A London Inheritance Walks

I hope that for this week’s post, you will excuse a bit of self advertising.

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 passed the course last year, however Covid restrictions delayed any further activity, but did allow the time to develop two guided walks (with more in the pipeline).

With restrictions easing, I am really pleased to announce the availability of my first two guided walks. 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 ten 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.

The first is:

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:

Extra dates added:

The second walk is:

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:

Extra dates added:

I have written a number of post over the last 7 years about the South Bank and surroundings of the Barbican. They are both places I find fascinating, and I really look forward to sharing the story of these historic parts of London with you.

I will be adding additional dates and more walks covering new areas in the coming weeks and months.

Normal service will be resumed with next week’s post.


43 thoughts on “A London Inheritance Walks

  1. Brian Wood

    I have really enjoyed your posts and look forward to meeting you and enjoying the physical experience of this wonderful city.
    Well done!

  2. Steve Cornish

    Great stuff. I am interested in attending your walks. I worked on the Barbican Estate? When it was being built in the 70s. I was a young fitter welder from Bermondsey. The giant concrete tower blocks and interlinking angular luxury estates were something completely new back then. One of my jobs was to get in early every morning to help my fitter light the gas lamps that surrounded St Giles Private School in the centre of the site. The gas lamps were salvaged from London Bridge. We got 2 hours extra pay for getting in 1 hour early. Good days. I went on to be senior engineer for a world renowned company at their global data centre in Canary Wharf. Now retired.

  3. veronica piekosz

    I worked at Barts in 1971 then in Goswell Road until 1981 and used to wander round the area in my lunch breaks. On visits to London I go back there and try to find my bearings, so much has changed.

  4. GuyH

    Great news – very much looking forward to it! I assume there’ll be a pub to visit at the end of each walk 🙂

  5. Hector Plywood

    Great idea and I’ve enjoyed this blog for years.

    Have you ever thought about doing “virtual walks” on Zoom?

  6. Alex Tosh

    Can’t wait! Just checking my diary and the I’ll get booking. As a South Bank resident, I am so looking forward to an insight into the area.

  7. G Sum

    I look forward to joining one of your walks one day. Please keep us posted via your site, would love to do one on Clerkenwell or Westminster.

  8. Zoe Roberts

    I’ve been following your blog for years, and think this is a great idea. So pleased for you, and I hope it all works out, despite the weird turn the world has taken over the last year. Would definitely come on these, but unfortunately Long Covid has bitten me, and it is somewhat out of range for me at the moment. Sounds great though, and it is definitely on our list for when I recover.

  9. Sara

    We are looking forward to joining your walk around the Barbican in July. A great idea from your fascinating blog.

  10. Anders

    Good luck! I love what you’ve done with your blog and so I will definitely join one of your walks at some point. I don’t live in London and so I hope there will still be places later in the Summer when I visit.

  11. Celia Crangle

    I Live in Canada now, but would have loved to join you on your walks. As a girl we walked everywhere , money was in short supply. Have a love of buildings and their histories. Worked in the City when I left School. Enjoy your blog every Sunday morning. Your Father would be so proud of you. Thank You I learn something new every week. Good Luck your fellow walkers will learn so much.

  12. Wendy Shires

    We either can’t make the date or you have sold out. I would love to go on the Cripplegate Walk as I worked in Cripplegate Library in the late ‘70s. The Barbican was just being finished and the library was subsumed into the Barbican Library

  13. Jo

    I’ve reposted your walk details on my Facebook page – they look amazing.
    Also, have you spoken to the Museum of London about an exhibition of your father’s photos? The image of the South Bank with the Shot Tower is fantastic as are all the photos you post. I’d pay to see that exhibition.

  14. Sheila

    Looks like these are really popular. I’ve tried to get a ticket, but the dates I can make are sold out. Hopefully there’ll be more added at a later date. Good luck with it all!

  15. Lori

    Feeling envious of all those who live near enough to go on your guided walks (especially the Cripplegate one). Keep us informed of all the walks in the pipeline. Any plans for a Thames river steps tour? Sorely tempted by that one.

