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Here are most of the events we held this year, with a picture for each. A couple – e.g. King’s Army Parade and Lord Mayor’s Show – are obviously not ours as such, but a contingent of Members always meets up at them to join in the celebrations.

In addition to those listed, we have a monthly pub meet-up every first Wednesday of the month (but 8th not 1st in January 2020). After many happy years at the Hoop & Grapes, Farringdon, we felt it time for a change and for most of 2019 we used the Bishop’s Finger in Smithfield. Note that all are welcome at this event, not just Members.
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I’d like to thank everyone who led tours or spoke at our talks evenings and all of the London institutions who generously hosted us and extended the best hospitality.

With over 600 Members, increasingly our events are becoming Members-only. At any rate, LH Members get cheaper (or sometimes free) tickets. If you like what you see below and would like to join us, please do so here.

Sunday 27 January
King’s Army Parade 2019.
Approximately 500 Royalist re-enactors commemorate the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649, marching along the Mall to Horseguards.

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Monday 28 January
Tour and Visit of Stephens Ink Museum (Stephens House and Gardens). Led by LH Member Melanie Wynyard.

stephens

Monday 18 March
Tour of Watermen’s Hall.

watermens

Thursday 28 March
Bazalgette 200 Tour
on the 200th anniverary of the birth of the great engineer. Led by LH Member Rob Smith. On this all day event we travelled from Putney in the west to Abbey Mills in the east, stopping at the Institute of Civil Engineers with a pub lunch in Covent Garden. We did him proud.
bazalgette

Monday 1 April
Fortnum & Mason archivist’s talk (and tea!).
by LH Member Andrea Tanner.
fandm

Tuesday 30 April
History in the Pub: Theme of Animals in London
Full house of an evening of talks and quiz. Speakers included LH Members Joanna Moncrieff, Diane Burstein, Hannah Renier, Rebecca Preston, Rob Smith, Jane Young and Tom Almeroth-Williams, author of City of Beasts (our Book of the Year for 2019).
hitp_beasts

Friday 3 May
Tour of Accountants’ Hall.
led by LH Member Sharon Grant.
ca_hall

Saturday 18 May
George Orwell’s London.
Walking tour led by LH Member David Poyser.
orwell

Monday 20 May
Tours of Tower Bridge (x2)
to celebrate the 200th anniversary of architect Horace Jones.
towerbridge

Wednesday 29 May
London Historians Big Quiz 2019
Quizmaster LH Member Matt Brown. Winning team, 50 Shades for the second year.
big quiz

Tuesday 4 June
Brompton Cemetery Tour.
including the catacomb and refurbished chapel. Led by Robert Stephenson.
brompton cem

Tuesday 18 June
Holden Goes West
A tour of some of the great Tube architect’s stations on the western end of the Piccadilly Line. Led by London Historians members David Burnell and Steve Leppert.
All proceeds to London Transport Museum.
acton town tube

Tuesday 25 June
Tour of London Transport Museum art collection, Acton Depot.
Led by LH Member David Burnell. Poster shown here is by Man Ray.
All proceeds to London Transport Museum.
poster man ray

Wednesday 26 June.
History in the Pub: The London Book Trade.
Evening of talks by: Margaret Willes, Anthony Davis, Henry Eliot and Diane Burstein. MC Colin Davey. Quiz questions: Matt Brown.

Thursday 4 July.
Curator Tour of Dr Johnson’s House, with punch!
Led by LH Members Celine McDaid and research academic Prof Sheila Cavanagh.
dr johnson

Friday 5 July
Tours of Charlton House and Severndroog Castle.
charlton house 01
Severndroog Castle 06

Tuesday 9 July
Book Lovers’ St James.
Walking tour led by LH Member Anthony Davis.

Thursday 22 August
From Pilgrimage to Biscuits: Harlesden and Willesden.
walking tour and church visits led by LH Member Andrew Teather, Dean of Brent.
willesden-harlesden

Monday 26 August
Foundation Day Life Members’ Lunch.
Parcel Yard, King’s Cross Station.
lifers

Saturday 24 August
LH annual Ian Nairn birthday pub crawl.
nairn

Thursday 29 August
Tours of Wiltons Music Hall and Hoxton Hall.
London’s only two surviving music halls.
wiltons
hoxtonhall

Sunday 1 September
Awayday: Historic Croydon
Croydon Aerodrome followed by guided walk by LH Member Gavin Webb.
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Thursday 5 September
London Historians Annual Lecture 2019
at Gresham College. Talk by Prof Arthur Burns from KCL.
arthurburns

