Walking the City of London

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Another look at Smithfield pubs.

I found myself in Smithfield last weekend and thought it might be nice to write again about some of the local pubs. This is the Fox & Anchor in Charterhouse Street … I’m indebted to the Hidden London website for the following background information. The pub’s present, four-storey incarnation was built in 1897–9. The architect […]

Founders and Farmers, Ironmongers and Martyrs – another wander around Smithfield.

I felt it was time for another wander around Smithfield. The Founders Company is one of the 110 Livery Companies based in the City and was established in 1375. In its earliest form the Company was made up of craftspeople who specialised in brass and ‘latten’ (an alloy of copper and zinc resembling brass), including making […]

Smithfield stories (some a bit gruesome).

A few years ago I became intrigued by a particular pub name – the Bishops Finger … For a while, this was the signage … But, after a bit of research, I realised that this wasn’t a very good representation of what people used to call ‘a bishop’s finger’. It actually referred to the shape […]

A more cheerful wander around Smithfield

Last week’s blog was largely concerned with the rather gruesome events that took place in this historic area so I’m aiming to be a bit more lighthearted this week. Looking up as you walk can be very rewarding. Just opposite Smithfield Central Market on Charterhouse Street I spotted this frieze at the top of one […]

‘Smooth Field’ – a wander around Smithfield

Smithfield has a rather gruesome history. For example, on 16 July 1546 Anne Askew was burnt at the stake along with John Lascelles (a lawyer and Gentleman of the King’s Privy Chamber), John Hadlam (a tailor from Essex) and John Hemsley (a former Franciscan friar). A great stage was built at Smithfield for the convenience […]

Famous monarchs with City connections.

What better place and person to start with than the Tower of London and William I (a.k.a ‘The Conqueror’ and ‘The Bastard’). As everyone knows, he invaded England and defeated King Harold at the battle of Hastings in 1066. His reign is primarily remembered for the compilation of the Domesday Book in 1086 and for […]

Special Billingsgate edition.

Often, just when I fear I am running out of subjects to write about, the Heritage Gallery at the Guildhall Art Gallery comes to my rescue and they have just done so again with their special exhibition focusing on Billingsgate Market. A Survey of London by John Stow in 1603 described Billingsgate as follows: ‘… […]

‘Lest we forget’ …

After Remembrance Sunday every year it has become my habit to visit some of the City War Memorials, both to pay my respects and to read some of the moving tributes left by visitors. The Tower Hill Memorial commemorates over 36,000 men and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both […]

Shapes, patterns, views, an interesting architectural curiosity and witty tributes to the new King!

Last week I set off without any particular purpose, seeking shapes, patterns and views that might look interesting as images. It’s often just as fascinating to keep looking down as well as up and here are some of the curiosities I came across in Spitalfields. Some intricately designed coal hole covers that have survived road […]

Random subjects I found interesting, from street animals to stained glass. And did Batman and Robin share a bed?

Having a camera on my phone is a great asset but also leads to me taking pics of all kinds of random subjects that don’t have a particular theme. The time then comes when I don’t have a blog theme in mind so I cop out by publishing examples of this miscellaneous collection. This is […]

The City and Wartime – special edition.

I wanted to do something special in view of the significance of tomorrow’s date so I will be writing about dramatic events that happened in or near the City during wartime. I also thought it would be appropriate to write again about some of the most moving of the memorials to be found around the […]

I’m hoping my signage collection will make you smile.

I’ve been looking through my archive and some of these images made me smile when I came across them. I hope they cheer you up as well in these difficult times. This notice is from the Inns of Court – home to distinguished members of the legal profession – and is placed at the entrance […]

Mosaic Magic!

As you stroll along Shepherdess Walk in Hoxton you’ll see some tantalising clues as to the treat in store … Then you head down steps to what must be one of the most spooky and best-concealed alleys in London … With a promise of something really special … Light at the end of the tunnel […]

‘Cock a Doodle Doo’ – Special farm animal edition – with added Jubilee Corgis!

More animals this week with, of course, a nod to Her Majesty’s special weekend. More of this chap and his friends later … Researching this blog has led me to some fascinating facts. I didn’t, for example, know that a cockerel is a young male bird which, after it’s a year old, is called a […]

Another stroll through Bunhill Burial Ground.

I was astonished to find that it has been well over four years since I wrote in detail about Bunhill so earlier this week, when the sun was in exactly the right place, I decided to take some pictures and write about it again. I thought I’d show you the pictures first and then re-publish […]

The Sausage King, a fatal fire at a sex cinema and Ingersoll watches – a wander along St John Street.

I took advantage of a sunny afternoon to inspect more closely the fascinating architecture I had often observed on St John Street. It’s an ancient route, described in 1170 as the street ‘which goeth from the bar of Smithfield towards Yseldon [Islington]’. This is the earliest known documentary reference to the street, which later became […]

In search of the Bull & Mouth

One hundred and eleven years ago, in 1910, a wonderful chap called Percy C. Rushen published this meticulously researched piece of work … He was extremely angry, stating in the Introduction to his work that the disappearance of external memorials … Unfortunately, the ‘sordid tampering’ and action by ‘sacriligists’ that Percy detested was insignificant compared […]

Monkeys and lions in Seething Lane

I couldn’t resist going back to visit the fascinating carvings in the Seething Lane Garden that I wrote about last week. They all relate to the life of Samuel Pepys and have revealed a few things that I did not know. I was puzzled by this carving of a monkey who is sitting on some […]

Trees, flowers and a medical procedure.

This is my 200th blog and to celebrate I thought I’d do one of the things I enjoy most, just wander around the City taking pictures of the incredibly diverse trees and plants that live there. First up is this noble fig tree that lives in the Smithfield Rotunda garden (EC1A 9DY) … I don’t […]

Potato Heads on Whitecross Street (and some Street history)

It was a lovely sunny day last Saturday so I wandered along Whitecross Street to gaze at some of the wonderful art works. Many of these have been produced over the years at the famous Whitecross Street Party. Who wouldn’t smile at this splendid pair of potato heads … Then there’s a crazy cat with […]

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