Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Charing Cross, Brent Cross, King’s Cross… HOT Cross!




An Easter foodie extravaganza from Ann.

(Blog Editor Adam: Let it be noted that I resisted temptation to call it and Easter EGGstravaganza. Oops!)

(David & Mary at London Walks: Adam…You’re fired!)

Over to Ann

“Hot Cross Buns, one a penny two a penny, Hot Cross Buns
If your daughters will not eat them, give them to your sons.
But if you haven’t any of those pretty little elves
You cannot then do better than eat them all you selves.


A bun will certainly cost you more than that nowadays. This is the week to eat them – and Good Friday the traditional day, even though you can buy them in supermarkets virtually all year round. It’s said that these buns will never go mouldy – there’s a London pub where buns hanging in the bar date back to 1848. The story goes that a poor widow baked the buns for her sailor son to eat at Easter – but he never returned. She baked the buns each year in his memory, and when a pub was built on the site of her cottage, the landlord continued the tradition. On Good Friday a sailor from the Royal Navy presents a new bun, which will join the others – admittedly rather blackened by now – hanging up. The pub is The Widow’s Son in Devons Rd., Bow -but I’ve had no luck contacting them to see if and when the 2010 bun will be presented.

On Good Friday 1839 the famous Bun Shop in Pimlico Rd., Chelsea, sold 24,000 buns. Its products were celebrated in a popular song: ‘O flour of the ovens! A zephyr in paste! Fragrant as honey, and sweeter in taste’


For details of Ann's forthcoming Foodie London Walks go to www.walks.com/foodie


Here's a video preview of Ann in action…






POST UPDATED 23/3/16


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 www.walks.com.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Plaque of the week No.28

First…



Commemorating: The Rose Theatre
Street: Park Street
Postcode: SE1
Borough: Southwark

Amunsden got to the South Pole first: we remember Scott as an also-ran. John Logie Baird lodged his patent for TV before anyone else, but others claim to have invented the contraption, too. Can the person-in-the-street remember any of the rivals?

It’s an unusual situation down in Southwark that the first Elizabethan playhouse on Bankside is topped in the popular imagination by the second. William Shakespeare’s Globe is remembered as the crucible of the language. And the new version remains a vibrant artistic centre and great London attraction.

But The Rose got there first.

Open by the late 1580s (the original Globe dates from 1599) it suffered the slings and arrows (to borrow from its neighbour, the bard of Stratford) of outrageous fortune in the shape of bubonic plague outbreaks (during which the theatres were closed) and stiff competition from the bear bating nearby. Squeezed out of business by the Globe, it was abandoned in 1605.

A fringe theatre still operates on the site. Keep an eye out for the plaque on and around the Along the Thames pub walk.


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Sunday, 28 March 2010

On and Around… Apparitions, Alleyways & Ale

The first spring dusk of the new week… neither dark nor light, day nor night… dead nor undead. The perfect seasonal backdrop for Apparitions, Alleyways & Ale, Monday night's ghost walk with London Walks. Meet Peter G at Embankment Station at 7.30p.m.


Queen Anne's Gate, even the reassuring old red post box spectral by night…


Buckingham Palace by purple dusk…


A pretty view to the south from St James's Park by gaslight. Don't watch alone…


The London Eye reflected in the lake at St James's Park, the water still and serene… most of the time…

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Spooky Scoop

Another scoop from The Mothership where work reaches fever pitch on The Famous White Leaflet for summer 2010. Here's the new blurb for the excellent Ghosts of the West End walk, Apparitions, Alleyways & Ale – which will be lead by a brace of new guides – Peter G (join him on Monday nights) & Richard W (Thursdays) – in the new season…

"No hype. No overegging the pudding.* This is just a plain old fashioned, honest-to-goodness, works-a-treat London Walk. It’s beautifully put together, beautifully crafted, fun to go on. It’s got variety to sigh for. It’s got those inside-the-stopped-works-of-a-watch moments (spooky little alleyways) that London Walks specializes in. It’s got the buzz and bright lights of theatreland. It’s got eastern exotica and palaces and parks in the gloaming. It’s got great ghost stories. It’s got never-knew-that/didn’t-know-this-was-here open sesames. It’s convivial. It’s forbidden and inviting. It’s visually very appealing. It’s got how-bizarre-is-that finds – e.g., the grave and gravestone of the Nazi ambassador’s dog. It’s got a superb guide. *For example, tritely - let alone embarrassingly - describing stuff as “spine chilling” when it isn’t even remotely so. Not us, needless to say. Guided by Peter G. on Mondays and Russell or Richard W. on Thursdays."

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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Spring Forward!

DON'T FORGET…




…AT 1.00 A.M…



…BRITISH SUMMERTIME BEGINS…




… SO PUT YOUR CLOCKS & WATCHES FORWARD




…BY ONE HOUR!

(We wouldn’t want you to be late for your Sunday London Walk. Particularly NOT the Greenwich trip (at 10.40a.m from Tower Hill Station). Being late for a London Walk in the Home of Time would be rather ironic, don’t you agree?)



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Friday, 26 March 2010

The London Walks Reading List No.13

It’s been a while since we last updated our Reading List. So we’ve decided to relaunch with a slightly different direction.



In the past we’ve added titles to The Reading List that one could easily acquire with a single click or, even better, one visit to the bookshop (support your local bookshop!).

And while we’ll still cover such titles (we’ve got a children’s classic coming soon, for example, freely available in all the most popular shops) we’re going to add an element of sport to the proceedings. The thrill of the chase, if you will.

In short, we’re going to add a few titles for which you will have to browse.

The forgotten art of browsing, particularly in secondhand bookshops, is one of London’s great pleasures. The coffee emporia may have moved in on the Charing Cross Road, but there are still more good secondhand bookshops than you can shake a stick at here in London. Check them out. And should a shop assistant approach and ask “May I help you?” (very unlikely in London’s secondhand bookshops!) we can provide you with two answers with which to reply. You can either say:

“I’m looking for what I didn’t know I wanted” (the LW Blog definition of browsing)

Or you can say, “Do you have a copy of…”


Peter Jackson’s London Explorer

This paperback volume is a collection of cartoons by Peter Jackson. Jackson worked on the old London Evening News (defunct since 1980 when it was incorporated into the Evening Standard) and for that paper he crafted a lovingly illustrated series on the history of London in cartoon form. (The graphic novel is nothing new.)

The volume we came across (at Black Gull Books in East Finchley) has no date in the flyleaf, but the accompanying London Underground map in the back has no Victoria Line so we estimate it to be some several years before 1967.

Jackson’s illustrations (“with supporting text by W. Crawford Snowden”) covered a different area of London each week. Succinct and revelatory, his drawings bring London’s history to life with a mixture fact, fable and cartoon fun touches (such as King Charles II snuggling up to Nell Gwynn and her orange on the Fleet Street section, illustrated here).


Jackson’s encyclopaedic knowledge of London grew from his love of the metropolis and he was a renowned collector of historic prints, maps and London ephemera. He drew for the Evening News from 1940 to 1980 and his other series include London is Stranger Than Fiction and Somewhere to Go.

Jackson passed away in 2003.

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