Tourist walk – The nitty gritty, of the ancient City !
I’m going to start this introduction to my walk with a question. ‘How many people live in the City of London ?’ Hey, I’m a nice guy, I’ll give you three choices. Is it around 8 million, 80 million, or around 9,000 ? ‘Who is this guy?’ you must be thinking, that’s so easy ! And of course you’d be right, it is easy with the correct answer being 9,000.
Trick question maybe, but to those in the know we are of course talking about the ‘Square mile’, the area once known as Londinium in Roman days, the City Of London.
This small but incredibly powerful area, mainly housing the world’s biggest banks and the oldest insurance companies , it is primarily centred around finance these days, as it always has been since the Romans arrived here in 43AD.
Many more people lived within the city boundaries up to the end WW2 but with many areas of London being destroyed by enemy bombing, parts of the residential City took direct hits and so families moved away to the suburbs. The rebuilding that took place mainly focused on rebuilding these areas with offices, apart from the Barbican estate, an extreme example of wonderful Brutalist architecture.
In this walk I’ll inform you of Roman London and its 300 year occupation. We’ll hug the River Thames as we learn of the world’s most iconic bridges and stroll around part of the immense dock system that was once the biggest in the world, and brought into London the wonders of the world and along with it, a lot of cash !
Hear about the beginnings of the Royal family brought on by the invasion of the French in 1066, whos leader built the original part and most famous part of the Tower of London. I’ll take you into a paradise of peace in the City, in the atmospheric gardens of the now partly destroyed St Dunstan’s in the East church, a haven for city traders as a rest bite from a day of frantic trading.
Find out about the ancient Livery companies of the City, the formation of the Bank of England, the building of the grand Royal Exchange and the maze of alleyways that once covered this area and from which the world of insurance was born.
And towards the end of the walk, we’ll walk in the footsteps of the Romans again as we visit the spectacular Victorian marketplace that is Leadenhall and once the centre of Roman life, for it was on this exact spot that the Roman Basilica & forum stood, once the largest building north of the Alps !
Nearing the finish we move move 2000 years from the Romans to the new London. Fairly late in the construction of skyscrapers, London has started building them at a fair rate with the iconic Gherkin, Walkie Talkie and the Cheesegrater all bearing down on the ancient city from high above with Europe’s tallest standing just over the river Thames that is the Shard.
So, come on down to the City. Hear all this from a qualified London Borough guide delivered with humour and passion. This is not a history lesson, but an educational stroll through part of the most incredible city in the world !
Take a stroll with Ade, a qualified London Borough Guide
‘Enthusing the enthusiastic’