Saturday, 25 January 2014

Hello there,

Much of the week has been spent on research. All sorts of information for next Friday's preview of the new walk looking at aspects of Bethnal Green's criminal history, but also I'm working through Sarah Wise's 'The Blackest Streets', the story of the Nichol slum.

I've read 'The Italian Boy' and have heard Sarah speak on a number of occasions: excellent research, and a good communicator. Spot on.

This week I signed off of Jobseeker's Allowance, and (hopefully) I am now going on the New Enterprise Allowance. I've put a link to Eventbrite on my website home page, so that people can see what's on. Also I've had a large number of leaflets printed, and I'm trying to get them into as many places as possible. I need to take some time in the week, though, to make a concerted effort to get them placed. I did a little leafleting at Shoreditch High Street Overground this afternoon en route from the White Hart, Bishopsgate (a couple with Neil Salmons after this morning's tour) and Tesco, Bethnal Green Road. How the other half do live ...

A small but select group for 'Before the Make-Over' this morning: I've done the walk only once before, and that was last autumn, so a little tightening up is needed. It will be very slick next time; I'm feeling easy with it now. Cleary Gardens isn't at its best at this time of year, with the vines cut back. Not as cheery as in the warm weather:

A rush to the vet on Thursday morning with Bogart - a touch of cystitis they reckoned: he had an anti-inflammatory injection and a painkilling one, and is fine now, but even more affectionate than he is usually. Perhaps it's gratitude?

Got the idea for one or (maybe) two walks on the way home.

Sadly these blogs seem to be dominated by walks, but my life is dominated by them at the moment. Trying to get a business off the ground, as I was saying to Neil in the White Hart, is like trying to get a plane off of the ground. A colossal effort to get it to leave the ground in the first place, then continual thrust to get it higher and higher. Eventually all that effort pays off when you level out, but until you get to that, it's murder!

I must put aside some time for writing so that I can get a second collection of short stories into circulation, particularly as Ronald Chapman sent me such a good picture for the cover. I've got most of the stories at least in their initial drafts. I still need to sprinkle them with magic dust though.

Well, I don't want to get tedious, so I'll leave it there. Until next time ...



Sunday, 19 January 2014


As mentioned, last Saturday I was at the real Pub Landlord's gaff, the utterly exclusive and truly amazing Auvache Arms, for the Big Boys' Beer Festival winter ales special:

Dr Pintz doing his bit
Danny Warren and Richard Wood came along: thanks to Richard for the picture. Much good stuff was available and enjoyed. So, no walks last weekend. for obvious reasons!

I did manage to get out yesterday morning for my 'Looking for Clues' walk - looking at remnants of the past in the borderlands of Mile End Old Town and Bethnal Green, finishing on the southern close of the Green itself, or 'Barmy Park' as it has been known for generations.

The sadly neglected cemetery of the Synagogue
of the Amude Yesharim in Bancroft Road

This afternoon and tomorrow afternoon it's off to Westminster for 'Of Commonwealths and Kings' - tomorrow it's for another group of Italian teens courtesy of the UK Educational Development Agency. I'm supposed to speak in English, as they're over here for language practice, but I've got some Italian phrases to explain the salient points!

The trial of Charles I for treason

The walk looks at the development of parliamentary government before considering the way that successive monarchs have shaped Westminster.

Currently I've got a head full of crime - I'm working on the first of my law and order walks, this time in Bethnal Green. 'The Dark Side of the Green' is taking shape nicely, and it has quite a range of subjects, though of course we can't ignore the Twins.

At this point Ronnie hadn't put on all that weight,
so I can't say which is which, though I suspect
Ronnie is on the right - he had the more open face

If only they'd been able to carry on boxing, things might have been very different, but then 'if only' is one of the saddest phrases of our language.

Tomorrow I sign on for the last time - hopefully! I'm closing my claim for Jobseeker's Allowance and going on to the New Enterprise Allowance. With the blessing and a fair wind, this is the official launch of the good ship Charnowalks. We shall see what we shall see ...

Well, I've got to get ready to head out to what looks like might be a bit of a bright day. There be clouds, but they're quite broken. I hope St James's Park offers us a nice sky, and the beginnings of a beautiful sunset by the time we cross it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, peeps.


