Walk 47: City of London: Apples ‘n Pears

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2.5 miles (4.02km)

Time to walk: A short walk in terms of distance, but this one took us about 3.5 hours as there’s so much to see & take in

Difficulty: All on hard paths plus flat & easy walking

Parking: N/A as we caught the train in

Public toilets: Cafes, bars etc

Map of the route © Walking World

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The City of London’s a wonderful place as it’s forever changing with all the investment being put into it & the wonderful buildings that are now going up. London’s now developing into one of the great skylines of the world

We’ll start outside Moorgate Tube Station & finish, eventually on London Bridge – there’s so much to see, so shall we walk?

Let’s Walk!

1. Our walk today starts outside Moorgate Tube Station…

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This area’s really being developed so, once finished, the directions may change, but for now cross the road & head down the narrow alley known as Moor place…

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2. On the wall on the right’s a plaque commemorating the tragic Moorgate accident back in 1975

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43 people were killed & 74 seriously injured in the Moorgate tube crash on 28 February 1975 when a southbound Northern City Line train crashed into buffers at the end of the line at the station, inside a tunnel beyond the platform. It was the greatest loss of life on the Underground during peacetime & the worst ever train accident on the system

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3. Carry straight on at the end along Fore Street…

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Love the new skyline…but this was where the first Nazi bomb was dropped on London during World War II

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4. At the end of the street it’s tempting to follow the road round to the left…

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…but don’t…turn right to visit St Giles without Cripplegate Church

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5. Before going into the church have a look at the superb Roman Wall on the left…

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6. Let’s have a look inside this very interesting church…

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There’s been a church on this site for almost 1000 years, the early one probably being a wattle & daub structure. The first stone church was founded in 1091 by Alphune, Bishop of London. Nothing of that one remains apart from a few stones in the tower

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The current church was built in 1394, but it has suffered serious damage on at least 3 occasions & has therefore been extensively restored. The first fire occurred in 1545 under the reign of Henry VIII. Although The Great Fire of London destroyed over 80 churches, it didn’t touch St Giles. However it was badly bombed during World War II & only the shell remained intact. It was rebuilt by Godfrey Allen, using the restoration plans of 1545 which were found in Lambeth Palace

7. There’s a map of the church below…

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The church has several famous people associated with it…

Buried here are the poet John Milton, John Foxe, Sir Martin Frobisher & John Speed; married here were Oliver Cromwell & the parents of Sir Thomas More; baptised here were Ben Jonson, poet & dramatist Daniel Defoe & artist Holman Hunt

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The church also had several famous parishioners including William Shakespeare, Edward Alleyn & John Bunyan. Lancelot Andrewes & Samuel Annesley, the grandfather of the Wesleys were vicars here

See…we told you it has some history attached!

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8. Come out of the church & head back to the corner of Fore Street & Wood Street – the Barbican residential development’s on the left…

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Continue along Wood Street towards the underpass

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On the left here’s the site of Cripplegate. The gate was already in place when the Roman was built, as it had been a gate in a Roman fort that already stood on the site

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This whole area was pretty much flattened during The Blitz & the view today where it once stood is somewhat different, but still spectacular

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9. Continue under the underpass turning right onto London Wall…

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Love this part of London with all the new buildings – the one over the road’s spectacular, as must be the rides in the lifts!

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10. Directly ahead of us is The Museum of London

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This a fabulous free museum which takes you on an unforgettable journey through the capital’s turbulent past. Discover prehistoric London, see how the city changed under Romans & Saxons, wonder at medieval London & examine the tumultuous years when London was ravaged by civil wars, plague and fire

Then venture into the Galleries of Modern London where you can walk the streets of Victorian London, take a stroll in recreated pleasure gardens & marvel at the magnificent Lord Mayor’s Coach

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Plus one of the highlights of the day for us was the chance to see the magnificent 2012 Olympic Cauldron

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11. We didn’t have time today so instead crossed London Wall into Noble Street to have a look at another part of the Roman Wall…

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12. Head back towards the impressive underpass again – the police were have a field day with their speed trap along here…

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…but turn right down Wood Street again before reaching the tunnel towards the tower

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13. The tower in the centre of the road is all that remains of St Alban Church…

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Of medieval origin, it was rebuilt in 1634, destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, & rebuilt once again, this time to a Gothic design by Sir Christopher Wren. It was severely damaged by bombing during the World War II & the ruins cleared, leaving only the tower. The churchyard was once used by the Barber Surgeons company to bury the bodies of criminals they’d dissected!