Thursday 19 September
Tour of 55 Broadway
Our annual tour of Charles Holden’s 1929 masterpiece, formerly HQ of London Transport/TfL. Led by LH Members Edmund Bird and David Leboff. Proceeds to the Railway Children charity.
55 broadway

Tuesday 22 October
Novo Cemetery and Ragged School Museum.
cemetery bit led by LH Member Caroline Swan.

ragged school museum

Thursday 24 October
History in the Pub: More Favourite Londoners.
Eight speakers on eight Londoners of note. Talks from LH Members Laurence Scales, Rob Smith, Joanna Moncrieff, Daniella King, Jen Pedler, Robert Kingham, Diana Burstein, Marilyn Greene. MC and quizmaster: Matt Brown (pictured).
matt brown

Friday 25 October.
The Changing Face of Brentford.
Tour led by local historians Janet McNamara. We’ll do more London suburbs in 2020. Yes, I know Brentford’s a town, but you get my drift.
brentford

Friday 1 November.
Tour of BT Archives in Holborn.
Documents, objects and ephemera dating back to 1840.
bt archives

Wednesday 13 November.
History in the Pub: Four London Artists named William.
(Dobson, Hogarth, Blake, Turner). Our speakers: Waldemar Januczszak (pictured), Val Bott, Jon Newman, Catherine Parry-Wingfield. MC and quizmaster: Matt Brown.
hitp london artists

Thursday 14 November
Tour of Salters’ Hall and archive.
salters hall

Wednesday 27 November
Roger Williams Whitebait Supper.
at the Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich. This was a celebration of the life of LH Member Roger Williams who died in August. He was a leading authority and author on the London and Thames historic whitebait industry. Proceeds to British Heart Foundation.
whitebait

Monday 2 December
Tour of Down Street Station.
Historic ‘ghost’ station, closed in the early 1930s. Used in WW2 as an underground HQ of the London Transport Executive and also a favourite bolt hole of Winston Churchill. Led by LH Member David Leboff.
down street

 

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As 2018 draws to a close, here’s a snapshot of some of the things we got up to. Quite a lot when laid out like this. Even I’m surprised.

MEMBERS’ MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
These provided the usual superb range of original articles throughout the year from our members, in chronological order as follows:
Caroline Rance on the anatomist Thomas Cooke.
David Long on London Docks.
Anne Carwardine on Suffragette demonstrations in London.
Ian Castle on German air raids in WW1.
Laurence Scales on the Royal Society of Arts.
Lucy Inglis on the history of ethnic cuisine in London.
Drew Gray on Police Magistrates and the Poor.
Stanley Slaughter on the Temple Coffee House Botany Club.
Brian Cookson on Kingston Bridge.
Rebecca Walker on Fred Tibbs, police photographer.
Martyn Cornell on London vat manufacturers.
Gary Powell on the 18C American merchant Stephen Sayre.
Lissa Chapman on Aphra Behn.
Stephen Coates on the ‘lost’ bridge of Vauxhall.
Roger Williams on London freemasonry.
Mark Mason on London ‘seconds’.
Catharine Arnold on Ruth Ellis.
Brian Buxton on William Tyndale in London.


EVENTS

Monthly pub meet-up.

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First Wednesday of every month and open to all. Some wonderful evenings as ever, turnout anything between 20 and 40. Info and 2019 schedule here.

Here follows a selection of most of our other events in 2018. 

 

hmp wandsworth

28 Jan,  21 Oct, 2 Dec:  HMP Wandsworth prison & museum.

rcp

Friday 9 February: Royal College of Physicians.

parliamentary archives

Monday 5 March: Parliamentary Archives, Palace of Westminster.

leslie green

Tues 20 March: Leslie Green Stations Tour.

holden tour

Sat 24 March: Charles Holden Stations Tour.

apothecaries

Mon 26 March: Apothecaries’ Hall.

acton depot

27 March:  London Transport Acton Depot Poster Museum.

orleans house

Fri 20 April morning: Orleans House.

turners house

Fri 20 April afternoon: Turner’s House.

army music

Fri 27 April: Museum of Army Music.

abney

Sat 5 May: Abney Park Cemetery Tour.

guildford

Wed 23 May morning: Awayday walking tour of Guildford.

guildford brooking

Wed 23 May afternoon: Brooking Museum.

big quiz

Tue 29 May: London Historians Big Quiz, won by 50 Shades.

barboursurgeons

12 June: Barber Surgeons’ Hall.

cinema museum

Fri 22 June: Cinema Museum.

raf100

Sat 7 July: RAF 100 Walks.

sog

Thur 2 August: Society of Genealogists talk and tour.

baring

8 August: Barings Art Collection.

hitp

Tue 21 Aug, 16 Oct. History in the Pub.

layers of london

Thurs 23 August: Layers of London Workshop.

ian nairn

Friday 24: August Ian Nairn’s Birthday Pub Crawl.

annual lecture

Thur 6 September: LH Annual Lecture, Gresham College. Prof. Tim Hitchcock.

