LONDON WALK NO 30 GROUP 3 ALLEYWAYS OF THE CITY ORGANISED BY DI HALEY & BARBARA MYATT WEDNESDAY 18 TH MAY 2011

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1 LONDON WALK NO 30 GROUP 3 ALLEYWAYS OF THE CITY ORGANISED BY DI HALEY & BARBARA MYATT WEDNESDAY 18 TH MAY 2011 Seventeen of us met up at Tonbridge Station for what was to be one of the most intensive and interesting walks organised so far. Much of the walk had been covered in part by earlier walks, but the intricate weaving across roads and up and down alleys ensured that we all found something new to entertain us. Di had provided an excellent crib sheet with facts on the streets and buildings we passed, and these will be marked with an * for cross reference. The stroll across London Bridge on a dull but pleasant day led us to Pret where we took over the tables for coffee and cake. Walking down Fish Street Hill past the Monument*, the many Great Fire of London references were checked out. Crossing Eastcheap, we made our way up Philpott Lane*. Di had pointed out an interesting building (Café Nero) on the corner, told us the story of an argument and set us all the task of finding a sculpture on the building of two mice eating cheese. We failed miserably, and she eventually pointed them out. Moving on up Lime Street* (part pedestrianised), we passed the modern Lloyd s of London building, known as the inside out building, with the triple layer Willis building opposite, and on in to Leadenhall Market.* Heading for 1 Poultry Building where we were due for lunch, we entered a warren of old narrow alleyways. Here Di and Barbara really had to be on the ball, as it would have been very easy to lose some of the group. Crossing Gracechurch Street, we went into Bell In Yard, St. Peter s Alley, and St Michael s Alley (passing the Jamaica Wine House where we had had lunch on a previous walk). En route we went into Corbet Court where we saw one of the Mercers Maidens the symbol of the Worshipful Company of Mercers. Our route then took us down Castle Court, Ball Court, Birchin Lane, Bengal Court and into Change Alley* (Exchange Alley). We had seen

2 a variety of old shop fronts, ancient buildings and interesting architecture. In Castle Court, the George & Vulture caught our eye a pencil thin building built in 1746 as a public house, said to be a meeting place of the notorious Hell Fire Club and now a City chop house. Mentioned in Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens was known to use it. It is Grade II listed. Finding an area that was wide enough for more than just one of us, we took advantage of having a group photograph. Di and Barbara were seen to be checking papers and pacing down alleyways before we proceeded on our way. Moving along Lombard Street*, the sign of the Grasshopper* was evident. The symbol of Thomas Gresham (a Mercer) hangs outside Martin s Bank, and is from the original financial business he set up on the site, which has now been sympathetically rebuilt. Lloyd and Garraway established Coffee Houses in this area, with Lloyds attracting the ship owning fraternity whilst stockbrokers and financiers gathered in Garraways. The link to shipping is also shown by the Blue Plaque of the Kings Arms Tavern. Today Lombard Street denotes the London Money Market and a mythical figure of a Discount Broker is carved above the door in Change Alley East, with a classical inscription showing the respect of the Market for the Bank.

3 Walking through Post Office Court (where the mail coaches once departed), via King William Street, St. Swithins Lane, Mansion House Place and St. Stephens Row, and finding ourselves with time to spare before lunch, we took the opportunity to go into St. Stephen Walbrook. The Church s magnificent interior was overshadowed by the new stone altar in the middle by Henry Moore (commissioned by Lord Palumbo, also responsible for No.1 Poultry!) surrounded by a very interesting modern kneeler by Patrick Heron. Henry Moore conceived a centrally placed altar made of travertine marble cut from the very quarry which provided the marble for Michelangelo s work. By carving a round altar table with forms cut into the circular sides Moore suggested that the centre of the church reflected the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Not liked by all, it was the subject of a Court Case, where the highest Ecclesiastical Court of the land ruled it could be used as an altar. At the entrance was the Samaritans Telephone (as seen on one of our earlier walks). Our unscheduled stop meant that as we came out of the Church, Jean met up with her daughter and grandchild what a coincidence! We crossed over into No.1 Poultry* (named after the former poulterers street beside it). Designed by James Stirling the original scheme for No.1 Poultry was aborted following one of the great architectural and planning show downs of the 1970s. The present building was completed in 1997, five years after the architect Stirling's death, and is one of the most successful postmodern buildings in London with use of bold, but perhaps unsubtle, forms and colours in a compact assembly. It is clad in pink and yellow limestone. Its construction required the fiercely fought demolition of the nineteenth century neo gothic listed building on the apex of the site, occupied by crown jewellers Mappin and Webb. Replacing eight listed buildings, owner of the site, Lord Palumbo, won his 30 year battle for planning permission in the House of Lords. His vision of replacing the Victorian buildings with a modernist scheme by architect James Stirling provoked howls of protest from conservationists and Prince Charles even joined the fray denouncing Mr Stirling's design as a "1930s wireless".

4 Lunch welcomed us at The Green Man Wetherspoons pub in Poultry, and being fairly early, we easily got tables before the City rush. A smart city pub, we had a decent meal at reasonable prices. The complex streetmap below shows some of the streets covered in the first part of our walk many small alleys are not shown. The second part of our walk was equally as complex. Crossing Old Jewry (William the Conqueror encouraged Jews to come to England after the Norman Conquest, and some formed a ghetto around this area), we entered Frederick s Place*. Di pointed out the torch snuffers and the plaque to Benjamin Disraeli. All the buildings displayed the colourful Worshipful Company of Gardeners Window Box awards but there was not a single box in sight (too early in the year?). Frederick s Place commemorates Sir John Frederick, Lord Mayor of London in 1661, who owned a large mansion which covered this site. There was also some discussion about the Ward plaques on the building at the far end. Research shows that these are lead boundary markers, c18, for Parish and City Ward, St.Olave Jewry, Cheapside Ward & St.Martin Pomeroy. Of the two churches only the tower of St.Olave Jewry remains as part of a house in office use.

