Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Slowly getting back to routine ...

The theme for August's Sunday tours is pre-Fire London, with the emphasis on the Tudors. This is an idea which came to me after seeing an excellent Richard III given by the Malachites at the Rose Theatre, Bankside.


Beginning with 'Before the Make-Over' on 6 August, tuning into the echoes of Tudor and Plantagenet London, we go on to consider Shakespeare the Londoner, Henry VIII and the Supremacy, and finish with the City on the Jacobethan stage. Please take a peek at my schedule:
http://charnowalks.co.uk/charnowalks-tour-dates/



With the fortieth anniversary outing of the Great British Beer Festival coming up soon, I'm offering my 'Booze and the Borough' tour on 8 and 11 August at 11:00 and 12 August at 2:30. This tour seeks to give a depth to the appreciation of alcohol through exploring the rich relationship between the Borough and brewing, hospitality, and the wine trade. I'm afraid there's no drink taken on the tour, but we do pass some very good pubs for reference purposes!

Again, please see the schedule for details: http://charnowalks.co.uk/charnowalks-tour-dates/


The nearly three weeks since the last blog have been dominated by Horace Rumpole, barrister at law and Old Bailey hack, created by John Mortimer QC. 'Rumpole and the Legal Life', my latest tour, will follow Rumpole's experiences as a barrister and will feature readings from some of the many stories. As the focus is on Rumpole himself, the tour takes in some of Legal London but not all. That's for another time, probably next year!

I will be offering the usual reduced-price preview of the tour on 19 August, with all places at £5 a head. You can't book for this on-line, but an e-mail to me at charnowalks-bgn@yahoo.co.uk will reserve you a place.


September sees the return of Totally Thames, the month-long celebration of London's river, and again I'll be offering two river-based tours. 'River to Riches' is the tour I developed with my friend and colleague Vivien Schrager-Powell, which sees how the Thames became the City's artery for trade. My 'Tidemarks from the Pool' follows on downriver to Shadwell to see how our maritime trade infrastructure developed, as well as considering the experiences of the merchant seaman ashore. You can find details here:
http://totallythames.org/event/river-to-riches
http://totallythames.org/event/tidemarks-from-the-pool


Preparations are underway for October's Footprints of London Lit Fest 2017 (this is 2016's promo image), with my friend and fellow City guide Jill Finch at the helm. Details to emerge soon, but the above Rumpole tour looks likely to be included. There is a colossal choice of tours to come, and hopefully we will be offering a season ticket deal again. This ticket gives unlimited access to Lit Fest tours - so far the record is twenty-eight tours on one season ticket!

Well, that brings you up to date with the currents carrying the Good Ship Charnowalks into August with an eye on September and October! I shall get a less loaded blog entry to you in a fortnight's time, with a steadier focus which will include the new run of the Walkie Talkie guiding course!

Hoping to see you on the streets soon!

Love,

Dave Charnowalks

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Phew! Two months have passed since the last blog, and they've been full of stuff, but now we're back in business. Huge apologies for the gap - I know you've missed me!

First, let me point out that I'm halfway through my London in Peril tours for July, and my first London on the Page tour this month is 'Much Ado About Trading', coming up on Saturday. All Charnowalks details can be found on the schedule: http://charnowalks.co.uk/charnowalks-tour-dates/

So, what have I been up to? Mainly finishing off exam hall supervising at UCL, and then catching up with things I couldn't do because of that.

The Walkie Talkie Part Three course has been a big undertaking, but now that it's run its ten weeks I can look back at a great deal achieved by everyone.


Most importantly, the learners did very well to grapple with the more hands-on approach of this course, and took me (one stop each) on a tour from Mile End to Bow Road Underground Stations. This was the second task of the course, to give learners experience of rudimentary risk assessment and positioning. We were under the minimum number limit, but as Parts One and Two didn't run last autumn we were allowed to go ahead.

