mini talk from a lady who worked there, and next time you're down on Bankside, spare a thought for the Rose, to which the recreated Globe owes a huge debt.
Anyway, here are Saturday's Bowl Of Chalkers in Borough Market. See how much fun they're having. They've even got a coffee. It just blows me away each time I see it.
Here they are exploring a quiet enclave of of Guy's Hospital.
Sunday 15th Jan
On my way to meet Sunday's Chalkers for their east London walk I spied a new piece by street artist Xylo which has popped up by Old Street roundabout next to the City Road Turnpike plaque. Xylo is more than a one trick wonder, but these little golden frogs are sprinkled all over London and apparently represent the 'global crisis of mass species extinction'.
It was another clement, but chilly day and despite Old Street underground station and most of the Northern Line being closed, I was impressed with the tenacity of the group to valiantly find their way to the starting point.
Here they are outside the Geffrye Museum, which if you haven't been is one of the many gems to be discovered in the Shoreditch area. It is a museum dedicated to how Londoners have lived from 1600 to the present day, housed within a beautiful building that was itself built in 1714.
Laure seemed to be quite taken with the tiny figures created by street artist Pablo Delgado, like this one just near to Columbia Road flower market.
As were the whole group for that matter, even when standing on a street almost completely covered by street artist Eine.
That photo wasn't remotely staged by the way. After this, we headed to Spitalfields where the east London walk drew to a close outside the Ten Bells, a pub whose walls, if they could speak might reveal the true identity of Jack The Ripper. Obviously they can't speak, so I don't know why I mentioned it. Sorry, I was having a moment.
Most Canadian - Amy & Whitney (although Amy was pseudo Canadian, so I guess Whitney has the edge)
Most French - Laure
Most medically qualified group - Saturday afternoon
Most multi lingual - Dan
weekend roundup - 10th/11th dec
On Saturday I was joined by Gaby and Erica, and after meeting at The Monument, quickly decanted to a nearby coffee place, where I was able to bore them with historical type stuff relating to the area and London Bridge from the warmth that being inside often brings.
They wanted to have a mooch round Borough Market. I took this photo whilst they were mooching.
In the background you can see Southwark Cathedral. I have a copy of brilliant panorama of London, Bankside and the Thames by Nicholas John Visscher. He made it in 1616, which incidentally was the same year that William Shakespeare died. That same church (didn't become a cathedral until 1905) is in that picture. Also, Edmund, Shakespeare's younger brother is buried there. I love the fact that it's still presiding over things.
Also, just a bit further along, next to the Wobbly Bridge is a house that people say that Christopher Wren lived in whilst watching St Paul's being built. There is a plaque on the house which says exactly the same thing. He didn't, the house wasn't built then. However, I've just started reading a book called 'The House by the Thames' by Gillian Tindall, which is all about that house through hundreds of years of history, or more to the point she uses it as a way of discussing the area. So far, so fascinating.
Here are Saturday's Chalkers, and from the photo, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the height of summer, and not a cold December morning.
We finished up in Ye Old Cheshire Cheese for a drinkie poops. It's the new pub on the site, built in 1667. The previous one burnt down in some kind of fire apparently.
Sunday. Yes, Sunday. 'My neck of the woods'. A few people dropped out, but despite the prevailing greyness and coldness of the day, we carried on, and I have to say, was rather enjoyable.
It was a Sunday, and on Sundays, the Methodists at the Wesleyan Chapel near Old Street hold a service, so I would like to thank them for not only welcoming us in, despite not wishing to attend the aforementioned service, but actively encouraging us to go and see their toilets. They're very proud of their toilets at the Wesleyan Chapel, and so they should be. They're original Crappers. Thomas Crapper is often accredited with inventing the flushing toilet, but it would seem, that particular accolade goes to a guy called John Harrington way back in 1596. Either way, Crapper did much for the modern day toilet and its flushing system, the Wesleyan Chapel have original Crappers and we went and saw them.
I also like the instructions written for Victorians, unsure of how a Crapper might work; 'PULL AND LET GO.'
The thing with the east end, it's a real hotch-potch, so you see Crappers, like you've just seen, plague burial grounds, Shakespeare's stomping ground and giant animals ...
... just one of the many pieces of street art that are all over the area. This particular creature was done by Peter Roa, who also painted the crane, which Kalpana (previous Chalker) took a picture of on Brick Lane last week. Anyway ... we then went and had a cuppa at I made it for you, which is a great little tea shop place that's opened up on Pitfield Street (which you can see in my last blog 'Shoreditch/Hoxton then & now') and wandered around the area, which I have to say has far more secrets than people give it credit for, until we stopped at The Water Poet, a pub named after an Elizabethan waterman called John Taylor. C'est tout.
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.