Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Keys of the Kingdom

From time-to-time on a London Walk, the unexpected happens. Every once-in-a-while, the current owner of Ezra Pound’s former home in Kensington pops out to greet the London Walkers and treat them to a reading of Pound’s work and a tale of meeting his daughter. Someone may pop out of a Knightsbridge house and ask the Walkers to join a 21st Birthday Party (it happened. It really did: just ask London Walks guide supreme Nick on his Knightsbridge Pubs Walk this Friday… or read his LW Blog post about it HERE).

It happened again last weekend with David, while he was guiding his regular Sunday morning bunberry in Hampstead. During the walk he ran in to a Hamspteadite with an intriguing looking garden. A few words were exchanged and – hey presto! – David and his 20 London Walkers were escorted into a hidden corner of Hampstead that few will ever see.

Which leads us to the new London Walks series of hidden ceremony walks. We’re thinking of calling ‘em Pomp & Circumstances Walks (a nod, of course, to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstances Marches) and they will feature the secret ceremonies that make London tick.

London is, of course, famous for its ceremonies. The Changing of the Guard is simply a must see; ditto Trooping the Colour; the equally celebrated Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London is quite something, too. But the real “keys of the kingdom” – or at least its capital – can be found in the unique little pageants that mark the passage of the City’s year since time immemorial.

Our new series of must-see guided tours opens with a London Walk featuring a unique ceremony conducted by The Worshipful Company of Vitners (one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies) the motto of which is Vinum Exhilarat Animum – Latin for “Wine Cheers the Mind”. Cheers!

The Pomp & Circumstance Walks will be guided by Karen, one of London Walks’ award-winning guides – the first one takes place on the 8th July. As Karen is working on the walk as we blog, time and meeting place are TBC. But regular visitors to The Mothership, the London Walks Blog and London Walks Facebook Group Members (sign up below) will be the first to know, so do check back with us soon.

(The Keys of the Kingdom pictured adorn the entrance to the R.C Church of The Most Holy Trinity, Dockhead, Bermondsey SE1. Designed by architect and Hawksmoor biographer H.S Goodhart-Rendel and completed in 1959, the church has the distinction of being the first R.C Church in London since The Reformation to be built fronting a public highway.)

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