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14. It really is an amazing structure bang in the middle of the road. Now turn left down Love Lane…

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Don’t feel all ‘luvvie dovey’ down here though as the names commemorates the prostitutes who worked here in the 16th century. The large building on the left’s Wood Street Police Station, one of the largest in the City of London

15. It’s not all muck ‘n’ brass though as, on the left at the end of the Lane’s a lovely, peaceful, little garden with a statue of Shakespeare & a memorial to two Shakesperian actors, John Heminges & William Condell…

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They acted alongside Shakespeare & attended the Church of St Mary which once stood here. After Shakespeare’s death they published the First Folio of his plays as a memorial to him. At this time plays were often lost when they fell from theatre companies’ repertoires. Sixteen Shakespeare plays would have been lost forever if they hadn’t published them

16. Turn right into Aldermanbury…

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…& at the end left to arrive at St Lawrence Jewry

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Another church that was destroyed in The Great Fire & rebuilt to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren. It’s the official church of the Lord Mayor of London

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17. Head through the gap on the left side of the church into the spectacular Guildhall Yard…

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…which contains the magnificent Guildhall

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Guildhall is a Grade I-listed building that’s been used as a town hall for several hundred years & is still the ceremonial & administrative centre of the City of London & its Corporation. The term “Guildhall” refers both to the whole building & to its main room, which is a medieval great hall

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The building is traditionally referred to as Guildhall, never “the” Guildhall

18. Also in the yard’s the Guildhall Art Gallery

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The Guildhall Art Gallery occupies a building that was completed in 1999 to replace an earlier building destroyed in The Blitz in 1941. The gallery was originally built in 1885 to house art collections from the City of London Corporation & the present collection consists of about 4,000 works, of which around 250 are on display at any one time. Many of the paintings are of London themes

Enter the building & ask to see one of London’s most spectacular & free sights – a Roman Amphitheatre in the basement

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The City of London was under Roman rule for a fifth of its history. Around AD43, the Romans established Londinum &, within 30 years, they are thought to have constructed a wooden amphitheatre, which received a major facelift in the early second century

The remains were discovered during the redevelopment of the Guildhall Art Gallery in 1985 & offer a fascinating insight into the bloody & barbaric theatre of Roman London. More than 7,000 spectators sat on tiered wooden benches in the open air to watch wild animal fights & the execution of criminals

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On the way out stop & look at the very old football

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The 1st Battalion, 18th County of London Regiment (london Irish Rifles) were part of the 5th London Brigade at the battle of Loos on 25th September 1915. As they climbed out of their trenches to start the attack, Sergeant Edwards, the captain of the football team kicked the ball into No Man’s Land & so began the charge towards the enemy lines

Retrieved from the battlefield, the ‘Loos’ Football is a reminder in an extraordinary moment in the history of warfare

19. Exit Guildhall Yard between the Gallery & Church & turn rich up Gresham Street…

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There’s a great view back down Wood Street on the right towards the Tower

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Keep going along Gresham Street until reaching the fantastically named Gutter Lane on the left – so now we’ve had Love & Gutter Lanes!