 

fleming

Thur 10 September:  Alexander Fleming Lab visit. 90 years penicillin.

 

55broadway

Thur 13 September: 55 Broadway Tour.

chelsea

20 Sept morning: Chelsea Arts Club & Historic Chelsea tour.

chelsea2

20 September afternoon: Carlyle’s House, Chelsea.

woolwich ferry

Wed 3 October: Farewell cruise on the old Woolwich Ferry.

tooting granada

Fri 5 October: Tooting Granada tour.

aphra behn

23 Oct: After Aphra featuring the Widow Ranter at Watermens’ Hall.

lord mayor's show

Sat 10 November: Lord Mayor’s Show (not a LH event strictly speaking!).

kirkaldy

Saturday 17 November: Kirkaldy Testing Museum.

battle of brentford

Sun 18 November: Battle of Brentford Walk.

tyndale carols

Mon 17 December: Tyndale Society Carol Service, St Mary Abchurch.


If you’re not yet a London Historians Member reading this and you think this sort of thing may be your bag, we’d love to welcome you on board. Please go here!

Thank you to all our Members near and far who supported us through this wonderful year. Also the dozens of London institutions whose time, treasure, knowledge and heritage they most generously share.

Thank you to all readers of this blog.

To everyone, we wish you a Happy New Year and many marvellous things and places to share and explore through 2019.

 

 

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21 March: Pocahontas
This year marked the 400th anniversary of the death in Gravesend of the Powhatan princess Pocahontas having spent some time in 1616/17 living in and around London with her English husband, tobacco merchant John Rolfe. There were notable commemorations in Gravesend and Syon House. We did our bit with an evening of talks and music at the Sir Christopher Hatton, our regular lecture venue in Holborn.

pocahontas

23 May: The London Historians Big Quiz
Full house at the Sir Christopher Hatton for our inaugural annual quiz conducted, naturally, by London’s leading quizmaster and LH Member Matt Brown. The winning team led by Diane Burstein (below) carted off the huge trophy. Incidentally, in September the Totally Thames quiz was won by the London Historians team for the third time in four years. Dave Whittaker, Joanna Moncrieff, Emma Bridge, Mike Paterson.

bigquiz

17 July: Water Music 300
Monday 17 July was the 300th anniversary of Handel’s Water Music, composed for George I in 1717. In partnership with Georgian Dining Academy and supported by Handel House Museum, we hosted a period costume re-enactment aboard the Golden Jubilee performed by a live 12-piece baroque orchestra. It was probably the most beautiful evening of the summer, how lucky was that? Unquestionably the highlight of the year.

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 years

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 years

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 years

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 yearsAll above images by Paul Davey. 

16 July: Wandsworth Prison and Museum
The Wandsworth Prison Museum was re-opened in a purpose-built building in    . The curator is LH Member Stewart Mclauchlin. On 16 July he gave us a tour of both the museum and the prison itself which dates from 1851. Very interesting indeed.

hmpwandsworth

17 September. London Historians Annual Lecture
A fully-booked hall at Gresham College’s lovely pre-Tudor HQ, Barnard’s Inn, for our fourth Annual Lecture. This year London Historians founder member Prof Elaine Chalus delivered a talk entitled ‘Everybody seems quite wild’: Emperor-hunting in London in 1814. Simply superb.

chalus

25 October: Southwark Cathedral Candlelit Tour

southwark

8 December: Behind the Scenes at the Old Vic

old vic

Other Events
9 January: Tour of Fishmongers’ Hall
24 February: Leighton House and Flaming June
10 March: London Scottish Regiment Museum Tour
6 April: The Thin Veil of London tour of Bloomsbury and Holborn
10 April: Society of Antiquaries Private Tour
21 April: 18 Stafford Terrace Private Tour
16 May: History in the Pub: Crime and Punishment
26 May: Tour of Clothworkers’ Hall
13 July: Tour of Carpenters’ Hall
19 July: Tour of St Bride’s Church, Crypt and Charnel House
25 July: History in the Pub: Our Favourite Londoners
14 September: Behind the Scenes Tour of 55 Broadway
18 September: Tour of Wax Chandlers’ Hall
10 October: History in the Pub: London’s Women of Note
17 November: Printing in Hammersmith, Kelmscott House & Emery Walker House
4 December: Tour of Goldsmiths’ Hall

… and of course not forgetting 12 x monthly pub meet-ups, first Wednesday of the month.