5 Another City Blue Plaque indicated where Edwin Waterhouse worked. He was co founder of the well known Price Waterhouse (Now Price Waterhouse Cooper) Accountancy firm. Back into Old Jewry, we passed the Blue Plaque of the Great Synagogue. Our walk then took us through St. Olaves Court, Ironmonger Lane, Gresham Street, Basinghall Street and into Guildhall*. We have walked through here several times before, and there were a variety of plaques and architecture which could have been included in this writeup. But, we were taken by the Police Dog Unit vehicle and its inhabitants. After some friendly banter with some of our group and the Police Dog Handlers, we went on our way. We reached the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry* (the Church that had been shut on our very first walk). The church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1670 and It suffered extensive damage during the blitz and was restored in 1957 by Cecil Brown to Wren's original design. It is no longer a parish church but a guild church the official church of the City of London Corporation. From here we went back along Old Jewry, passing St. Mary Le Bow on Cheapside and into the Courtyard where stands a statue to Captain John Smith, a parishioner of St Mary le Bow but perhaps best known through his involvement with Pocahontas, the daughter of a native American Chieftain. Amongst the many interesting stained glass windows in the Church is the St George window containing the arms of the Sovereign Independent States of the Commonwealth in 1957: South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Ghana, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Malaya. From here we seemed to be squeezing into a selection of alleys, to view Williamson's Tavern* and then Ye Olde Watling Street*. No time for a drink yet unfortunately.

6 From here we walked down Garlick Hill and Skinners Lane and entered the Ward of Vintry where we found Saint James GarlickHythe Church*. Here the sculpture of the Barge Master and Swan Marker brought out the worst in our silly antics and the cameras snapped gaily. Sorry to let the side down again! From Great Trinity Lane, past Painters Hall we squeezed into Huggin Court and Di and Barbara were persuaded to have a hug!!!! Our next surprise was Cleary Gardens. One of the many City Gardens, this area originally housed Roman baths before vintners used the site for trading and growing vines in the Middle Ages. Today the garden has two terraces leading down to a lawn. A plaque records Joseph Brandis, member of the Cordwainers Company, who created the garden on the bomb site later renamed after Fred Cleary a great campaigner for increasing the City s open spaces. In 2007 it underwent a major redevelopment as the Loire Valley Wines Legacy Garden, with vines and aromatic plants to evoke the flavours and bouquet of wines from the Loire region. A most welcome green area from the many alleys and hard architecture seen so far. Crossing the busy Queen Victoria Street, up Old Fish Street Hill, we climbed the steps to Distaff Lane and then Peter s Hill. The view here looked up to St Paul's Cathedral and down to the Millennium (wobbly) Bridge that leads across the Thames to Tate Modern. Knightrider Street showed no sign of The Hoff, but had been used by Dr. Who s Cybermen when invading London. Carter Lane displayed the magnificent old St. Paul s Choir School*, and Wardrobe Place*, once the site of the royal wardrobe (for formal garments) until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

7 From Burgeon Street and the small alley of Ireland Yard (with links to Shakespeare and the main entrance to Blackfriars Monastry), we passed the Cockpit Pub (a major venue for gambling during cock fights in the 1800 s ) and into Playhouse Yard* (unremarkable in appearance, but steeped with history) a fragment of an ancient stone wall are the only lasting reminders of a building that once housed one of three London theatres where Shakespeare trod the boards. Still no time to stop for a drink! Blackfriars Lane produced a real gem. Apothecaries Hall* had a wonderful courtyard full of interesting things to see. It was also the site of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers. Research revealed a rather interesting condition of Apprenticeship. I never did fancy being a spectacle maker; different kind of glass for me! Our final walk took us down Blackfriars Lane to the Blackfriar Pub* in Queen Victoria Street. The only Art Nouveau pub in London, it proved a great place to stop (at last) for a drink, before we made our way home from Blackfriars Station opposite. We took over the rear room which proved a snapping ground for photographs, amidst the drinks and tea being consumed with great alacrity.

8 Refreshed, we made our way across Queen Victoria Road to Blackfriars Station, and then home via London Bridge. Blackfriars railway station was opened as St Paul's in 1886 when the St Pauls Railway Bridge was opened across the River Thames. It was renamed Blackfriars in Gradually, the structure of the original Blackfriars railway bridge deteriorated until it was unsound. The bridge deck was removed in 1985 and only the piers in the river and the orange bridge abutments remain. It underwent several rebuilds to include the Underground service. Its latest rebuild will see it becoming the first train station to span the River Thames, with a new station built on the South Bank for the first time in 120 years, giving passengers direct access to key local attractions including the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern. During the life of the project, Network Rail will bring to site via the Thames over 14,000 tonnes of materials to build the station s new bridge deck, longer platforms and roof spanning the river. At the same time, more than 8,000 tonnes of deck and pier demolition materials will also be removed. Barges will arrive on a daily basis and take over 2,000 lorries off London roads. The noise from the building work once inside the station was however horrendous. Di and Barbara need medals for actually guiding us through the City Alleyways and not losing themselves or any of us. It was a most enjoyable tour and we certainly saw a large number of places not normally on view. I also have plenty of photographs not included in this writeup, and some interesting items had to be left out not least the old house cut in half to make way for a huge glass office block no more than a foot away!

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