London Footsteps

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SECRET GARDENS

The Secret Gardens of the city never fail to amaze walkers and visitors to the capital. Yesterday it was a group from Rayleigh U3A who set off from St. Botolphs churchyard and included Drapers Gardens, Cleary garden, Postmans Park and Zachary Garden.  The newly restored St. Pancras churchyard with benches and some fine wood carving is a real gem.

As the wet weather finally moves on and early Summer arrives, this is a walk that is worth repeating. So keep in touch with what London Footsteps has to offer in the weeks ahead.

POUNDS, SHILLINGS AND POVERTY

It's always interesting to see and hear what reaction there is likely to be for a new talk.  For members of the Hornchurch Probus a lot of memories came flooding back when I went to talk to them in early May.  

Many in this group of retired businessman have links going back to the East End of London. Some were born there others had family who had settled in the area as long ago as the 19th century.  Some of the comments and personal reminiscences were certainly worth hearing.

The subject - wealth and poverty - can be unusual and fascinating, triumphant and desperately sad.  In one sense, the Victorian age was a story of men and women who made a great contribution to a city that grew from a population of one million in 1800 to six million in 1900.

From that period came the railways, photography, the police, Charles Dickens, Annie Besant, Sir Joseph Bazelgette, electric lighting, gin palaces - and so the list goes on and on.  Trying to summarise such a crowded century in 45 minutes is impossible but the audience are left in no doubt that alongside great riches and world influence, London was also a city of squalor, crime and disease.  

The POUNDS, SHILLINGS AND POVERTY talk is supported with photographs of familiar sights and places around London.  This is a Powerpoint presentation.  Call or email us to find out more details and maybe consider a possible date for a future visit to your group or society.

PREPARING FOR THE OLYMPICS

The Olympic signs are appearing all over the place but the most impressive - and unusual - was the sight of HMS Ocean moored alongside the Cutty Sark at Greenwich.  It was just a training exercise but during the games this will be the base for the the Armed Services personnel who have the task of guarding the capital from any threat.  Last Sunday, the Royal Marines were showing off their mobility, speeding up and down the river in their armed  launches. It was very re-assuring - but also a reminder that we need this high level of protection at such an important world event.