RIP
Far from being highlights but we must remember them here. This year we lost Helen Szamuely in April and Malcolm Blythe in October, both of whom had been unwell for some time. Like the rest of us, they both loved London deeply and will be missed.


I’d like to thank all our members for their wonderful support and friendship throughout the year and to you our readers for visiting. We look forward to putting together another packed programme of events in 2018. Most of these are members only. Ensure your eligibility by joining our happy throng. You couldn’t make a better New Year’s resolution!

Happy New Year and thanks again,

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Last Saturday London Historians went on an awayday to St Albans; 12 of us. We were led by fellow Member and guide, Rob Smith, a longstanding resident of the city who gave us a wonderful tour.

I was aware, of course, of the ancient Roman town very near by, Verulamium. And that it has a fine old abbey, now a cathedral. But I was unprepared for quite how much of this city’s historic fabric survives. You can walk entire streets where the newest building might be Victorian. I was particularly pleased to see lots of old coaching inns which today shops, pubs, flats, whatever. But still there. St Albans escaped WW2 bombing but importantly it’s less careless about its heritage than London: I gather the St Albans Civic Society has a fearsome reputation.

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The cathedral itself, like many large and ancient survivals, is a hodge-podge of styles, and none the worse for that. At the beginning of its timeline, still an abbey, we have its beautiful Norman tower. At the other end we have the much-derided west front by Victorian architect Edmund Beckett Denison who took over the building’s restoration from Sir George Gilbert Scott. It looks okay to me but will never compare with – for example – Hawksmoor’s west front towers at Westminster Abbey.

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Inside is the shrine and tomb of St Alban himself, a local man who during the Roman persecution, took the rap for a Christian priest, and was beheaded. Like today, pilgrimage was massive business in the Middle Ages, only more so. When the martyrdom of Thomas Beckett turned Canterbury into a serious rival destination, St Albans successfully petitioned Rome for Alban’s beneficiary, Amphibalus, also to be sanctified.  Two saints!

Shrine of St Alban.

Shrine of St Alban.

Shrine of St

Shrine of Amphibalus. Some TLC needed, though.

In addition to these two blameless fellows, notable St Albans residents included Matthew Paris, who was a monk at the abbey, and a medieval chronicler; Francis Bacon, the scientist and philosopher who developed the Scientific Method. Queen Anne’s friend Sarah Churchill, who preferred St Albans to Blenheim; and Samuel Ryder, a seed magnate originally from Preston, who sponsored the first Ryder Cup.

The Wars of the Roses. Did you know they kicked of at St Albans? In May 1455, the armies of the Dukes of York and Somerset fought it out in the streets, alleys, ditches and the market square. The issue was that the King, Henry VI, was mentally ill, so who ruled England in his stead? York prevailed on this occasion, but not before St Albans, which had no investment in the quarrel whatsoever, got horribly sacked.

St Albans is but two stops on the train from St Pancras and therefore – for me – takes no more time than to reach fair Greenwich, which I visit quite frequently. You may find the same. No excuses. Rob has another scheduled tour coming up on 9 July.

Rob tells us about the ancient Great Gate to the Monastery.

Rob tells us about the ancient Great Gate to the Monastery.

View from St Albans's town Clock Tower in the market square.

View from St Albans’s town Clock Tower in the market square.

Clock Tower bell, known as Archangel Gabriel, case in Whitechapel c1400!

Clock Tower bell, known as Archangel Gabriel, cast in Whitechapel c1400!

Roman mosaic, in situ.

Roman mosaic, in situ.

I’ve put more pictures on our Flickr space here.

Finally, in view of my previous post, on the pipe organ, here is St Albans Cathedral’s tribute to David Bowie.

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Last Monday, London Historians enjoyed a long-anticipated lunch and tour at Ironmongers’ Hall. It was superb. This was On the staircase, I immediately recognised an object which I remember from some years ago. It is “The Estridge”, a wooden carving from 1629 on the occasion of the Lord Mayor’s pageant for Sir James Campbell, three times Master of the Company (1615, 1623, 1640). That’s some old bird. The connection with ironmongery is that back in the day, it was thought that ostriches were able to eat and digest iron, hence the horseshoe in the animal’s beak. If you went to the superb Royal River exhibition at the Maritime Museum, Greenwich, you will have seen this same ostrich on display, on loan from the Company.

estridge, ostrich, ironmongers' hall

Three years ago, in Greenwich.

Three years ago, in Greenwich.