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Hello blogaholics,

Since Friday is proving unmanageable, I think I'll move my update day to Saturday. I would have updated yesterday, except I was out at Bletchley. Not visiting Bletchley Park, but, in my rรดle as Dr Pintz, attending the Big Boys' Beer Festival winter beer fest at the Auvache Arms, the intensely private bar created for personal use, and for entertaining family and friends, by my nephew Wesley Auvache, the real Pub Landlord:

Ronnie and Reggie at the Auvache Arms

Six exceptional ales on offer for those fortunate enough to be within this exclusive circle.

Last Saturday, we had a little rain to contend with on the walk 'Behind the Magic Curtain', looking not only at the origins of West End's Theatreland with the Restoration, but seeing some of the West End's theatres and their connections to major developments in British performance in the C19 and C20.

Charnowalks at the Savoy Theatre

Get that 'air cut! Why do I always forget to trim that beard before going out on tours? Anyway, we enjoyed it. It was a good time to do the walk: just after New Year, when things can fall a little flat, but on the Eleventh Day of Christmas, so the Christmas decs were still up and we managed to capture a little more of the seasonal magic before it went. Sadly you can't see the light-up Christmas tree on the other side of the collar.

In the evening I indulged in my first 'tweet-up' courtesy of Valy Dumoulin and Nika Garrett, at which I met some illustrious persons such as Simon Gregor of secretlondonphotowalk:
Anthony Lewis, intrepid explorer of the Lost Valley of London:
and Sheldon, one half of the Cemtery Club:

In the week between these two Saturdays, business preparations continue apace. I'm working on law-and-order walks at the moment. One in Bethnal Green and one in the City. This has meant researching rape, murder and miscarriage of justice in Bethnal Green, as well as the changing face of crime in the City.

I've set up another couple of walks for next weekend, I've designed a leaflet which I need to get printed, and am creating a mailing list. For any blog-followers who don't get mails from me, if you want to go on my mailing list please mail me at and I'll put you on.

I think that'll do for the moment: please feel free to find me on facebook and to tweet me @Charnowalks. I don't tweet that often - I find twitter a little aggravating, as you're limited to a handful of characters, many of which are taken up if you mail to more than one person. Still, some people like it ...

Looking forward to connecting with you next weekend.

Best wishes,


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year!

It's getting later and later. Apologies to those misguided enough to follow this blog for the delay in posting for the second week in a row. Much of the week has been taken up with aggravation over my Dad's stoma bag, the district nurse service and the problems caused by the inability to contact them direct. You could do so until they moved from the Bethnal Green Health Centre to the Mile End Hospital, but now you have to ring the 'single point of contact' and they pass on a message. That's progress for you - one step forward, two steps back.

Last weekend, there was excellent weather (after a very wet week) for my 'Battle for Bethnal Green' walk, featuring the likes of Sydney Waterlow and Angela Burdett-Coutts:

There were some good friends along: Julia Ingall, Ann Flowers and Rizia Begum, all former colleagues from Tower Hamlets. There was illustrious company as well: guides Daniella King (
and David Rosenberg
with Paul Talling, your man for Derelict London
and his charming wife.

What the walk shows is how philanthropists stepped in to take the initiatives which provided for the lack of a social infrastructure, particularly when it came to the housing and related health and hygiene issues. The need to provide properly administered dwellings with proper amenities (very basic by our standards, but good for the time) to rescue the victims of the rapacity of private sector landlords is a lesson very much for our times. Understandably, the landlords wanted a maximum return for their investment, but sadly this meant not spending money on providing amenities in their properties and not worrying too much about their tenants' living conditions. It was this that kept cholera in the area for decades. I can't help thinking that, since the 1980s, we've been steadily reversing all the advances that were made in the C19 and C20, and this seems to be ever more the case with the present government.

I'm still doing what I can on facebook to promote petitions etc against the cruelty of the fur trade, and of the dog and cat meat trade in China and Korea, with animals being boiled alive and dogs being tortured before being cooked to 'improve the quality of the meat'. There's a great deal of cruelty in this world meted out to animals. For some reason people seem to believe that it's alright that animals should be subjected to intolerable pain for our pleasure. Maybe one day we'll come to our senses.

I went along to the wonderful Geffrye Museum ( to top up my Christmas spirit with their 'Christmas Past' exhibition. I have to get along there every Christmas. It's a marvellous exhibition, with each of the interiors decked out in Christmas decorations appropriate for the period. My favourite interior is the seventeenth-century room:

I shall leave yesterday's doings for the next post, in case there's nothing else to add! But that's all for now.


Dave Charnowalks