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When is a Hospital not a Hospital?

Posted by Susan Baker, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, July 22, 2021, In : City of London 

When it’s a school founded by a Tudor king. In the Middle Ages a hospital was not what we think of today. The word has the same origins as hospitality or hotel, coming from the Latin hospes meaning both guest/visitor and host. A medieval hospital could be almhouses for the poor, a hostel for pilgrims or a school for the poor.


The sculpture by Andrew Brown commemorates the founding of Christ’s Hospital in 1552 by King Edward VI on part of the site of Greyfriars, a Franciscan monastery in th...


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Great Fire

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, June 10, 2021, In : Great Fire of London 

The Great Fire of 1666 was devastating, destroying around four-fifths of the City of London. The main reason it was so destructive was the wind which was blowing from the south-east, and which was particularly fierce. The Dutch and English fleets vying for a fight in the Channel the night before the fire broke out had been unable to join the battle because the winds were so strong. 


The direction of the wind was important as it helped usher the flames away from the river which might in other c...


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The Bard's Birthday

Posted by Dr Stephen King, Westminster Tour Guide on Friday, April 23, 2021, In : Tudor 

The 23rd of April is Saint George’s day, but also William Shakespeare’s birthday (1564) and death day (1616). He was born and died in Stratford-Upon Avon, where you can visit his childhood home and actually stand in the room he was (probably) born in. As a young man Shakespeare moved to London, although scholars are not sure when or indeed why.


One of the first records of Shakespeare in London is when the drunk, drugged and hugely bitter critic Robert Greene in 1592 refers to the new write...


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London's First Theatre

Posted by Hazel Baker, London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 10, 2021, In : Theatre 

Well, London's first two theatres were built in Shoreditch. The first theatre was built in 1576 and was called The Theatre, not only London's first ever permanent Playhouse. And it was also Britain's the benefit of shortage, much like Southern was that it was just outside the walls of the city of London.

Even though plays were highly censored. The mayor of London had banned players from being performed within the City walls, but he couldn't ban them out of it. Before specific theatre buildings...


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Why did the Globe theatre close?

Posted by Hazel Baker - London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 10, 2021, In : Theatre 

Shakespeare's and John Fletcher's Henry VIII was originally a script called "All is True", which was a historical thriller. The play was based on the divorce of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Sir Thomas Lovell is a minor in the play. He's present at the Duke of Buckingham's trial and execution, and also at the festivities at Wolsey's residence. Later on in the play, Lovell is accosted by Bishop Gardner while he's on his way to inform the King that queen Anne is in labor, but may not su...


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The Mousetrap and Agatha Christie

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, In : Theatre 

On this day in 1952 Agatha Christie's play "The Mousetrap" opened in London at the Ambassadors Theatre and has played at the St Martin's Theatre since 1973. In 1954 she became the first woman to have three plays running in London at the same time.

Agatha Christie was a prolific writer of novels, short stories and plays and is best known for her series of crime books featuring detectives Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple.

The Agatha Christie memorial on Cranbourne Street near Leicester Square tube...


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The Monument to the Great Fire of London

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 15, 2020, In : Podcast 

The Great fire of London destroyed four fifths of the city. The monument on fifth street Hill is a memorial to the great fire, and those who rebuilt the city without rock and roll.


The monument is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. It took six years to build to the difficulty of getting a sufficient quantity of Portland stone or the required dimensions. This caused the King to issue a proclamation on the 4th of May, 1669 for bidding any person to transport stone from the Arla Port...


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We'll Meet Again for VE Day 75

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, May 8, 2020, In : Things to Do in London 
For the first time in our 150 year history, the Royal Albert Hall will play host to a unique concert.

Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE will perform in an empty Royal Albert Hall in a special free online half-hour concert.

Katherine will sing wartime favourites including The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again; the latter performed as a virtual duet with Dame Vera Lynn. The timeless song, featuring the lyrics, ‘I know we’ll meet again some sunny day’, epitomised the emotion...
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Virtual Events for Your Enjoyment

Posted by Hazel Baker on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Theatre 
MUSIC/OPERA


  • British Music Embassy Sessions - PRS for Music has gathered UK artists unable to play the cancelled SXSW festival for the British Music Embassy sessions. Here’s the link to their live sessions on Youtube.

  • English National Ballet Philharmonic - The musicians that make the ENB Philharmonic play the Swan Lake Overture from their homes. Available on Youtube.

  • Support independent musicians performing at home - Isolate Live is a Facebook page that is organising online streamed concerts fr...


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Looking for Old London Bridge

Posted by Rob Smith, Clerkenwell and Islington Tour Guide on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 
London Bridge is Falling Down. Anyone know a song about that? London Bridge certainly has a record of having been built and replaced many times. The first Roman bridge was built around 43AD but was replaced by a more permanent structure in 55AD (there is a great model of this bridge in the Museum of London). When the Roman’s rule ended their bridge fell into disrepair and London was left bridgeless until 878 when a Saxon bridge crossed the Thames slightly downstream from the Roman one. Acc...

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Your Theatre Fix (digitally)

Posted by Hazel Baker on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, In : Theatre 
I don't know about you but I cannot live without the arts in my life. 