We now offer a total of twenty weeks' worth of tuition in Tower Hamlets, which gives novice guides an introduction to the discipline of guiding, yet is low-level enough that experienced guides can get to grips with the East End without being made to relearn stuff they know already. Enrolment is live for 2017-18, and details can be found here: http://www.ideastore.co.uk/course/results?q=walkie+talkie


Footprints of London have been developing some tours which we can offer as Footprints tours, rather than as ones by individuals, and I've been overseeing the 'LDN like a Local' tour. It's an East End tour which looks at trends and fads in London street life which originate from or are represented in the East End. The spine of the tour is Brick Lane, from Whitechapel to Bethnal Green via Spitalfields. The suite of three are being offered to some groups later in the summer, so this will show how marketable they are.

I've also had two items appear on the Footprints blog. Henry VIII's Crisis of Supremacy looks at the crux year of 1538 during his establishment of himself as the Supreme Head of the English Church. The Queen and the Green considers the Queen Adelaide's Dispensary, the first hospital in Bethnal Green established because of cholera. Links here:
http://footprintsoflondon.com/2017/06/henry-viiis-crisis-of-supremacy/
http://footprintsoflondon.com/2017/06/the-queen-and-the-green/


I managed to get a couple of private groups. My good friend Gillian Woods arranged for me to take her Mum and Stepdad's University of the Third Age group on my 'Booze and the Borough' tour, exploring the connections between historic Southwark and drink. Also German tutor Ingrid Schneider-Lietke booked me to take some of her Business English students on 'The Unquiet City', nearly two thousand years of unrest in the City of London.


Though I promised myself I'd devote this year to the East End, I've decided to bow to my own internal prompting to develop a Rumpole tour. This will be another of my literary tours with readings, so look out for 'Rumpole and the Legal Life' in August. After this I'm returning to Whitechapel - details to follow.

There have been meetings, there are more to come; there are a number of things to come, but they can wait for the next time. I should be alright for the next blog post in a fortnight, and the following fortnights. Once again, apologies for the delay - normal service is being resumed. Thanks for your patience.

Love,

Dave Charnowalks
(Action photo 2016 - outside the Market Porter, Borough Market, by Malcolm Johnston)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Yes, I'm aware that it's been a month since the last blog. As I mentioned in the last entry, the exam period at UCL has come upon us and I've been working very long days in the special needs venues. Still, I've been squeezing in a few things, beginning with 'Reaching into the Abyss', my tour exploring Victorian philanthropy in Whitechapel and Spitalfields.



The usual reduced-price preview happened on 29 April, and it makes for an interesting contrast to 'The Battle for Bethnal Green', an older tour which happens to the north of Whitechapel. The following day I had a small but appreciative audience for 'Behind the Magic Curtain', my exploration of the contribution Theatreland has made to performance in Britain.

Thanks to the good offices of my friend Conti Moll, who teaches at a local school, I was able again to take the two Year Two classes from the Gatehouse School on a Great Fire of London tour in May.



They are lovely kids, and being just six and seven they have no problem asking questions and discussing stuff. The questions they were asking showed definitely that they were thinking of the subject, and both classes were particularly impressed to know that Samuel Pepys brought his Admiralty papers and his Diary to Bethnal Green to prevent them being destroyed. (Gatehouse is a Bethnal Green school, you see.)

Big news is that Walkie Talkie Part Three got underway at last - after all that waiting and agonising, Tower Hamlets agreed to let the course go ahead with only eight, and then another person enrolled. So, with a dedicated complement of nine we're sailing into unexplored waters which will lead to the group getting out on the streets at last.


So far we've learned about Old Ford and Bow, the focal area for the group's tasks, we've considered risk assessment and liability, we've taken in architecture (specifically Decorated Gothic and Georgian), and yesterday evening's session considered the museums of Tower Hamlets. Next Thursday gives the group the chance to do their first task: a four-minute presentation each based on a hypothetical tour with four potential stops. They don't do the tour as a tour; they just report back on their hypothetical plans.

That'll have to be all for now. Apologies if this seems a bit haphazard, but I've forced myself to put fingers to keyboard to give you the salient points and remind you that this blog is still active!