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20. Head down the Lane, keeping straight on at the junction…

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Another side street, Gutter Lane, was first recorded around 1185 as Godrun Lane – the lane of a woman called Guthrún & had become corrupted to its present form by the 15th century. This was an early place of residence for the City’s goldbeaters. ‘Gutter Lane’ was formerly a slang term for the throat, a pun on Latin guttur, ‘throat’, as in ‘guttural’

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21. After the junction on the right’s the Mansion House of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers (another of London’s Guilds)…

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The Worshipful Company of Saddlers is one of the most ancient of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Guild of Saddlers, the Company’s predecessor, is thought to have been an Anglo-Saxon Craft Guild – it certainly existed at some point in the eleventh century. The Guild became a Company when a Royal Charter of Incorporation was granted by King Edward III in 1363. The City granted the Company the right to regulate the trade of saddle-making. All saddlers in & within two miles of the City were subject to the Company’s regulations. However, the powers of the Company, which has existed on the same site at Cheapside (formerly West Chepe) since 1160, were eroded over time

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Nowadays the Company retains strong affiliations with the saddlery trade, sponsoring the Society of Master Saddlers & giving prizes for deserving young riders at equestrian events. The Company is an institution which is charitable rather than a charitable institution & it supports many good causes & sponsors scholarships at Alleyn’s School, has strong links with the Household Cavalry & the King’s Troop R.H.A. as well as with other regiments and Livery Companies traditionally involved with leather or horses

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The Company ranks twenty-fifth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies (as settled in 1515 on the Companies’ economic or political power at that time). Unusually, the Saddlers Company has two mottoes: “Hold Fast, Sit Sure” & “Our Trust Is In God”

In addition to admitting members as Freeman & Liveryman, the Saddlers’ Company has the unique privilege of granting Yeoman status. Its notable Yeomen include HRH The Princess Royal, Peter Walwyn (Chairman of the Lambourn Trainers Association), & Richard Meade

22. At the end turn right into Cheapside…

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Cheapside takes its name from ‘chepe’, a Saxon word for a market. The street connected the southern end of the Roman Watling Street with the main City settlement to its east and its alignment was dictated by a convenient bridging point across the (now subter­ranean) River Walbrook

The first church of St Mary-le-Bow was built c.1080 by Archbishop Lanfranc & may have replaced a church of Saxon origin. Its name probably refers to the bowed shape of the arches supporting its undercroft, which were a novelty at that time

Market buildings were constructed along the roadside from the late twelfth century, with low roofs that later formed viewing platforms for jousting tournaments. At that time the layout of Cheapside was more like a marketplace than a street, up to 62 feet wide but with very narrow exits at each end. Side streets acquired names that indicated their early special­isations: fishmongers traded on Friday Street, while Honey Lane, Milk Street & Wood Street are self-explanatory

Cheapside itself became the centre of the jewellery trade, where most London goldsmiths sold their wares, but it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. It was laid out afterwards with the bottlenecks removed, forming a continuous link with Poultry, the connecting street to its east

Most of the street was rebuilt with blocks of offices from the late 19th century, with shops retained at street level. The Cheapside Hoard, a remarkable collection of early 17th-century jewellery, was discovered in 1912 buried in the cellar of a property at the junction of Cheapside & Friday Street

When Sir John Bennett’s clock shop closed in 1931, motor manufacturer Henry Ford acquired both the building and its famous clock and shipped them to Dearborn, Michigan, where the shop was (partially) recon­structed as part of the Greenfield Village visitor attraction

In 1933 a commentator wrote that “dingy-looking brown buildings have been replaced by tall & handsome buildings which give Cheapside the appearance of a new street.” History did not look so kindly on most of these “handsome buildings” – nor on those erected following the destruction wreaked during the Second World War. Several blocks have recently been replaced once again, bringing more office space & even more retailers & eateries

23. Turn diagonally left to visit St Paul’s Cathedral…

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…passing through the gate into the churchyard

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…& round to the front of the Cathedral…

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24. St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London & the mother church of the Diocese of London. Sitting on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London, its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site in AD 604. The present church, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren’s lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding programme in the City after the Great Fire of London