You can see a gallery of pictures from our visit to the Ironmongers’ Hall here and here.

More on ill-conceived myths relating to animals.

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2015 saw our busiest events programme ever, at least 43 in all. The main theme was livery and livery halls: we visited ten altogether. Highlights included our annual lecture in September; our Samuel Pepys day out in the City and Greenwich in November; tours of Fuller’s brewery and Hogarth’s House next door; and our unforgettable Christmas visit to the Ancient House in Walthamstow: magical. These images represent some of our outings, by no means all. Somehow I failed to take pictures at our three History in the Pub talks evenings, which focussed on Sport, Policing London and the history of Print in London.

college of arms

8 January. College of Arms. Tour and talk by the Windsor Herald.

Merchant Taylors' Hall

16 January. Merchant Taylors’ Hall.

cutlers' hall

24 February. Cutlers’ Hall.

drapers' hall

6 March. Drapers’ Hall.

Stationers' Hall.

17 April. Stationers’ Hall.

21 April. Crossrail archaeological dig near Liverpool Street.

21 April. Crossrail archaeological dig near Liverpool Street.

derelict london paul talling

24 April. Derelict London walk with Paul Talling.

20 May. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London. Talk by Paul Jagger at Information Technologists' Hall.

20 May. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London. Talk by Paul Jagger at Information Technologists’ Hall.

5 June. Vintners' Hall.

5 June. Vintners’ Hall.

brixtonwindmill

12 June. Exploring Brixton: The Prison and the Mill.

woolwich

12 July. Walking tour of historic Woolwich with Laurence Scales.

 

24 July. Armourers' and Braziers' Hall.

24 July. Armourers’ and Braziers’ Hall.

doggett's coat and badge

1 August. 300 Anniversary of Doggett’s Coat and Badge.

7 September. Skinners' Hall.

7 September. Skinners’ Hall.

On 9 September we had our second annual lecture, once again at Gresham College’s wonderful Tudor period Barnard’s Inn Hall. In the 600th anniversary year of Agincourt, we heard Professor Caroline Barron talk about Henry V and his relationship with the City of London and its institutions.

19 September. Behind the scenes at Wood Street police station.

19 September. Behind the scenes at Wood Street police station.

26 September. History and Technology Conference at the National Archives, Kew.

26 September. History and Technology Conference at the National Archives, Kew.

30 November. Tallow Chandlers' Hall.

30 November. Tallow Chandlers’ Hall.

nowell parr

23 October. Pub tour on the trail of pub architect, Nowell Parr.

ancient house E17

12 December. Christmas cheer at the Ancient House, Walthamstow.

Finally, let’s not forget our monthly pub meet-ups on the first Wednesday of each month. This relaxed and convivial event is open to all, not just LH Members. There is no agenda, just friendship. Typically, about 30 folks turn up through the course of the evening.

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We have an equally busy programme in the pipeline for 2016. Please check our Events page for the latest. Some are exclusive to LH Members, who also get preferential pricing on most of the rest. Our Members themselves organise some outstanding events such as Georgian Dining Academy and the monthly Salon for the City for which generous discounts are available to LH Members..

 

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A guest post by LH Member Hannah Renier.

Near the Barbican, where the road splits around St Alban’s Church tower, you’ll find Wood Street Police Station. It’s large, historic, and about to undergo a partial rebuild. About twenty of us took the tour on the Saturday of Open House Weekend.

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We heard about the origins of the City Police as a citizen force from 1285, the struggle to maintain its independence as a City institution, the years when every applicant for the job had to be six feet one in stockinged feet, and the unbroken tradition of separation from royal influence. To this day, there’s no crown on the cap badge. However there have been abundant crises and changes in 730 years, and at Wood Street a small museum holds a fascinating collection of uniforms, old photographs, weapons, records made long before Data Protection, and memorabilia from famous crimes like the Ripper Murders, the Siege of Sidney Street and the Houndsditch Murders. On these last we were all expert, having just re-enacted them. Some of us emerged as heroes, while still more were captured and later found innocent. Others were shot dead but fortunately, revived by tea, cake and laughter. The grand finale was a trip to the gloriously well-fitted Stables to meet Little Dave (the smallest horse in the City force at 16.1 hands) and his equine friend Lulu.

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Lulu

In the museum

In the museum

Continued funding for the City police horses is undecided; they’ll hear, at Wood Street, early in October. Our tour therefore ended on a note of trepidation; but many thanks for the kindness of serving inspectors Peter and Rebecca who gave up half of their Saturday – in uniform – and kept us informed and entertained non-stop.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

Houndsditch Murders re-construction. Image: Caroline Derry.

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