It's been a busy month, or at least June was a busy month and I've been a bit poor at adding my weekend walks roundups, so here are the two I did last weekend and also the weekend before that. All in one post.
Above, you can see the group that joined me on the walk from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's cathedral last Saturday. They're standing next to the only surviving City gate, called Temple bar, although it's not in it's original position. I had spotted one of street artist Ben Wilson's bits of chewing gum art and had drawn it to the group's attention, when Bruce ... one of the group members discovered another one, which is a great depiction of the gate itself. It looks like this.
For Sundays walk around east London, it was such a massive group that I had to climb on a wall to take the photo and make sure I could fit them all in. Although it was a mix of people from India, the States and Spain we also had Gareth who both lives and works in the area. Bruce, Kelly and Kelsey who had done the Saturday one even came back and did another. Dedication indeed.
Here are the groups from the previous weekend. I was delighted to see Supro (from India) back for another walk. He'd been on one last year and brought some friends with him this time. Oh yes, and Sean (from Australia) was back for his second walk too.
Tallest - Brett
Youngest - Tara (think she was 9 months old)
Best raincoat - Valerie
Most beardy group - See above photo
Best moustache - No winners
We were a day late for Sir Paul McCartney's impromptu-ish gig in Covent Garden, but there were still the usual street performers, musicians and general hub-bub as we passed through on our way from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's cathedral. There were 8 in the group, including Jane and Peter who'd previously joined my Sunday walk, and also Jean and Andy who were using one of the Bowl Of Chalk Christmas vouchers from last year. Here they all are standing on the Strand outside the Royal Courts of Justice, with Temple Bar just behind them.
Temple Bar of course, used to be one of the City gates and can now be found next to St Paul's cathedral.
In the afternoon there were a few more people who were back for their second walk with me. Cordula and CJ brought with them Klaus and Ute over from Germany, and Archie, who had also done the Sunday walk previously brought along Phoebe from the States. They were all joined by Dean and Maria, and here they are standing on the Millennium Bridge in the Shadows of the Tate Modern, with the dome of St Paul's cathedral in the distance behind them.
Now ... as we were nearing the end of the walk, we passed over London Bridge and I mentioned the fact that the second London Bridge (we're on the third) was bought by an American called Robert P. McCullough, who had it shipped back home and rebuilt over Lake Havasu in Arizona. This fact usually ignites the question as to whether Mr McCullough thought he was buying Tower Bridge and in fact bought the wrong bridge, something that Londoner's would like to think is true. Saturday was no exception and a short while later, we finished the walk and after everyone except Phoebe and Archie had left, Phoebe said she had something to tell me, which was, that Robert P. McCullough was her Great Uncle.
On Sunday, there were just three people to join me on the wander around east London; Nancy from L.A and Niki and Gabriella, originally from Arkansas. Here they are standing in front of one of the few remaining and still visible Banksy's in east London, which is nestling inside the beer garden of Cargo. The artist himself has been in the news a great deal recently, due to his self imposed 'residency' on the streets of New York.
Best hat - Klaus
A BIG joint award for coming on their 2nd walk - Jane, Peter, Cordula, CJ & Archie
Most likely to have a Great Uncle who bought London Bridge - Phoebe
Best moustache - No Winners
Most camouflaged bag - Nancy
Most likely to take photographs - Dan
Last Saturday it rained pretty much for the entire day. This obviously put a few people off coming on a guided walk around London, but there were still a minor handful of hardy souls not to be out done by a few drops of incessant rain. In the morning it was Nigel and Supro from Cheshire and Mubai respectively. Here they standing in Paternoster Square which you can reach by walking through the Temple Bar gateway from St Paul's cathedral. The whole area was redeveloped a few years ago, and the centre piece is a tallish monument. I wanted to take their photo with the monument in the background, because I have seen many people do the same thing. The funny thing about it, is that it is apparently not a monument to anything ... but a glorified air vent, made to be in keeping with the rest of the area.
In the afternoon, Jacqui came along for her third walk with me, thus completing 'The Trilogy'. She was joined by Francoise visiting from France, and off we splashed through the puddles to explore Bankside and Borough. Here they are down on Bankside, just a short walk from the site of the original Globe Theatre and the Clink Prison (now a cheesy museum/experience). I do believe the street was called 'Dead Man's Walk' in Shakespeare's day.
For Sundays east London walk, it was a super group, a mega group, a veritable gaggle of people, largely bolstered by quite a number of students from Israel. The students are over here doing internships for a month or so, and actually, I did a similar walk with last year's lot. This year they were joined by their organiser Judy, who along with her husband Brian, had come to see what it was all about. I was delighted to see Shane and Penny again, who came on one of the Saturday walks a year ago, and then some newbies, Yvonne, Andy, Ann and Mike. Here are the whole bally lot of them in Hoxton Square.
Also, it didn't rain once on Sunday. Hurrah.
Most French - Francoise
Special award for completing the Bowl Of Chalk Trilogy - Jacqui
Most likely to know a thing or two about windows - Andy & Mike
Most like to know a thing or two about bikes - Shane
Most Israeli people ever in one group - Sunday
We were talking about this on yesterday's walk, so thought I'd do a little post about it. As you may or may not know, the City of London was once a walled and gated city. The gates have long since disappeared, but linger on in the names of streets, areas and Underground stations like Aldgate, Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, Moorgate, Cripplegate, Newgate and Ludgate. Only one of the gates still exists; Temple Bar, itself a curious later addition outside the original western most gate of Ludgate and providing a sort of sticking plaster at the point where Fleet Street meets the Strand, and a boundary between the City of London and Westminster.
First mentioned in 1293 it was very possibly nothing more than a chain strung between two posts, but by 1351, a gate had been built housing a small prison above it.
Temple Bar survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, but as if they didn't have enough building to do, it was decided (largely at the insistence of King Charles II) that a new gate should be erected, courtesy of course of Sir Christopher Wren.
Temple Bar stood proudly on its spot on Fleet Street for just over 200 years and as you left the City, you'd have been looked down upon by stone carvings of King James I and Queen Anne of Denmark, and if you were arriving from Westminster, greeted by King Charles I and Charles II.
Eventually, due to the widening of the street and the cost of maintenance, the gate was taken down in January 1878, stone by stone, numbered and spent the next ten years lying in a yard on Farringdon Road. After a new owner was evidently not forthcoming (there's only a short list of people who need a massive gate) it was given to a London Brewer, Sir Henry Meux, who erected Temple Bar as the gatehouse to his newly acquired residence; Theobalds Park and Mansion in Hertfordshire.
The family sold the property in 1929 and subsequent owners neglected the gate until by the 1970's it was a decaying wreck.
Many people in the City of London had always hoped that one day, Temple Bar would return home and in the late 1970's, the Temple Bar Trust was formed with this objective being their sole purpose. It took 25 years, but in 2001 the current site between St Paul's cathedral and Paternoster Square was approved. It took 16 months to remove, restore and re-assemble Temple Bar, at a cost of £2.9 million.
There's a small room above the main arch, which in the 19th Century had been a ledger room for the adjacent Child's Bank on Fleet Street and during its stay in Theobalds Park, an additional dining room where Lady Meux entertained guests such as King Edward VII and Sir Winston Churchill. Today, it can be hired by the public for meetings or meals, seating up to 14 people. Quite a unique experience, I think you'll agree.
So, next time you're by St Paul's cathedral and see the rather large gate forming the entrance to Paternoster Square, remember that it's had an interesting history and moved ... twice.
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.