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The cathedral is one of the most famous & most recognisable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren’s City churches, dominated the skyline for 300 years. At 365 feet tall, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul’s is the second largest church building in area in the UK after Liverpool Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral occupies a significant place in the national identity, being the central subject of much promotional material, as well as of images of the dome surrounded by the smoke & fire of the Blitz

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Services held at St Paul’s have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington & Sir Winston Churchill; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First & Second World Wars; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales & Lady Diana Spencer, the launch of the Festival of Britain & the thanksgiving services for the Golden Jubilee, the 80th Birthday & the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

You can enter to pray in a small side chapel for free, but general admission costs £18 per adult – we didn’t have the time available to justify the fee

25. Right it’s time for some refreshment, so we’re going to take you to one of the City’s jewels. Come back down the steps & proceed down Ludgate Hill towards the junction…
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Don’t forget to turn round to get an excellent view of St Pauls

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Plus if you feel in need of a ‘sugar-rush’ there’s always Hardys Sweetshop to provide your fix…

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26. Cross straight over the crossroads into another of London’s most famous thoroughfares, Fleet Street…

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Fleet Street is named after the River Fleet, London’s largest underground river. It was the home of British national newspapers until the 1980s. Even though the last major British news office, Reuters, left in 2005, the term Fleet Street continues to be used as a metonym for the British national press

Fleet Street is now more associated with the investment banking, legal & accountancy professions. For example, The Inns of Court & barristers’ chambers are down alleys & around courtyards off the street. Many of the old newspaper offices have become the London headquarters for various companies e.g. Goldman Sachs is in the old Daily Telegraph & Liverpool Echo buildings of Peterborough Court & Mersey House. C. Hoare & Co, England’s oldest privately owned bank, has had its place of business here since 1690. Child & Co, at 1 Fleet Street, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland, claims to be the oldest continuous banking establishment founded in 1580

27. We’re looking for one of London’s most famous pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which is on the right…

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…but, before we enter, turn up the narrow alley down the side of it

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28. When the alley opens out take the left fork into lovely Gough Square…

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Walk towards the house with the plaque at the end. This is where the famous author Dr Samuel Johnson lived

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Dr Johnson made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor & lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican & committed Tory, & has been described as “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history

After nine years of work, Johnson’s ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ was published in 1755. It had a far-reaching effect on Modern English & has been described as “one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship”. This work brought Johnson popularity & success. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later, Johnson’s was viewed as the pre-eminent British dictionary

29. Turn round to retrace your steps to the pub, stopping to have a look at the statue of the cat…

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This is Hodge who belonged to Samuel Johnson. The statue shows Hodge sitting next to a pair of empty oyster shells atop a copy of Johnson’s famous dictionary, with the inscription “a very fine cat indeed”. It has become customary for visitors that walk past the statue to place coins in the oyster shells as tokens of good luck. To mark special occasions & anniversaries a pink piece of counsel’s ribbon may be seen tied to one of the oyster shells or around Hodge’s neck

30. The entrance to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is through the black doors in the alley. You are immediately transported back hundreds of years. There’s a very small, dark room immediately on the right, with a small bar & roaring fire in the winter – note the sawdust on the floor!

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Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is one of a number of pubs in London to have been rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666. There has been a pub at this location since 1538. While there are several older pubs which have survived because they were beyond the reach of the fire, or like The Tipperary on the opposite side of Fleet Street because they were made of stone, this pub continues to attract interest due to the curious lack of natural lighting inside which generates its own gloomy charm

Some of the interior wood panelling is nineteenth century, some older, perhaps original. The vaulted cellars are thought to belong to a 13th-century Carmelite monastery which once occupied the site

Next to the bar is a “Chop Room” serving simple, but good food & there are further larger bars through the back. One of the best things about this place though is you can get a pint for less than £3 – something unusual in London today. It’s an institution you really must visit

31. Suitably ‘refreshed’ it’s time to continue our walk so we need to retrace our steps back  past St Paul’s to Cheapside again…

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32. Continue right along Cheapside…

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At the junction with Wood Street on the left, notice how narrow the shops are fronting Cheapside

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This is because there was once a church & churchyard behind them. If you have a look you can still see the remaining part of it. St Peter, Westcheap, sometimes known simply as “St Peter Cheap”, was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 & not rebuilt. Three gravestones survive set into remnants of the wall. The churchyard was laid out as a public garden in the 19th century & has a large plane tree that William Wordsworth referred to in his poem, ‘The Reverie of Poor Susan’

“At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years:
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the Bird.

