I have started to add walks for 2023 on my Eventbrite page, which can be found at this link:
Welcome to the page dedicated to my London Guided Walks. Based on the blog, these walks will take you on a journey through the history of an area of London, discovering how the city has evolved to the place we see today.
I have walked London for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are being taken for weekend walks around the city in the late 1960s – not sure it was always what I wanted to do, but those walks left an impression that has lasted.
I started scanning my father’s negatives in the late 1990s. It took many years as there were thousands of photos to scan, with family and work commitments being a priority. There were some notes to identify the locations and I did have a few years where he could identify the locations of scanned photos for me, however a large number still needed tracing.
The blog was started in 2014 to give me the incentive of going out and finding the locations of these photos dating back to 1946. It was also a means of discovering and learning more of London as a weekly post could cover my father’s photos or other areas of London that I wanted to walk and explore.
Looking back through my posts, they tend to focus on a single early photo or place. There are many individual posts that should combine to tell the story of how an area of London has changed, how the history of a place has influenced what we see today, along with the story of those who have lived and worked there.
A chance meeting with one of the tutors of the Islington and Clerkenwell Guiding Course at St Giles Clerkenwell during one of the Barbican at 50 events resulted in the idea of using a guided walk as a means of bringing together the story of a place. Stories that I have told in multiple blog posts, and using some of my father’s photos at the sites they were taken from. I had a place on the course in 2020 and passed by the end of the year.
Guided walks that will focus on a specific area of London. They will discover the history of the area, people who have lived and worked there, how the area has changed and how these changes have resulted in the place we see today.
Each walk will have small groups with a maximum of twelve people, and will take around 2 hours with between 10 and 12 stops.
I will also be using some of my father’s photos, as close as possible to the spot from where they were taken, to illustrate 70 years of change.
I look forward to showing you around.
Wapping – A Seething Mass of Misery
Wapping – A Seething Mass of Misery. So wrote Francis Wey in the 1850s in his book, A Frenchman Sees the English in the Fifties.
As London’s docks expanded to the east, Wapping developed to serve the docks and the river, and this expansion resulted in living conditions that would lead to Francis Wey’s description.
Wapping was different to the rest of east London as it developed a nautical subculture, one that existed to serve and exploit sailors arriving on the ships that would moor on the river, and the docks and wharves that lined the river.
This walk will discover the history of Wapping, and will run from near Tower Hill underground station, along Wapping High Street and Wapping Wall, across the old Ratcliff Highway to Shadwell Overground and DLR stations.
We will explore the development of the docks, the ancient gateways between land and river that are the Thames stairs, lost and surviving pubs, the history of the River Police, a sailor’s experience of Wapping, warehouses, crime and punishment, murders and a burial at a crossroads.
We will also meet some of the people who lived, worked and passed through Wapping, such as the Purlmen who worked on the river, and John Morrison, a ship’s boy on a collier, who in 1832 almost froze to death whilst waiting to row his master back to his ship after a night in Wapping’s pubs.
The walk will use some of my father’s photos to show the area post-war, and will look at how Wapping has developed to become the place we see today, and should be considerably more enjoyable than Francis Wey’s description.
The walk is about 2.5 miles and will take between two and a quarter, and two and a half hours.
The following dates for my tour of Wapping are available to book on Eventbrite. Click on any of the dates to go to the site where they can be book.
Bankside to Pickle Herring Street – History between the Bridges
This walk explores the remarkable history of Bankside and Southwark between Blackfriars and Tower Bridges.
Looking at how the river bank along the River Thames has developed, and using my father’s post-war photos to show just how much the area has changed, and what was here when this was a working part of the river.
From the sites of Roman discoveries to recent development of old wharfs and warehouses, the walk will explore pubs, theatres, Thames stairs, lost streets, the impact of electricity generation, fires, alleys, and the people who lived and worked along the river.
The walk will also look at how being opposite the City of London led Bankside and Southwark on a unique path through history.
Lasting around two and a quarter hours, the walk will start near Blackfriars Bridge and end at Tower Bridge.
Full details of the meeting point will be sent in the week prior to the walk.
Dates for 2023 will be added soon.
The South Bank – Marsh, Industry, Culture and the Festival of Britain
In the 70th anniversary year of the Festival of Britain, come and discover the story of the Festival, the main South Bank site, and how a festival which was meant to deliver a post war “tonic for the nation” created a futuristic view of a united country, and how the people of the country were rooted in the land and seas.
We will also discover the history of the South Bank of the Thames, from Westminster to Blackfriars Bridges, today one of London’s major tourist destinations, and with the Royal Festival Hall and National Theatre, also a significant cultural centre.
Along the South Bank we will discover a story of the tidal river, marsh, a Roman boat, pleasure gardens, industry, housing and crime. The South Bank has been the centre of governance for London, and the area is an example of how wartime plans for the redevelopment of London transformed what was a derelict and neglected place.
