Thursday, 20 April 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

I'm sure you've been wondering where my fortnightly blog entry has been this week - well, here we are at last!

The pressure is mounting to get as much done as I can before the exam period starts at UCL next Thursday - I supervise exam halls there. As such, I'm working flat out on my new Whitechapel tour, immersing myself in the Victorian initiatives that sought to engage with the problems brought by the development of London.

Stanford's Map of Central London 1897

The main man is Samuel Barnett, described as 'a shy and modest man, who looked older than his years'. Hmm - reminds me of someone ...

Anyway, this tour will be given its reduced-price preview on Saturday 29 April, and if you fancy it we're starting outside Aldgate Station (just appearing bottom centre of the map) at 2:30. It's a mere £5 a head, but do contact me on to reserve your place.

We've still got two weekends of 'Page and Stage' tours to go, and this coming weekend it's a belter. Two tours, both featuring readings. Saturday is 'Bethnal Green in So Many Words', exploring my home turf through the words of a variety of authors from Arthur Morrison to Monica Ali. Sunday sees 'Much Ado About Trading', which features readings from Shakespeare, Dekker, Middleton and others. to show how they brought the City to the stage.

I put up an item to LinkedIn recently, considering the positive benefits of site-specific readings. You can find it here - and you don't have to be registered on LinkedIn to read it:

We round off with a celebration of Theatreland - 'Behind the Magic Curtain' takes a good look at what the West End has contributed to performance in this country.

To give you a taster, you might want to take a look at my Footprints of London blog item about Peter Daubeny's pioneering work bringing World Theatre to the London stage:

Next up, in the Merry Month of May, Charnowalks brings you Crime and the Law, a series of tours exploring the darker side of the East End and the City.

I'll give you more details about them in the next blog entry, but you can always take a peek at my schedule:
In fact, why not join my mailing list and get all the hot news as it happens?

That's all until the next blog entry, by which time I'll be a year older - I'm fifty-three on the 24th!

See you on the streets soon.


Dave Charnowalks

Photos of me reading from 'King Dido' and 'Martin Chuzzlewit' by Alan Tucker and Anna Tomlinson; photo of the Agatha Christie memorial by Anna Tomlinson; photo of the site of the Bull and Mouth, St Martin's le Grand by Geoff Kaye.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

I've done it again - another late blog entry! But not without cause - it's all been in the interests of work.

The project that has been dominating the last week or two has been a tour of the King's Cross regeneration, at the heart of the new Knowledge Quarter. The good people at the Oxford International Educational Group commissioned Footprints of London to provide a tour for school groups. The students are interested in business and regeneration, so we're giving them a tour around King's Cross.

The Proposed Knowledge Quarter

The tour is adapted from that given by my fellow Footprinter Rob Smith, and it explores many aspects of regeneration. We did two shifts yesterday - morning and afternoon - and there are two more tomorrow, so I'll fill you in on the next blog entry.

Talking of tour development, my friend and guiding colleague Alan Tucker (who took the photos for 'The Dark Side of East London') had a tryout for his new tour two evenings ago. 'The Social and Industrial History of Hackney Wick' does exactly that - it brings you the inside story of a major industrial area in East London which provided many innovations, including petrol and dry cleaning, as well as considering the impact on the local community.

Alan on Hackney Wick in 2015

Having created two new tours in the City, I'm now going back to the East End, as I had proposed to do earlier this year. I did mean to create a Whitechapel tour, but as is the way of such things the route snapped in the middle and curled up. It's become a tour from Aldgate to Bishopsgate via Whitechapel, and takes in a number of instances of Victorian philanthropy.

Women's Entrance -
Providence Row Shelter

It would be easy to do a general philanthropy tour - and indeed what will now be a Whitechapel and Mile End tour will do something similar - but I've decided to focus purely on Victorian philanthropy. This will give focus, and also explore issues which beset the East End in its earliest development.

Talking of the East End, this is the last call for 'Walkie Talkie: An Introduction to Guiding in Tower Hamlets'. It's scheduled to start on Wednesday 26 April. So far we're a bit short on numbers, which means that it may not go ahead. This would be a great shame, because the course will give its learners not only an insight into the story of the borough, but also the chance to experience guiding first-hand on the streets of Bow and Old Ford.

So, if you're intending to dip your toe into the magical world of guiding, you need to enrol quickly!

The Arms of LB Tower Hamlets

Enrolment details are here:

You can find the course outline as a .pdf here:

This Sunday sees the second of the Charnowalks 'Page and Stage Sundays'. 'A Dickens of a City' is a tour with readings, allowing you to experience how the London of Charles Dickens was changing from the Georgian to the Victorian periods.

Frontispiece from Little Dorrit 1857

Booking and other details are available here:

There are no Charnowalks at the Easter weekend, but on the following weekend there'll be not one but two tours with readings. More details will be on the next blog, but you can get more information from my schedule, including May's 'Crime and the Law Sundays':

On the subject of writing, you might want to take a look at two posts I put up to LinkedIn on the subject of guiding. One considers the usefulness of guided tours for language experience, the other the benefits of tours featuring site-specific readings:

Well, I think I've inflicted more than enough on you this fortnight. I will aim to be considerably more prompt in a fortnight's time!

Oh, by the way: have you subscribed to this blog yet? Why not? It takes just a moment ...

See you on the streets!


Dave Charnowalks

Photo of Alan Tucker by Andrew Parnell, and of the Providence Row Shelter by Fay Bennett, both from 2015.