Many of our Members are qualified London guides. In recent years several have entered and qualified for the Clerkenwell and Islington Guides Association who are now recruiting for the 2014/15 intake. Course director and LH Member John Finn writes:
“Take your enthusiasm for London’s history onto the streets themselves by training as a walking tour guide. And if you are a guide already, here’s a chance to extend your local London knowledge, and enjoy a chance to refresh your guiding skills. Applications are now open for the Clerkenwell and Islington tour guiding course, held at the University of Westminster in Marylebone Road, starting in September. Several London Historians Members have joined the course in previous years and are now qualified, badged tour guides.
The course is taught to accredited academic standards by experienced lecturers and guides and reward you with a Diploma of Special Study in Tour Guiding. Last year the course received an award from the Association for Tourism in Higher Education. The course is hosted by the University’s Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment, which is also home to the Centre for Tourism Research.
The emphasis throughout the course is on developing the skills to design and deliver walking tours that engage the audience with a compelling, well-researched narrative.
Clerkenwell is sometimes described as London’s medieval suburb and takes in one thousand years of history, including St John’s Gate (the site for our interior guiding training) and Charterhouse. By contrast, Islington’s history is one of Tudor villages, enlarged with elegant Georgian terraces, and then swallowed up by Victorian housing development – a typical London story. All of which provides a chance to explore architecture, social history and the lives of famous and infamous.
Admission to the course will be by interview in August and September. Apply or find out more by visiting the course website, and download the course flyer.”
Posted in Local History | Tagged Clerkenwell and Islington Guides. | 2 Comments »
Review: Tiger Woman, My Story – Betty May (1929) New Edition July 2014
A guest post by LH Member, Jane Young
This is a strange little memoir. Certainly more memoir than autobiography as it is quite likely that many aspects of this lady’s life that must have gone hand in hand with the events described have been left out.
It is written in a sensationalist tone and intended to shock. Which when published in 1929 it undoubtedly would have achieved. The self-congratulatory narrative does absolutely nothing to warm the reader to the writer whom it is difficult to not dislike intensely by the end of the book.
Having said that, it is however an interesting account of low life in the early twentieth century. Set largely in London but also travelling to the West Country, Paris and Sicily the colourful descriptions of all that is sordid are executed with skill, alongside attention to detail in noting domestic interiors, clothes and food, all with the unmatched accuracy of a sharp mercenary eye. Betty May measures success by her expertise in sponging and ability to have others pay for her, which though unsurprising given the childhood described therein, still remains a distasteful tale.
Nonetheless there is the impression that even in this supposedly frank rendition she is playing some sort of self serving part as is made clear in the introduction:
“I am going to tell my story in the same sort of way I have lived my life”
You are left with a prevailing sadness and still wondering who the real Betty May was. The book is not a joy to read but is an odd little piece of social history and thus worth reading for that alone.
Tiger Woman My Story has been republished to coincide with a new musical portraying the life of Betty May which has excellent credentials and very good reviews:
A percentage from the sale of this book goes towards supporting the production, therefore a foreword explaining the impetus for publication would have been a worthwhile inclusion.
Posted in 20th Century, Book Reviews, Entertainment, People, Victorian period | 1 Comment »