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21 Jun 2017 - City Walk

City Walk

City WalkOn 13 June the Master and 14 members and guests set off on our annual City Walk.

Our Blue Badge guide took us along the Embankment and showed us all the relevant structures related to the history of the City of London from pre-Roman to present times.  In view of us being a Livery Company, it was fascinating to learn of the ancient Guilds which relied on the river to ply their trades.  Many of the old wharfs are still there in different guises and the road names reflect what part of the river belonged to which trade.  She pointed out the old “red light district” across the river which was next to the old London Bridge near to what is now Southwark Cathedral. Across the water we were also able to see the replica of the Sir Francis Drake’s ship, the Golden Hind, the first ship to circumnavigate the world. 

Our Guide also debunked the story of Dick Whittington.  Apparently he was not a poor boy from out of town but a rich merchant who had a ship called the Catte!  Mayor, Dick Whittington did a great deal of good for London and apparently the first public toilet in London which was divided by gender was built adjacent to the river from a large legacy from Whittington.  We saw the site where it used to empty straight into the Thames which is where a great deal of London’s waste is taken away.   So Whittington’s legacy is a loo rather than a cat!  I will never feel the same about the pantomime ever again.

We were very lucky just at the end of our Walk to catch Tower Bridge being opened to let through a ship with a mast.  After this, we learnt of the Royalty who had had their heads chopped off in the Tower and visited the site at Tower Hill where the commoners met their fate.  Our Guide demonstrated on one of our party, James Dixon, just what “hang, drawn and quartering” meant; beheading was regarded as the least brutal!  Luckily James did not join the ranks of such as men as Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell but instead joined us for a great meal at the Brasserie Blanc just across the road.