‘Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove’s,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade:
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes!”

33. Carry on along Cheapside noting how many of the streets reflect once was sold in them…

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Cross the road to visit another famous church…St Mary le Bow

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34. This is the church whose bell all True Cockneys are born within earshot of. The sound of the bells of St Mary’s is credited with having persuaded Dick Whittington to turn back from Highgate & remain in London to become Lord Mayor

Click on this link to have a listen

It was built around 1080 by Lanfranc who was William the Conqueror’s Archbishop of Canterbury. Much of the current building was destroyed by a German bomb during the Blitz on 10 May 1941 causing the bells to crash to the ground

Let’s have a look inside as it’s very beautiful…

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The Rood in the above photo was a gift from the people of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1964

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35. Back outside in the courtyard’s a statue of Captain John Smith, one of our most famous explorers…

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He was considered to have played an important part in the establishment of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. He was a leader of the Virginia Colony (based at Jamestown) between September 1608 & August 1609, & led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia & the Chesapeake Bay. He was the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area & New England

36. The treats just keep coming on this walk – turn right after the church down Bow Lane…

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Bow Lane contains some lovely & some quite expensive little shops

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37. On the right’s one from Northampton! Needless to say we had to pop in & have a quick chat…

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Joseph Cheaney & Sons was founded by Joseph Cheaney & moved to the present site in Northampton 1896. In 1903 Joseph’s sons Arthur & Harold joined the company. In 1930 “Dick” Cheaney, grandson of the founder, joined the company. In 1966 Cheaney won the Queen’s Award to industry & was sold to Church & Company. In 2009 Jonathan & William Church bought the company. Their family has been making fine shoes for five generations & they are fully committed to producing the finest footwear entirely made in England

38. Shortly after Cheaney’s Bow Lane crosses a famous street…Watling Street which is a famous Roman Road running between Dover, via London to Wroxeter in Shropshire. There was actually a track here long before the Romans arrived, both they were the first to pave it

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We know it well as it passes through Northamptonshire forming part of the A5. Little did we know that standing on it here, if we turn right we’ll get one of the best views of St Paul’s in London

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39. Well that was a lovely little detour, but now about turn & retrace your steps back up to Cheapside which turns into Poultry

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And at the end right towards Bank

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40. This little corner of London contains some of the most important financial institutions in the City

Firstly on the right’s The Mansion House

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Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. It’s used for some of the City of London’s official functions, including an annual dinner, hosted by the Lord Mayor, at which the Chancellor of the Exchequer customarily gives a speech – his “Mansion House Speech” about the state of the British economy

41. Over to the left’s The Bank of England

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The Bank of England is the central bank of the UK & the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it’s the second oldest central bank in the world, after the Sveriges Riksbank & the world’s 8th oldest bank. It was established to act as the English Government’s banker& is still the banker for the Government. The Bank was privately owned by stockholders from its foundation in 1694 until nationalised in 1946

In 1998, it became an independent public organisation, wholly owned by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government, with independence in setting monetary policy

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The Bank is one of eight banks authorised to issue banknotes in the United Kingdom, but has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England & Wales & regulates the issue of banknotes by commercial banks in Scotland & Northern Ireland

The Bank’s headquarters have been in Threadneedle Street, since 1734. It’s sometimes known by the metonym The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street or The Old Lady, a name taken from the legend of Sarah Whitehead, whose ghost is said to haunt the Bank’s garden

Mark Carney assumed the post of The Governor of the Bank of England on 1 July 2013

Straight ahead’s The Royal Exchange

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The Royal Exchange in London was founded in the 16th century by the merchant Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London. The site was provided by the City of London Corporation & the Worshipful Company of Mercers, who still jointly own the freehold.

