Walking Towards Christmas

The only Scottish link to Greenwich I can think of at the moment is that the Cutty Sark gets her name from a poem by Robbie Burns. However, I am sure there are more.

Tomorrow is of course St Andrew’s Day. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. Why the Greenwich links? Well, that’s where I shall be guiding in the morning.

It’s a public walk, so anyone can join me for a modest fee (£10 plus £5.50 for the boat from Tower Pier). I’ll be outside Tower Hill tube station by the Tramshed Coffee stop for 10.30.

Afterwards I am planning to visit the Plague, Fire and Revolution at the National Maritime Museum. I’ve been really looking forward to this one, and it has had wonderful reviews.

The boat that takes us to Greenwich is owned and crewed by City Cruises. The watermen are a chatty bunch who study for years to gain the qualifications to helm us safely on the Thames. City Cruises is based at Bermondsey, and on Thursday morning I have my first turn at the revised and revamped Bermondsey walk. It is starting from Bermondsey tube at 10.30, and having walked the new route, I think it’s going to be great, even better than the old version if that’s possible. We’ll even go to Cherry Gardens Pier where City Cruises moor up.

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Bermondsey


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Westminster Abbey and SSGB in Greenwich

Tomorrow I am at Westminster Abbey, one of my absolute favourite places in London. So often on a Monday morning I am heading for Greenwich (Iknow, it’s a tough life, but heyho, someone has to do it), another fabulous place to spend time just outside the centre of London.

Last week in Greenwich it looked like the army had come to town.

Army presence

Army presence

Then when we looked closer, it took on a more sinister aspect. A hangman’s noose stood beside the entrance to the Painted Hall.

Gallows

Gallows

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Bad Behaviours

Snow Hill in the City of London is home to a police station. The City has its own police force, distinct from the Met.

Back in the 1830s, when Robert Peel founded the Met, he knew the City would not accept being policed by Westminster. He was right.

The City Police numbers over 700, which sounds a lot for a square mile; presumably the force is big on fraud. You can recognise it by its uniform; in common with other forces in towns founded by the Romans, the male of the species wears a helmet witna ridge down it, as an echo of the centurions’ helmet.

City policemen

City policemen


The police station is on the site of the Saracen’s Head, a coaching inn. This inn featured in Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby, where the eponymous hero meets one-eyed schoolmaster Wackford Squeers. Continue reading