  16. Judy

    What a terrific enterprise for you! Best of luck from the west coast of Canada, and when our world opens up again, I’ll be there!

  17. Carole

    I am really pleased to see that these walks are beginning.
    For those of us who live further out of London, or do not find mornings very easy, will there be some afternoon walks in future?

  18. Russell

    Thanks for your your great and interesting articles. Keep up the good work and just to ask if possible to do a walk through South Bermondsey and uncover some local history.


    I have so enjoyed seeing my grandmother’s hometown and thank you so very much for your passion, dedication, hard work and information.

    I am in Canada, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one wondering if you might give guided tours online.

    That would be wonderful!


  20. Richard Towse

    I very much look forward to joining you!
    I love London, and my Grandfather came as a refugee in 1939, and established his office in Milton Street, a stub of which still remains in the (subsequently built) Barbican, just by the Whitbread brewery. On 25th August, 1940 at 12.15am where The Barbican stands today, a massive bomb fell at the corner
    of Fore Street and Moor Lane. Clusters of explosive and incendiary bombs followed and the area
    including Milton Street was devastated. My Grandfather’s office was eradicated.
    There was a small safe which held customer records, and by the time my grandfather was allowed access to the ruins, the Fire Service had hosed everything down but the residual heat, when the safe was opened, ignited the contents. It was only because his long standing customers paid their debt unasked that he was able to find other premises and continue to work, in time allowing my father and then me to earn a living. London, and Londoners, have been good to us.
    Regarding the last picture in this post, I would love to know where it was taken and in which direction.
    In the succeeding eighty years, our office moved from Hackney to Clifton Street, (just the other side of Moorgate), Wilson Street, Charlotte Road (off Great Eastern Street), Worship Street and Curtain Road.
    I have walked the whole area so often, but have much to learn about the buildings, streets and changing ways of my City. I look forwaard to joining you. Many thanks….richard

  21. David Stocker

    Excellent! I really enjoy your articles, and am very much looking forward to joining you on your live walks.
    Managed to book Southbank, but Barbican has sold out all dates. Can you add a few more dates for this walk please (and give me advance notice!!).

  22. John C Diehl

    The walks sound so interesting. Alas I am 5 thousand miles west in San Diego California and shan’t be able to attend. I will continues to enjoy your weekly publication.
    John Diehl

  23. Barbara Beaumont

    Great idea! and well done for passing the course, to make this a possibility. I am in Australia, and hope that you will be continuing your walks whenever I am able to visit the UK again. Fingers crossed for next year.

  24. Grant Houston

    Excellent news about the tours – I have avidly followed your posts for years and am delighted at prospect of a first-hand walk-about account based on your extensive research. I know your love of published guides and might suggest that in future retirement years, you might consider committing portions of your research and photography to print.

  25. Roger

    London born and now sadly covid-stranded in the hermit kingdom of Australia for the foreseeable but would love to go on one of your walks some day. Have fond memories of a much-loved great aunt taking me on a trip along the Regents Canal in the early 70s starting off from Limehouse near The Grapes pub, wish I could do that trip again in those days with my now much more mature eyes.

  26. Linda Ziemer

    I hope I can get to London again in the near future and join one of your walks. What a treat!

  27. Georgina Briody

    I have only just found this site and, as a London girl, I hope to go on the walks. I was born in the Old Kent Road and worked most of my life across London. I have connections in Spitalfields and been on many walks so look forward to doing the South Bank.

  28. Sylvia Barnett

    I really do look forward to Saturday and your e-mail to see what next part of London you have found.
    There is so much more to London than just the tourist see.

  29. Trevor Haynes

    I have really enjoyed reading your posts for some time but other commitments prevent me reading them as they are published, hence I see they are all sold out. However, I am also a member of the Cripplegate Ward Club and I wonder whether you would mind if I forward this post to the Club. Perhaps we might be able to join the Barbican walk at a future date?

    1. admin Post author

      Trevor, no problem with forwarding the post. I will be adding more dates in the future so I look forward to seeing members then.


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