Lasting around 2 hours, the walk will start by Waterloo Station and end a short distance from Blackfriars Bridge.
At the end of the walk, we will have covered almost 2,000 years of history, and walked from a causeway running alongside a tidal marsh, to the South Bank we see today.
Dates and links for booking are:
The Lost Streets of the Barbican
On the evening of the 29th December 1940, one of the most devastating raids on London created fires that destroyed much of the area north of St Paul’s Cathedral and between London Wall, almost to Old Street.
The raid destroyed a network of streets that had covered this area of Cripplegate for centuries. Lives, workplaces, homes and buildings were lost. Well-known names such as Shakespeare and Cromwell and their connection with the Barbican and Cripplegate will be discovered, as well as those lost to history such as the woman who sold milk from a half house, and that artisan dining is not a recent invention.
Out of wartime destruction, a new London Wall emerged, along with the Barbican and Golden Lane estates that would dominate post-war reconstruction. Destruction of buildings would also reveal structures that had been hidden for many years.
On this walk, we will start at London Wall, and walk through the Barbican and Golden Lane estates, discovering the streets, buildings and people that have been lost and what can still be found. We will explore post-war reconstruction, and look at the significant estates that now dominate the area.
Lasting just under two hours, by the end of the walk, we will have walked through almost 2,000 years of this unique area of London, the streets of today, and the streets lost to history.
Dates and links for booking are:
S unday 21st May 2023(Sold Out)
I will be adding new dates for the above tours, and new tours in the coming weeks and months which will be listed on this page.
Sunday’s walk along the South Bank was excellent – so informative and with many interesting photographs of its past appearance. I learned so much about sites I had previously walked past without seeing. A real eye opener. David was a brilliant communicator.
The South Bank walk is excellent and highly recommended. In spite of living in the area for 25 years I was introduced to information and sites that I was unaware of. The additional links and recommendations are entertaining and informative and well worth following up.
A fascinating insight into the area surrounding and including the Barbican. I found out lots about the area and will look at it with new eyes in the future. Well worth the money! Thanks
We really enjoyed the Barbican walk today – varied, informative and entertaining. Thanks David.
We really enjoyed the walk yesterday, 18th July, around the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate. It was very interesting learning how London regenerated the area after WW2 and how it still lives side by side with Roman and medieval remains, some of which are in a carpark under London Wall!
Thoroughly enjoyed the Barbican walk yesterday. David is very knowledgeable and entertaining and his father’s photos add an extra dimension to the walk
I think the Lady Holles School sculpture – or one pretty much identical – is now in St Brides Church, Fleet Street, by the font. At any rate it was when I was a boy in the 1960s. On second thoughts, there is also a matching boy, so maybe they came from other charity schools?
I am coming to London for August and September 2022. Wondering if you are giving any walks during that time?
Hello london inheritance,
My name is Chris, read your Greenwich blog fantastic, noticed you have some kayaks pictured, they are ours at London kayak company, we would like to offer you a free trip around Greenwich by kayak for you and some friends, get back to me if interested and we can work out some dates! Chris
just saw on your twitter there’s one spot left for 29 October but alas I shall be away – very much hoping to join you at least once or twice in 2023. thank you for all that you do & share!
Thanks Hannah, yes hopefully more walks in 2023.
Thanks for a brilliant blog that I stumbled across when searching for historical info about The Angel pub . My wife is a big fan of London social history and I was excited to tell her of my discovery only for her to say to me ‘oh yes London inheritance blog , I love it , it’s the one I am always reading ‘ I was wondering if you were planning guided walks in 2023 ? I’m pretty sure we’d both want to join up for one . Thanks for the great read .
Vincent – thanks for the feedback. Pleased that you are both enjoying the blog. Yes, I will be running some more walks later in the year, probably late spring and summer. David
David – while your articles are always fascinating, they are hard to read. Your margins are much too wide to fit a normal screen, and your photos are far too big. I never enjoy them as much as I feel I should. Can you reduce the formatting size of your emails, but not your length?
Am I the only one who suffers from this issue?
Thank you so much for all that you do to inform us about London history, I find it fascinating as my families lived in practically every area in Southwark and Lambeth from the 16th century onwards the first being the Tearoe family who were watermen on the Archbishop’s barge and Sextons at St Mary Lambeth up until the construction of Westminster Bridge. I wrote a history of that family for a member of the family who lived in Canada which runs into many pages.
I have only just found your blog as I was looking for coach makers in Lambeth and was delighted to find your description of Roupell Street as one of my family, a coach trimmer, lived there when the houses were new. Mustn’t bore you with all my stuff but just wanted to say thank you.
What a good idea the walks are and people obviously enjoy them so much. Well done and I look forward to exploring more of your posts.