Anyway, I'm going to close now because I need to get to bed at my earliest to be ready for tomorrow's onslaught - the last day of the working week!

Goodnight one and all!

Love,

Dave Charnowalks

Action photos (2017) by Alan Tucker (Whitechapel Baths frontage) and Conti Moll (Leadenhall Market)

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

I'm sure you've been wondering where my fortnightly blog entry has been this week - well, here we are at last!

The pressure is mounting to get as much done as I can before the exam period starts at UCL next Thursday - I supervise exam halls there. As such, I'm working flat out on my new Whitechapel tour, immersing myself in the Victorian initiatives that sought to engage with the problems brought by the development of London.

Stanford's Map of Central London 1897

The main man is Samuel Barnett, described as 'a shy and modest man, who looked older than his years'. Hmm - reminds me of someone ...

Anyway, this tour will be given its reduced-price preview on Saturday 29 April, and if you fancy it we're starting outside Aldgate Station (just appearing bottom centre of the map) at 2:30. It's a mere £5 a head, but do contact me on charnowalks-bgn@yahoo.co.uk to reserve your place.

We've still got two weekends of 'Page and Stage' tours to go, and this coming weekend it's a belter. Two tours, both featuring readings. Saturday is 'Bethnal Green in So Many Words', exploring my home turf through the words of a variety of authors from Arthur Morrison to Monica Ali. Sunday sees 'Much Ado About Trading', which features readings from Shakespeare, Dekker, Middleton and others. to show how they brought the City to the stage.


I put up an item to LinkedIn recently, considering the positive benefits of site-specific readings. You can find it here - and you don't have to be registered on LinkedIn to read it:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/word-streets-david-charnick

We round off with a celebration of Theatreland - 'Behind the Magic Curtain' takes a good look at what the West End has contributed to performance in this country.


To give you a taster, you might want to take a look at my Footprints of London blog item about Peter Daubeny's pioneering work bringing World Theatre to the London stage:
http://footprintsoflondon.com/2017/01/all-the-worlds-a-stage

Next up, in the Merry Month of May, Charnowalks brings you Crime and the Law, a series of tours exploring the darker side of the East End and the City.


I'll give you more details about them in the next blog entry, but you can always take a peek at my schedule:
http://charnowalks.co.uk/charnowalks-tour-dates
In fact, why not join my mailing list and get all the hot news as it happens?

That's all until the next blog entry, by which time I'll be a year older - I'm fifty-three on the 24th!

See you on the streets soon.

Love,

Dave Charnowalks

Photos of me reading from 'King Dido' and 'Martin Chuzzlewit' by Alan Tucker and Anna Tomlinson; photo of the Agatha Christie memorial by Anna Tomlinson; photo of the site of the Bull and Mouth, St Martin's le Grand by Geoff Kaye.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

I've done it again - another late blog entry! But not without cause - it's all been in the interests of work.

The project that has been dominating the last week or two has been a tour of the King's Cross regeneration, at the heart of the new Knowledge Quarter. The good people at the Oxford International Educational Group commissioned Footprints of London to provide a tour for school groups. The students are interested in business and regeneration, so we're giving them a tour around King's Cross.

The Proposed Knowledge Quarter

The tour is adapted from that given by my fellow Footprinter Rob Smith, and it explores many aspects of regeneration. We did two shifts yesterday - morning and afternoon - and there are two more tomorrow, so I'll fill you in on the next blog entry.

Talking of tour development, my friend and guiding colleague Alan Tucker (who took the photos for 'The Dark Side of East London') had a tryout for his new tour two evenings ago. 'The Social and Industrial History of Hackney Wick' does exactly that - it brings you the inside story of a major industrial area in East London which provided many innovations, including petrol and dry cleaning, as well as considering the impact on the local community.

Alan on Hackney Wick in 2015

Having created two new tours in the City, I'm now going back to the East End, as I had proposed to do earlier this year. I did mean to create a Whitechapel tour, but as is the way of such things the route snapped in the middle and curled up. It's become a tour from Aldgate to Bishopsgate via Whitechapel, and takes in a number of instances of Victorian philanthropy.

