Monday, 28 August 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Busy, busy, busy - the jobbing tour guide needs to make hay while the sun shines, as it were, and I've been popping my finger in various pies. Mmm, gravy ...

Anyway, here's the latest round-up of the splendours and miseries of the hack guide. I kept the first Saturday in August free to attend my good friend Joanna Moncrieff's excellent tour of Walthamstow.

Jo guides there and in Chingford, and does an excellent job bringing you the full story of the northeastern suburbs. It's in areas like this that you can see the layers of development far more clearly than in central London. Jo can be found here:

My Sunday Charnowalks in August have been pre-Fire tours, inspired by a thoroughly enjoyable Richard III at the Rose on Bankside. This visit gave me an idea which will require too much thought and reading to do this year, but next year ... In fact, I've got at least two other tour ideas ready for realisation in 2018. Sorry, you'll have to wait and see!

Anyway, August's Sundays saw essentially medieval Charnowalks with a heavy Shakespearean emphasis, supported by the excellent picture of Shakes-bear by my good friend Fay Bennett. This fine fellow was one of the Birmingham Bears on display recently. Also I cashed in on the Great British Beer Festival with my 'Booze and the Borough' tour, on Saturday 12 being joined by my fellow Hullite Alison, her husband and one of their daughters. I don't think I've seen Alison since I graduated from Hull University in 1986, so that was a momentous meeting!

A curious and fun commission for 26 August came from Dave Curley, a former boss of mine when I worked for Tower Hamlets Council. He wanted me to do a local tour of Bethnal Green with specific reference to details about his wife Josie which he supplied - where they met, where they went for their first date (pie and mash, if you credit it!), and so on. It went very well, and all seven people there (including two of their sons) was happy at the end. Sadly I couldn't carry on with them for an early curry, but family duty called.

Saturday 19th saw the first outing for my new literary tour 'Rumpole and the Legal Life'. There are some points to straighten out - that's why my first outings of new tours are at the cut-price preview rate of £5 a head - but the tour is sound. It'll feature twice on the Footprints of London literary festival in October, but gives the inspiration for my September Sundays, which will feature law-based tours including a chance for a Sunday outing for Rumpole (the lit fest outings are weekdays).

I'll be loading up the tours soon and updating my schedule, so do keep an eye on my website:
Alternatively, you can join my mailing list and get the mailouts as they're issued - just fill in the aggravating pop-up when you visit the site. Of course, if you haven't done so already, you can sign up to this blog as well and get the full Charno experience.

As well as my scheduled tours and the Footprints of London Literary Festival, I'm featuring also on Totally Thames - please scroll down to the last post for details!

I think I've taken up enough of your valuable time, so I'll wrap up this Charnoblog entry. I hope you're getting the good weather where you are, and are enjoying your summer.


Dave Charnowalks

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Slowly getting back to routine ...

The theme for August's Sunday tours is pre-Fire London, with the emphasis on the Tudors. This is an idea which came to me after seeing an excellent Richard III given by the Malachites at the Rose Theatre, Bankside.

Beginning with 'Before the Make-Over' on 6 August, tuning into the echoes of Tudor and Plantagenet London, we go on to consider Shakespeare the Londoner, Henry VIII and the Supremacy, and finish with the City on the Jacobethan stage. Please take a peek at my schedule:

With the fortieth anniversary outing of the Great British Beer Festival coming up soon, I'm offering my 'Booze and the Borough' tour on 8 and 11 August at 11:00 and 12 August at 2:30. This tour seeks to give a depth to the appreciation of alcohol through exploring the rich relationship between the Borough and brewing, hospitality, and the wine trade. I'm afraid there's no drink taken on the tour, but we do pass some very good pubs for reference purposes!

Again, please see the schedule for details:

The nearly three weeks since the last blog have been dominated by Horace Rumpole, barrister at law and Old Bailey hack, created by John Mortimer QC. 'Rumpole and the Legal Life', my latest tour, will follow Rumpole's experiences as a barrister and will feature readings from some of the many stories. As the focus is on Rumpole himself, the tour takes in some of Legal London but not all. That's for another time, probably next year!

I will be offering the usual reduced-price preview of the tour on 19 August, with all places at £5 a head. You can't book for this on-line, but an e-mail to me at will reserve you a place.

September sees the return of Totally Thames, the month-long celebration of London's river, and again I'll be offering two river-based tours. 'River to Riches' is the tour I developed with my friend and colleague Vivien Schrager-Powell, which sees how the Thames became the City's artery for trade. My 'Tidemarks from the Pool' follows on downriver to Shadwell to see how our maritime trade infrastructure developed, as well as considering the experiences of the merchant seaman ashore. You can find details here:

Preparations are underway for October's Footprints of London Lit Fest 2017 (this is 2016's promo image), with my friend and fellow City guide Jill Finch at the helm. Details to emerge soon, but the above Rumpole tour looks likely to be included. There is a colossal choice of tours to come, and hopefully we will be offering a season ticket deal again. This ticket gives unlimited access to Lit Fest tours - so far the record is twenty-eight tours on one season ticket!

Well, that brings you up to date with the currents carrying the Good Ship Charnowalks into August with an eye on September and October! I shall get a less loaded blog entry to you in a fortnight's time, with a steadier focus which will include the new run of the Walkie Talkie guiding course!

Hoping to see you on the streets soon!


Dave Charnowalks