Monday, 9 January 2017

Greetings, Charnowalkers!

Welcome to the first blog entry for 2017, which promises to be an interesting and inspiring year for Charnowalks. Media guru Hilary Kruger has been subjecting me to an overhaul, which is still ongoing, so look out for marked improvements in the service.

A new plan for Charnowalks is themed Sundays. I have decided to offer Sunday afternoon tours which share a connection. For someone working to develop a structured guiding culture in Tower Hamlets, the decision for January was obvious - East End Sundays. Each Sunday tour in January covers an important part of the East End's story.

The first Sunday was 'Tidemarks from the Pool', my exploration of the maritime trade that brought a vibrant life to the East End for some two centuries before the closure of the docks and the dismantling of the Port of London. I had an engaged and enthusiastic audience who were very interested in getting to grips with the richness of life in the riverside Tower Hamlets between the 1770s and the 1970s. This we explored as it was revealed by a wealth of heritage that has been left behind. Tower Hamlets has much to offer the visitor, but until we get a properly organised guiding base it won't be promoted anything like it should.

There are still three East End Sundays to come. Next Sunday (15th) is 'The Ripper Enigma', a grown-up look at the notorious murders of 1888 and their context. This is followed on the 22nd by 'Just You Wait and See', a tour which assesses the impact of World War Two on Bethnal Green, and then on the 29th comes 'In and Out of the Aldgate', an exploration of the borderland which is at once in the City and the East End.

Details are to be found on my website:

February will see City Sundays; at the moment I'm pondering what March will be - watch this space. Or better still, join my mailing list! Just an e-mail to will get you on the list for monthly updates.

In the midst of all this preparation I've been doing some background reading to enrich my theatrical tour 'Behind the Magic Curtain'. I've read an excellent biography of Joseph Grimaldi by Andrew McConnell Stott which sheds a good deal of light on the state of the stage in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Now I'm reading the reminiscences of Peter Daubeny, the man responsible for giving world theatre a serious platform in London, particularly with his World Theatre Seasons at the Aldwych Theatre.

Well, that's the state of play at the moment. There are other plans bubbling away which will need a little more simmering before I make them public. I shall return in a fortnight and reveal more ...

Until then, take good care of yourselves. I hope you've been able to avoid the colds doing the rounds, or that you've had one and it's now a thing of the past.


Dave Charnowalks

Photos courtesy of Alan Tucker, Ana Figueiredo and Nika Garrett