It has twice been destroyed by fire & subsequently rebuilt. The present building was designed by William Tite in the 1840s. The site was notably occupied by the Lloyd’s insurance market for nearly 150 years. Today the Royal Exchange contains offices, luxury shops & restaurants.

42. Turn diagonally right down Lombard Street…

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At the end you can see The Monument…

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So when reaching the busy junction turn left down Gracechurch Street & then Fenchurch Street

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43. Ahead’s the wonderful ‘Walkie Talkie’ building which had to be amended as it was melting cars…

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If you fancy having a look at The Monument turn right…

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The Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly known simply as the Monument, is a Doric column in the City of London, near the northern end of London Bridge, which commemorates the Great Fire of London

It stands 202 ft tall & 202 ft from the spot in Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started on 2 September 1666. It was designed by Christopher Wren & Robert Hooke & it’s height marks the distance from the site of the shop of Thomas Farynor, the King’s baker, where the Great Fire began

44. Back to Fenchurch Street & carry on right…

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If you fancy a look at the Walkie Talkie it’s on the right…

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20 Fenchurch Street is nicknamed ‘The Walkie-Talkie’ because of its distinctive shape. Construction was completed in spring 2014 & the top-floor ‘sky garden’ was opened in January 2015. The 34-storey building is the fifth tallest building in the City of London & the 13th tallest in London

Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and costing over £200 million, 20 Fenchurch Street features a highly distinctive top-heavy form which appears to burst upward & outward. A large viewing deck, bar & restaurants are included on the top three floors. Today the wait for the Sky Garden was over 1 hour so unfortunately we didn’t have time – it’s on the list though

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45. Continue back along Fenchurch Street…

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At the junction with Billiter Stree have a look to the left…

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At the end’s another London skyline icon…the Gherkin

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30 St Mary Axe (widely known informally as The Gherkin & previously as the Swiss Re Building) was completed in December 2003 & opened in April 2004. With 41 storeys, it’s 591 foot tall & stands on the former site of the Baltic Exchange, which was extensively damaged in 1992 by the explosion of a bomb placed by the Provisional IRA

The building has become an iconic symbol of London and is one of the city’s most widely recognised examples of contemporary architecture

46. Ahead of us now’s The East India Arms Pub…

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A pub is believed to have stood here since at least 1645. The East India Arms was built in 1829 as part of an entire block of then typical London buildings. They originally housed different merchants & service providers having business with the East India Company & trade in East Asia.

In 1838, John Tallis included the East India Arms in his first Atlas of London. The 1829 building is now the oldest building in the Lloyd’s Avenue Conservation Area & Fenchurch Street. Within the City of London, it is the only place which still has links to the East India Company. The pub itself is part of the Shepherd Neame brewery

47. Turn right at the pub into Fenchurch Place towards Fenchurch Street Station

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Built in 1841 this was the first station inside the City of London. The roof & facade were changed in 1854. It was almost totally rebuilt in the 1980’s. It’s also the smallest London Terminus with only 4 platforms & the only one with a direct link to London Underground

But instead of going into the station, pass it & head left down the path on the left following the signs to The Tower of London…

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48. At the bottom’s Hart Street, but walk across into St Olave’s Church which dates back to 1658

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The church is one of the smallest in the City & is one of only a handful of medieval City churches that escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666. In addition to being a local parish church, St Olave’s is the Ward Church of the Tower Ward of the City of London

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49. Come back out & turn right down Seething Lane where Samuel Pepys lived & worked at the Navy Office. The Seething Lane Garden contains a bust of him, but the Navy Office burnt down in 1673