Women's Entrance -
Providence Row Shelter

It would be easy to do a general philanthropy tour - and indeed what will now be a Whitechapel and Mile End tour will do something similar - but I've decided to focus purely on Victorian philanthropy. This will give focus, and also explore issues which beset the East End in its earliest development.

Talking of the East End, this is the last call for 'Walkie Talkie: An Introduction to Guiding in Tower Hamlets'. It's scheduled to start on Wednesday 26 April. So far we're a bit short on numbers, which means that it may not go ahead. This would be a great shame, because the course will give its learners not only an insight into the story of the borough, but also the chance to experience guiding first-hand on the streets of Bow and Old Ford.

So, if you're intending to dip your toe into the magical world of guiding, you need to enrol quickly!

The Arms of LB Tower Hamlets

Enrolment details are here: http://www.ideastore.co.uk/course/view/C2535

You can find the course outline as a .pdf here:
http://www.ideastore.co.uk/assets/documents/Course%20Outlines%20Health/Walkie%20Talkie%20Pt%203.pdf

This Sunday sees the second of the Charnowalks 'Page and Stage Sundays'. 'A Dickens of a City' is a tour with readings, allowing you to experience how the London of Charles Dickens was changing from the Georgian to the Victorian periods.

Frontispiece from Little Dorrit 1857

Booking and other details are available here:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-dickens-of-a-city-tickets-32988255761

There are no Charnowalks at the Easter weekend, but on the following weekend there'll be not one but two tours with readings. More details will be on the next blog, but you can get more information from my schedule, including May's 'Crime and the Law Sundays':
http://charnowalks.co.uk/charnowalks-tour-dates

On the subject of writing, you might want to take a look at two posts I put up to LinkedIn on the subject of guiding. One considers the usefulness of guided tours for language experience, the other the benefits of tours featuring site-specific readings:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/language-streets-david-charnick
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/word-streets-david-charnick

Well, I think I've inflicted more than enough on you this fortnight. I will aim to be considerably more prompt in a fortnight's time!

Oh, by the way: have you subscribed to this blog yet? Why not? It takes just a moment ...

See you on the streets!

Love,

Dave Charnowalks

Photo of Alan Tucker by Andrew Parnell, and of the Providence Row Shelter by Fay Bennett, both from 2015.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Another slightly tardy Charnoblog, but that's because I've been getting educational recently. Prof Brendan Hogan of New York University was good enough to engage me a second time to give his undergraduates a tour of medieval London. We tuned in to the echoes of Plantagenet and Tudor London which resonate in today's City. Sometimes it's just where something was, but there's much of the medieval in today's City.


Then on Saturday and Monday I took a group of Italian students to explore two significant aspects of Victorian London. On Saturday we got Dickensian in the oldest parts of London: the Borough and the Cornhill area of the City. On Monday evening we hit the Ripper trail, not just hearing about the infamous murders, but also considering their social context, and how the press kept the atmosphere of fear simmering in the popular mind. That's a big 'thank you' to Graziella Elia by the way, whose students I guided last year, for engaging me.

Guiding has an important part to play in education. I've been privileged to guide primary and secondary school groups, as well as higher education groups. There is much to be said for getting learners of whatever age onto the streets to understand that history is not about dates and details, but about people and what they did, and how that relates to what we do. But then, I've written about this elsewhere:
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-york-medieval-times-david-charnick


It's the last of my Bethnal Green Sundays this coming Sunday. Yes, I know it's Mother's Day - so why not bring Mum on a celebration of Bethnal Green through the words of a variety of authors, with readings from works dating from 1896 to 2003? It's not a bad tour at all, if I do say so myself, and we finish with no less a person than George Orwell, hearing why he ended up in the cells of the local police station.

If I've whetted your appetite, you can book via this link:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bethnal-green-in-so-many-words-tickets-31968304058

Next month will be 'Page and Stage' Sundays, with two tours featuring readings exploring the London of Dickens and how City trade was used as material by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and two theatrical tours, getting to know Shakespeare the Londoner and discovering what Theatreland has done for performance in Britain.


