Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Another slightly tardy Charnoblog, but that's because I've been getting educational recently. Prof Brendan Hogan of New York University was good enough to engage me a second time to give his undergraduates a tour of medieval London. We tuned in to the echoes of Plantagenet and Tudor London which resonate in today's City. Sometimes it's just where something was, but there's much of the medieval in today's City.

Then on Saturday and Monday I took a group of Italian students to explore two significant aspects of Victorian London. On Saturday we got Dickensian in the oldest parts of London: the Borough and the Cornhill area of the City. On Monday evening we hit the Ripper trail, not just hearing about the infamous murders, but also considering their social context, and how the press kept the atmosphere of fear simmering in the popular mind. That's a big 'thank you' to Graziella Elia by the way, whose students I guided last year, for engaging me.

Guiding has an important part to play in education. I've been privileged to guide primary and secondary school groups, as well as higher education groups. There is much to be said for getting learners of whatever age onto the streets to understand that history is not about dates and details, but about people and what they did, and how that relates to what we do. But then, I've written about this elsewhere:

It's the last of my Bethnal Green Sundays this coming Sunday. Yes, I know it's Mother's Day - so why not bring Mum on a celebration of Bethnal Green through the words of a variety of authors, with readings from works dating from 1896 to 2003? It's not a bad tour at all, if I do say so myself, and we finish with no less a person than George Orwell, hearing why he ended up in the cells of the local police station.

If I've whetted your appetite, you can book via this link:

Next month will be 'Page and Stage' Sundays, with two tours featuring readings exploring the London of Dickens and how City trade was used as material by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and two theatrical tours, getting to know Shakespeare the Londoner and discovering what Theatreland has done for performance in Britain.

You can get an idea of what 'Much Ado About Trading' is all about in my Footprints of London blog item here:
You can also get the background to one of the stops on 'Behind the Magic Curtain' in another Footprints item here:

Well, that's a fairly full round-up of what's been and what's to be. Of course you can get the fuller story from the schedule on my website, including another chance this Saturday to experience nearly 2,000 years' worth of unrest in the City:

Please consider following this blog: that way you won't need to be prompted by a social network post to come and take a look! Also it'll show me how much you appreciate my humble efforts to bring you the stories behind this multi-layered city which I'm pleased to call my hometown.

Hoping to see you on the streets soon.


Dave Charnowalks

Charnopicture of Playhouse Yard courtesy of Fay Bennett (2016)

Monday, 6 March 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Welcome back to my Charnoblog. We finished City Sundays at the end of February with a comfy half-dozen coming with me on 'Engineering Change' to explore how engineering shaped the City of London. Tunnels, bridges and telecommunications have all played their part in the development of the City. You can read more about the tour here:

The underside of London Bridge
March sees my Bethnal Green Sundays tours underway. A small but thoroughly engaged audience attended this week's tour, 'The Battle for Bethnal Green'. The tour looks at what happened when the parish was absorbed by the growing metropolis of London. Once a semi-rural hamlet, the nineteenth century brought a number of issues through the new urban dimension. These issues were addressed at first by philanthropists, until the authorities took up the reins. You can get more details about the tour itself here:

Bethnal Green Road 1794

Next week we move from heroes to villains with 'The Dark Side of the Green', a tour which uncovers crimes and wrongdoings from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Once again we meet outside St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch High Street and cross the boundary into Bethnal Green. The tour forms the nucleus of my study 'The Dark Side of East London', which was published last September by Pen and Sword. You can book for the tour via this link:

Incidentally, the book is available at a competitive price from the Wordery via this link!

Talking of books and literary matters, Saturday 11 March sees the reduced-price preview of my new Charles Dickens tour. It's a tour with readings which give an insight into how Dickens used the City for material. As I explained last time, the reduced-price preview is an idea I've taken from the theatre. As the first professional outing of a new tour isn't usually as slick as subsequent outings, this is why I charge only £5 a head, flat fee.

Why not join my mailing list to get the benefit of previews and other specials, as well as the tours I do through Footprints of London? Just e-mail me on to be added. If you want to come on the Dickens preview, e-mail me to let me know and meet us outside Borough Underground Station for a 2:30 start.

It's just over a month to go before Walkie Talkie, the adult education introduction to guiding, is scheduled to start. We begin on 26 April for a ten-week course which gives you a thorough grounding in the discipline of tour guiding. It's an ideal way to prepare for a qualification course, as well as teaching you valuable research and presentation skills.

The course outline can be found through this link:

Enrolment details can be found through this link:

Well, I think I've detained you long enough. There are other plans in the offing, but I'll update you when more concrete information becomes available. Until then, look after yourselves; I hope to see you on the streets soon.


Dave Charnowalks

Charnopicture courtesy of Hazel Screen (London Bridge 2014)