A London Walk
Mairi Store, a retired, Blue Badge Tour Guide, leads a group of people on a walk that takes in many historical places by the Thames in south London. She says, "...it was a great walk. The weather was kind although a bit chilly. and most of us ended up in one of the River Pubs for lunch and left about 4:00 p.m. and I think a very good day was had by all."
We all met up at City Hall or "Ken's Palace," beside the river Thames, facing wonderful views of The Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the Customs House. Mairi Store (Chair of SICA Britain) explained that the reason for the lop-sided spiral shape of City Hall was to make the most of the sunlight and so it wouldn't cast a shadow over the pedestrian area. It was designed in a very environmentally friendly way. The water in the cooling system can be used again for flushing the toilets, and the heating comes from the computers used in the building.
We then went onto Hay's Galleria, which was once a riverside wharf. The original wharf was much bigger than just Hay's Galleria, it stretched from the Galleria to near where London Bridge hospital is located. In by gone times the whole area was known as London's Larder. Today, it's the area known as London Bridge City.
We walked through Southwark, where we saw the replica of the Golden Hind and Southwark cathedral, and heard the story of St. Mary Overy before she entered the convent.
On to the Borough, which historically, has been independent of the City of London. Here we heard tales of the ladies of the night in their "stews," tempting the wealthy gentlemen across the river; and the tale of the ferryman's seat where he sat waiting to ferry the men back across the river after curfew—for a good price.
We walked through the Borough market amid smells of freshly cooked hot salt beef, pork and chicken. We saw the Clink Prison and the gruesome cage hanging aloft where people were left to die in public view after being tortured.
We passed the site of the old Globe Theatre, where many of Shakespeare's plays were performed, and which burned down in 1613. We stopped for coffee at the new theatre. Mairi told us that the new Globe Theatre—a replica of the original—existed because of the efforts of Sam Wannamaker and his dream of re-building the theatre some fifty years ago. He first got the idea when he visited the British Trade Fair in Chicago in 1936 and saw there a model of the original Globe Theatre. Sam Wannamaker died in 1993, and therefore was never able to see the realisation of his dream in action—restoring the Globe Theatre for Elizabethan plays.
We all had lunch together looking out on to the river and the hustle and bustle of London. I really enjoyed being in the pleasant company of the group.
We were blessed with a beautiful day with clear views all about. Mairi made it so interesting. She is a qualified London Guide and knows London inside out. We raised £100 for SICA.
To find out more about guided walks in London please see the Guild of Registered Tourist Guides' website at: The Guild of Registered Tourist Guides.