You can get an idea of what 'Much Ado About Trading' is all about in my Footprints of London blog item here: http://footprintsoflondon.com/2016/04/all-that-glisters-is-not-gold
You can also get the background to one of the stops on 'Behind the Magic Curtain' in another Footprints item here: http://footprintsoflondon.com/2017/01/all-the-worlds-a-stage

Well, that's a fairly full round-up of what's been and what's to be. Of course you can get the fuller story from the schedule on my website, including another chance this Saturday to experience nearly 2,000 years' worth of unrest in the City: http://charnowalks.co.uk/charnowalks-tour-dates

Please consider following this blog: that way you won't need to be prompted by a social network post to come and take a look! Also it'll show me how much you appreciate my humble efforts to bring you the stories behind this multi-layered city which I'm pleased to call my hometown.

Hoping to see you on the streets soon.

Love,

Dave Charnowalks

Charnopicture of Playhouse Yard courtesy of Fay Bennett (2016)

Monday, 6 March 2017

Dear Charnowalkers,

Welcome back to my Charnoblog. We finished City Sundays at the end of February with a comfy half-dozen coming with me on 'Engineering Change' to explore how engineering shaped the City of London. Tunnels, bridges and telecommunications have all played their part in the development of the City. You can read more about the tour here: http://charnowalks.co.uk/engineering-change.

The underside of London Bridge
 
March sees my Bethnal Green Sundays tours underway. A small but thoroughly engaged audience attended this week's tour, 'The Battle for Bethnal Green'. The tour looks at what happened when the parish was absorbed by the growing metropolis of London. Once a semi-rural hamlet, the nineteenth century brought a number of issues through the new urban dimension. These issues were addressed at first by philanthropists, until the authorities took up the reins. You can get more details about the tour itself here: http://charnowalks.co.uk/the-battle-for-bethnal-green.

Bethnal Green Road 1794

Next week we move from heroes to villains with 'The Dark Side of the Green', a tour which uncovers crimes and wrongdoings from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Once again we meet outside St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch High Street and cross the boundary into Bethnal Green. The tour forms the nucleus of my study 'The Dark Side of East London', which was published last September by Pen and Sword. You can book for the tour via this link:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-dark-side-of-the-green-tickets-31968712279


Incidentally, the book is available at a competitive price from the Wordery via this link!
https://wordery.com/the-dark-side-of-east-london-david-charnick-9781473856448

Talking of books and literary matters, Saturday 11 March sees the reduced-price preview of my new Charles Dickens tour. It's a tour with readings which give an insight into how Dickens used the City for material. As I explained last time, the reduced-price preview is an idea I've taken from the theatre. As the first professional outing of a new tour isn't usually as slick as subsequent outings, this is why I charge only £5 a head, flat fee.


Why not join my mailing list to get the benefit of previews and other specials, as well as the tours I do through Footprints of London? Just e-mail me on charnowalks-bgn@yahoo.co.uk to be added. If you want to come on the Dickens preview, e-mail me to let me know and meet us outside Borough Underground Station for a 2:30 start.

It's just over a month to go before Walkie Talkie, the adult education introduction to guiding, is scheduled to start. We begin on 26 April for a ten-week course which gives you a thorough grounding in the discipline of tour guiding. It's an ideal way to prepare for a qualification course, as well as teaching you valuable research and presentation skills.


The course outline can be found through this link:
http://www.ideastore.co.uk/assets/documents/Course%20Outlines%20Health/Walkie%20Talkie%20Pt%203.pdf

Enrolment details can be found through this link:
http://www.ideastore.co.uk/course/view/C2535

Well, I think I've detained you long enough. There are other plans in the offing, but I'll update you when more concrete information becomes available. Until then, look after yourselves; I hope to see you on the streets soon.

Love,

Dave Charnowalks

Charnopicture courtesy of Hazel Screen (London Bridge 2014)