Monday, 10 March 2014

Hello Blogonauts,

Rather a week last week, hence the delayed posting. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible! Much of the week was taken up with creating the new tour, 'Tidemarks from the Pool', which looks at remnants of the heritage of marine trade in the area east of the Tower, the Liberties of the Tower. Very interesting material, but it needed so much work to get to grips with all the history involved, plus the area is south of the Mile End Road, which is largely terra incognita for me, being Bethnal Green born and bred. It needed also a number of episodes of 'The Navy Lark' to get me fully in a properly salt-caked, tar-coated, rum-sodden frame of mind.

Of course, part of the tour deals with the loss of the Scandinavian quarter of Wellclose and Princes Squares. Not only were buildings destroyed needlessly in the 1960s that were of architectural merit, many were of interest for other reasons, like the Court House of the Liberties of the Tower, which was part of the 1680s phase of building and stood on the south side of the Square.

The Court House, Wellclose Square

The remarkable Wilton's Music Hall is also on the tour: a vague hint of which can be got from Tommy Trinder's 1944 film 'Champagne Charlie'. Thankfully Wilton's was spared in the 1960s, thanks to Betjeman and the London Music Hall Trust.

Tommy Trinder in 'Champagne Charlie'

I've done a little work also on the Law and Order tour in the City, which will probably be the next cab off the rank. Indeed, it was after doing some work on Thursday in the British Library on Kitty Byron that I met with fellow Old Parmiterian Brad Baxter, and we popped into the Queen's Head, Acton Street:
followed by a stroll through southern Pentonville and into Clerkenwell for a long-overdue visit to the Jerusalem and the Sir John Oldcastle. Some highly interesting housing en route, houses and blocks of flats. London just keeps unfolding ...

A beery time because on Saturday, after a morning preview of the maritime trade tour, we took the underground Overground line from Shadwell to Whitechapel and had a few pints of the excellent 'Lost at Sea', brewed on the premises at the White Hart, Mile End Gate.

Sunday afternoon saw another outing for the 'Behind the Magic Curtain' tour of Theatreland. Lovely sunny weather, making me regret my wearing a coat. As a theatre addict myself, I enjoy doing this tour hugely, mainly because it visits actual theatres, so you can see places that have contributed to the development of performance in this country and continue to do so.

Brian Rix (L), the man behind the Whitehall Farces,
with Ronald Shiner

I took out some Spanish students today around Westminster - where did all the sunshine go?

Anyway, this is more than overdue, so I'll go now and get me some victuals.