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Note the elaborate entrance into the church along the lane with the 3 skulls

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So now let’s tell you the scary bits…built on the site of the Battle of London Bridge in 1014 & the local church of diarist Samuel Pepys this place hides a shocking truth. Thousands of people were interred here which is why its ground level is significantly higher than the pavement of the street as a result

Mother Goose was one of those people, as were three hundred plague victims. St Olave Hart Street was the resting place of many Londoners. Unlike what was happening on the Continent where those who died were buried far away from the living to stop infection, plague-dead were permitted to be buried in Churchyards. A covering of quick-lime was spread over the corpse to speed up decomposition & help make room for the next poor unfortunate soul

The skulls act as guardians to this repository for the dead. Underneath the trio of skulls reads the inscription ‘Christus Vivere Mors mihi lucrum’, which means ”Christ lives, death is my reward’. In a City that has seen as much death as it has change, these three skulls saw Plague sweep the City, witnessed the flames of the Great Fire almost lick the walls of the Church itself & seen Charles Dickens peering up at them in the soaking rain

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This storey reminds us of our time in the Jewish Cemetery in Prague

50. Come on let’s carry on down Pepys Street & Savage Gardens…

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…& then left into Trinity Square at the end

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51. Trinity Square contains Trinity House (with the small cannon outside)

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In 1830 all the privately run lighthouses in England, Wales & the Channel Islands were compulsory purchased & their owners compensated. Trinity House has been running them ever since – what a fab story

52. The light’s fading quickly so follow the signs past the underground station where The Tower of London comes into view..

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Let’s have a closer look so carefully cross the road & continue down the concourse…

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And here’s our favourite pano

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53. Turn left along the riverside & walk towards Tower Bridge – the skyline here is spectacular with The Shard to the right…

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54. Tower Bridge really is a spectacular site & we’ll cross it shortly…

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…but before then go under the road & then left up the steps…

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55. Let’s now cross Tower Bridge

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Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule & suspension bridge. The bridge’s present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white & blue for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. Originally it was painted a mid greenish-blue colour

The bridge deck is freely accessible to both vehicles & pedestrians, whilst the bridge’s twin towers, high-level walkways & Victorian engine rooms form part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, for which an admission charge is made

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56. After crossing the bridge turn left down the steps & under the road again…

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We’re now going to follow the South Bank to the end of this walk

57. The South Bank’s a great place for a stroll at any time of the year…

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…& the views back across to The City where we’ve walked are amazing

 

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On the right along here’s one of London’s main tourist attractions – HMS Belfast

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HMS Belfast is a museum ship, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser & the first Royal Navy ship to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland. She was launched on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938 & commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany, but in November 1939 struck a German mine & spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. She returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment & armour. Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943 & in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst.

In June 1944 Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings. & then in June 1945 was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War & underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 & 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before Belfast entered reserve in 1963.

In 1967, efforts were initiated to avert Belfast‍‍ ’‍s expected scrapping & preserve her as a museum ship. The efforts of the Trust were successful & the government transferred the ship to the Trust in July 1971. Brought to London, she was moored on the River Thames & opened to the public in October 1971. Belfast became a branch of the Imperial War Museum in 1978 & now as a popular tourist attraction, she receives around a quarter of a million visitors per year

58. Carry on though a fabulous new edition..Hay’s Galleria

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Hay’s Galleria is a mixed use building in the London Borough of Southwark situated on the south bank of the River Thames including offices, restaurants, shops & flats. Originally a warehouse & associated wharf or the port of London, it was redeveloped in the 1980s

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59. This walk finishes at London Bridge, which is good as it’s now getting very dark, but then isn’t a city view great at night!

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So head up the steps to our finish with a great view of The Shard

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So…that’s it, but if we’d started earlier we’d have continued along The South Bank past The Globe & The Eye etc. But the light’s gone so we must stop, but what a fabulous walk that’s quite short, but takes quite a long time

If you’re in London….

Go Walk!