London Stories

I worked in London for eight years, firstly around London Wall, then in Bankside and lastly in Holborn. This is an album of things I have seen, places I have been and the wonderful tales I have collected about this magnificent city.

A children’s nursery rhyme

Here is the text of the children’s poem "Oranges and Lemons", as published in 1774. The Victorians added lots of ...
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Barnard’s Inn

This is the entrance to the Hall of Barnard’s Inn. A beautiful, fascinating little courtyard with old date stones, a ...
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Bloomsbury

There is a connection between these three pictures: the sign in New Zealand near Matamata, Bloomsbury Square Gardens in the ...
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Camden Lock

Strictly speaking, Camden Lock isn’t in our neighbourhood at all, since you can’t walk there and back in your lunch ...
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Crane City

Our neighbourhood is in a constant state of change, and the best indicators of where the change is happening are ...
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Dickens

I’ve mentioned Dickens a couple of times so far – his “club for tom cats” jibe at Barnard’s Inn, as ...
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Gray’s Inn

The Inns of Court are ancient institutions and as you walk around our neighbourhood you’ll see signs of them: Staples ...
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Holborn

Picture this at the turn of the last millennium – around 1000 AD. You are sitting on a high branch ...
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Justice in London

There are two world-famous landmark buildings in London which represent justice in its two major forms – criminal and civil ...
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Lincoln’s Inn

Lincoln’s Inn is another of the four great Inns of Court that have dominated London for nearly 1000 years. It ...
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London Bridge

From Holborn Circus you can walk, in an hour, to and from each of five of London’s bridges across the ...
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Ludgate

I like to go for a walk at lunchtime and recently I have taken to stalking Fleet Street. This rather ...
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Portobello Road

This isn’t strictly speaking Holborn, either – rather like Camden Lock – but if you take a Central Line Tube ...
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Sir Richard Whittington

There’s a wonderful story about Dick Whittington, isn’t there? The first dramatic presentation of this story was a play in ...
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Sir Thomas More

I’m sure you have heard of Sir Thomas More as part of  your high school English theatre studies, if not ...
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Sir William Walworth

This chap was Sir William Walworth. He was lord mayor of London in the late 1300s, during the reign of ...
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Smithfield Garden

London is one of the most beautiful, and powerful cities on Earth with a mixed and fascinating 2000-year history. I ...
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St Giles In-the-fields

St Giles is called In-the-fields because, like St Martins-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square, it was outside the City walls. It must ...
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St Mary le Bow

When I was a kid, St Mary le Bow WAS London. We would crowd around the radio (yes, really) in ...
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St Paul’s Cathedral

One thing about St Pauls that always takes your breath away is just how magnificent it is. It’s not just ...
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Staples Inn

Staples Inn is not so much an institution as an experience. It used to be one of the Chancery Inns ...
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Temple Bar

I’ve been wondering for a while why there is a Fleet Street sign on the Old Bank of England building, ...
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The Blitz

On 7 Sept 1940, the Germans started a policy of strategic bombing of non-military targets – first used by the ...
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The Great Fire

I’m sure you know more about the Great Fire of London in 1666 than I do. It’s as much folk ...
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The Norwegians

The Norwegians arrived in Britain some time after the Saxons (who were invading as the Romans left) but they had ...
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The resurrectionists

There were three great slums in Victorian London, perhaps the worst slums in the whole world; Spitalfields, the Mint and ...
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The Temple

Ever since a very good friend of mine from Waikato University said his family used to be members of the ...
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The Virginians

On 20 Dec 1606, Captain John Smith commanding the Susan Constant, with two other ships, the Discovery and the Godspeed, ...
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TheatreLand

The heart of theatre in London is in Shaftesbury Avenue and the streets immediately off it, including Drury Lane. The ...
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