This lockdown has enabled several artists, art organisations and exhibitions to open up their digital archives. 
I have broken them into genres: Musicals
The Wind in the Willows - One for families, this long-running West End show is up here for free. Just register and consider donating to their suggested theatre charities before watching.  Read our review here.

The Other Palace - Off-West End theatre The Other Palace is st...

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Guided Theatre: March 2020

Posted by Sarah at ThriftyTheatre on Thursday, February 20, 2020, In : Guided Theatre 

February is over already? That went by quickly. Hello and welcome to your March addition of GUIDED THEATRE, the hub for all thing’s theatre, including news, the hottest shows and where to get your tickets.

It’s time to set those clocks forward and enjoy an extra hour of light. March also means we are one month closer to summer (woohoo). SO, what do we have to look forward to this month:


City of Angels

Originally premiering at the Donmar Warehouse in 2014, City of Angels was a huge success! S...


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Kult Pizza in Farringdon

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, In : Eating 

If you are planning on attending Bleeding Hearts & Body Parts or Heretics and Horrors walk during the week then you may enjoy Kult pizza. It's a small pizzeria on Cowcross Street, perfectly placed a couple of minutes walk away from where these two walks end. 
Finding somewhere that serves quick tasty food during the evenings in the week around Smithfield can be tricky.

The pizzeria is small and funky, clean and bright. They have two choices of pizza sizes, 6" and 10".  I chose the 6” pancett...


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Guided Theatre: February 2020

Posted by Sarah at ThriftyTheatre on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, In : Guided Theatre 

Hello and welcome to your February addition of GUIDED THEATRE, the hub for all thing’s theatre, including news, the hottest shows and where to get your tickets.

February, the month of love, pancakes and millions of school kids enjoying their half term holidays. So, what should you look out for this month: 


Waitress:

Jenna, a pie-making expert working as a waitress in a small diner in America. With her friends Dawn and Becky, she dreams of happiness and escaping her marriage but after...


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The Best Places To Eat Cheese in London

Posted by Hazel Baker, Director of London Guided Walks on Sunday, January 19, 2020, In : Eating 

It's cheese lover's day!

To celebrate, I’ve rounded up my favourite cheesemongers, street food stalls and cheese boards. 


My Best Cheese Shops in London

Paxton & Whitfield

Having started as a cheese stall in London's Aldwych market in 1742, the now partnership of Paxton & Whitfield is my go-to place for cheese. Jermyn Street’s branch of Paxton & Whitfield is one of London’s most iconic shops. 

It’s beloved of both the royal family and well-heeled Londoners. As well as the usua...


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What is the strange contraption in St Magnus the Martyr church?

Posted by Susan Baker, London Guided Walks tour Guide on Saturday, January 4, 2020, In : Great Fire of London 

As you enter the church of St Magnus the Martyr, just to the east of London Bridge, you would be forgiven for missing this strange wooden contraption to the right.  What is it?  Not a mobile pop up food stall.  It’s a very early fire engine.  How appropriate it should be in this church as a reminder of the dangers of fire, particularly in medieval London.

St Magnus was the second church to be destroyed in the Great Fire of London – the Monument being built on the site of the first...


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Guided Theatre: 2020

Posted by Sarah @ Thrifty Theatre on Saturday, December 14, 2019, In : Guided Theatre 

GUIDED THEATRE

Welcome to this new addition of London Guided Walks blog, GUIDED THEATRE by Sarah at Thrifty Theatre. your hub for all thing’s theatre, including news, the hottest shows and where to get your tickets. Each month I will give you my top tip for the month as well as recommendations for some great shows.  

So, what is there to look forward to at the start of 2020:

Curtains

Do you like Murder Mysteries? Do you like Musicals? Do you like Jason Manford? Well this show combines all thre...


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Al fresco brunch at The Plumstead Pantry

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, In : Local History 
Do you have a favourite London al fresco spot? Tell us!

Here's my review of The Plumstead Pantry
With the sun shining I decided to head on out for a spot of al fresco lunch. We jumped on the bus to Plumstead to The Plumstead Pantry. This is somewhere I have been itching to go for a few months after stumbling across them on Facebook. Having missed their August lates I wanted to take full advantage of the Indian summer.

We were lucky to have a table for two outside in the sunshine, overlooking Plu...
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Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close

Posted by London Guided Walks on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, In : Theatre 

Glenn Close reprises her Tong Award-winning role as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum. This was something of a treat as I was only a teenager when I was introduced to one of the lesser-known musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The semi-staged performance was a contrast to the opulent surrounding of the London Coliseum. 

The 48-strong onstage orchestra was beautifully conducted by Michael Reed whose splendiferous sound feels like ...


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Nell Gwynn at Apollo Theatre

Posted by Theatreland walks with London Guided Walks on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, In : Theatre 

The story of Nell Gwynn is surrounded with intrigue. A woman who rose up the ranks quickly due to the favour of Charles II and then disappears from the history books. 

A Shakespeare’s Globe production is written by Jessica Swale is an English theatre director and writer and playwright. Nell's story was engrossing and Gemma Atherton commanded the stage. The hat joke was truly magnifique.

The set was cleverly constructed and fully utilised by the performers with having designated area...


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