A Spring in my Step

London under snow was beautiful, but I can’t say I’m sorry the thaw has come. It was cold. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Now the mercury is rising, the daylight hours are longer, and with the snow gone growth is apparent everywhere you look.
I’ll be leading a number of public tours over the next few weeks, starting with one around the Elephant and Castle on Sunday.
Continue reading “A Spring in my Step”

Roll Up! Roll Up! for Elefest 2017 Tomorrow, 2nd September

I am delighted to announce that I shall be leading my guided tour, Walking the Elephant, around the Elephant and Castle tomorrow afternoon as part of this year’s Elefest. After a two year gap, Elefest is back with a whoop and the promise of good weather. Rob has dusted off the logos, printed the flyers and recruited musicians, storytellers, dancers and disc spinners to celebrate the Elephant.
Continue reading “Roll Up! Roll Up! for Elefest 2017 Tomorrow, 2nd September”

Why Walk?

I have been contacted by an Urban Studies student called George who has asked my opinion and thoughts on a number of issues around walking.

Now as a Blue Badge Guide, I guide on foot, on a coach, I lead tours of galleries and heritage sites, and walks all over London.

I enjoy all of it, but walking tours have a special place n my heart, and it was partly due to my long established habit of walking around London’s neighbourhoods that I trained as a guide in the first place.

George is particularly interested to know my thoughts in relation to one particular walk that I have developed: the Elephant and Castle.

As it happens, I shall be leading this walk on Saturday 2nd September at 2pm as part of this year’s Elefest.

The Elephant has changed enormously since since I first started to explore it nearly four decades ago when I moved into a flat nearby, just down the road in Walworth. I remember the feeling of surprise and shock to find prefab homes in the shadow of what must have been London’s most uninviting hotel, the London Park. Much later when I read of that building’s history I learned to respect it and even felt sorry when it was pulled down.

You see far more on two wheels than you do on four, but walking puts you in touch with your environment in a much more immediate way. Partly it’s to do with the speed. You notice the plants in people’s gardens, the style of curtains affected by people in different neighbourhoods, the potholes in the roads, the litter on the pavements; the new front door. You acquire a more intimate understanding than your wheeled peers.

The more you walk the same streets the more you learn their nuances. You see the subtle changes that come with the year’s seasons; the telltale signs of new investment; the pubs that have been turned into flats; the new market stall holders; the graffiti; the corner shops that close; the bars that open; the elderly person who suddenly is no longer about; the young boys doing wheelies on their bikes as they transition to adolescence. You are a witness. Continue reading “Why Walk?”

Walking the Elephant Saturday 22nd March

All being well, I shall be leading Terra Incognita this Saturday morning at 10.45. It’s a walk around the Elephant and Castle that I devised some years ago. Uou may drive through th Elephant and shudder, but there is far more to it than meets the eye. The Heygate state, now being demolished has probably had more media exposure in the last few months than in the rest of its comparatively short life. Love it or hate it, Strata can be seen from across London. Away from the roundabouts, things are quieter; neighbourly. And as for Latin London, the Elephant is its heart.

Continue reading “Walking the Elephant Saturday 22nd March”

Round About the Box

Next Saturday I shall be one of four people telling alternative histories and stories about the Faraday Memorial at the Elephant and Castle with artist Mark Wayman. You may know the thing I’m talking about, the Grade II listed 1959 silver box that houses a London Underground substation.
I was sent a flyer about it by email today.

Fort da Solus
Fort da Solus
Continue reading “Round About the Box”

Elefest 2013

Why Elefest?

“Elefest is special because it celebrates one of the most maligned and misunderstood areas of London, we created Elefest to celebrate the cultural and creative diversity of the area and the people who live in it.”
ROB WRAY, director and founder.

Well done, Rob and well said. Continue reading “Elefest 2013”

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