I've listed the guided walks that I lead below, starting with my own researched walks followed by the standard walks that I can provide as a member of the Clerkenwell & islington Guides Association. All walks are approximately 2 hours, unless noted otherwise.
I'd be more than happy to provide these walks to groups, please contact me to arrange the details.
There are photos from most of the walks on my Facebook page www.Facebook.com/guidetribe
CLERKENWELL, ISLINGTON AND THE CITY OF LONDON
Highbury - Grand houses and grander stadiums
See Islington's largest open space - Highbury Fields. Appreciate the grandeur of the beautiful Georgian houses and relive the romance of 4 Weddings & a Funeral. Then, learn the inside story on Arsenal's Highbury Stadium and end by comparing it with their new home at the Emirates (+ a visit to Gillespie Park, Islington's main Nature Reserve).
The Arsenal story – Highbury to the Emirates Stadium
View the beautiful Georgian architecture in historical Highbury, an affluent district of North London since Mediaeval times and Arsenal’s home for over 90 years. Visit the well preserved old ground, now a chic housing estate. Walk the same streets as Colin Firth in Fever Pitch and relive the climax of the film - perhaps, the most dramatic football match of all time. The tour ends at their new home where we find out about the buildings that were replaced by the Stadium, take in the iconic sights of the Emirates and review the statues of the club’s heroes including Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.
Up the Cally'
An amazingly varied walk on and around the Caledonian Road featuring visual treats like murals and clock towers amongst shops, estates, schools and a famous prison. We’ll learn about the Cally’s history covering political meetings, fashionable markets, arms caches, espionage and much more. Coming right up to date we’ll find out why it's such a popular place to live.
Treachery and Spectacle
A description that could be applied to Shakespeare's plays or the life of his patron - Queen Elizabeth I. Our knowledge of day to day existence in Elizabethan England is sporadic but it is rich in detail in 2 areas – theatre and royalty. On this tour we learn all about the upstart playwright's time in Clerkenwell, now a chic London neighbourhood but then 'a haunt of thieves and whores'. Included is a stop at the site of a theatre where his plays were performed and a pub he would have frequented. We also find out how dangerous life was for Good Queen Bess and inspect 3 outstanding historical buildings that she visited. Join us to discover the parishes, plays and plots of Elizabethan Clerkenwell.
Fables, fashion and feasts - Caledonian Market to Camden Passage
200 years in 2 hours. A memorable and cultural tour de force, reviewing historic sites like the Caledonian Market, Pentonville Prison and the Islington Workhouse, visiting the chic squares of Barnsbury and checking out, metaphorically, the wide-ranging dining and entertainment currently to be had on and close to Upper Street.
Great Balls of Fire
Sunday 2 September 1666, a stone’s throw from London Bridge: It started with just a few sparks at the King’s bakers. Soon, the exotic smell of roasting spices filled the air. Then the bells rang out to confirm the inhabitant’s worst fears – FIRE! For 4 days, blown by a strong wind, the conflagration continued unabated. Temperatures of more than 1000° meant everything was consumed in the inferno. Join Philip to follow the path of destruction caused by the Great Fire of London.
London's Secret Village
The ancient hidden village of Clerkenwell clings to a hillside barely a stone’s throw away from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Its very name – the clerks’ or students’ spring – is redolent of antiquity. And this tiny hamlet serves up brimming draughts from the deep well of its history. Mystery plays and plague pits; riots and rookeries; bodysnatching and bombing; jousting and jesters; bloodshed and burnings; monks, murder, and medicine: Clerkenwell has a tale or two to tell.Tracing its narrow alleyways and ancient squares we take in here a Norman church; there a magnificent Tudor gateway; round that corner venerable Charterhouse, London’s only surviving mediaeval monastic complex; let alone Hercule Poirot’s London flat and the trendiest house in town.
London- a Heart of Stone - Temple to Smithfields
A feast of stunning art and architecture. Whilst appreciating some amazing public sculpture and a number of exquisite buildings, we’ll be learning about sites in the Fleet Street, St. Paul’s and Smithfield areas instrumental to the development of London as a commercial colossus. These include a Mediaeval Church, an 800-year-old market and an old trade entrance to London, rescued from the obscurity of a garden in Hertfordshire. Among the trimmings: a picturesque astrological clock with the face of the greatest ever Englishman, a memorial to ‘Everyday Heroes’ and the only statue of Henry VIII in London
London- a Heart of Stone - Blackfriars to Guildhall
The Roman poet Juvenal coined the phrase ‘mens sana incorpore sano ‘(a sound mind and a healthy body). Both of these will be enriched by this walk where we review and consider the purpose of some of the public sculpture and buildings in the Western half of the City of London. We include two stops in Watling Street, built 100 years before by his fellow countryman – Julius Caesar. Two thousand years later, we’ll appreciate these picturesque landmarks and discuss some of the (formerly) Walled City’s history from Roman to the present day. We’ll also walk some of the very streets important to Shakespeare and his players, learn how Blackfriars got its name, follow part of the path of the Great Fire and put my mind to rest about whether I really am a Cockney. There’s even a carving which gives you Cameron, Thatcher and Johnson all in one go. What more could you possibly want?
Radical Islington - Conflict, riot & murder
Plots to overthrow the Government, the first killing of a British policeman. This is the enthralling story of how events and individuals in Islington have shaped both British and world politics.
Islington between the Wars
Take a walk along Upper Street and its immediate area to experience the hidden history of the era between the wars. There was no NHS, where did the poor go for treatment and where could they get free milk? What were the shops like? What was showing at the cinemas? Where could you place a bet when betting was illegal? What is the “hole in the wall" and who used it? Philip Nelkon and Janet Foster follow the trail of Islington between the wars, this authentic walk is based on the recollections of Janet's mother who lived in the area throughout the period.
Sculpture Walk- Broadgate
Broadgate is a large business estate in the City of London, built on the site of the old Broad Street Station. It has many impressive sculptures by some of the world's greatest artists including a 5 ton polished bronze, nude Venus and a wonderful Japanese inspired water feature.
Islington's Sporting Heritage Part 1 - Moorgate Station to Moorfields Hospital (1 hour)
Learn about the earliest forms of sporting endeavour, visit the sites of the original venues and find out more about just how rural the area immediately outside the City was in the past. Find out which sport 14th century men were legally obliged to be proficient at, how long Londoners have been going to the Gym and who thought of the idea + which early sporting event caused a riot involving 10,000 people?
Islington's Sporting Heritage Part 2 - Islington Green to Pentonville (1 hour)
Now it's Arsenal and .....er, Arsenal but Islington has a rich sporting heritage. Find out more about sport through the ages. The walk covers the area around fashionable Islington Green, Upper Street and Pentonville. Find out which unlikely local sportsman used to regularly appear on TV before the Cup Final. Learn about the colourful 19th century characters that competed in 6 day walking events and discover where the first tennis rackets were manufactured.
Finsbury and the Great War: Riots, Rationing and the Rifles
Who talked the lads into joining up? Why were there riots in Essex Road in May 1915? Who led the conscientious objectors and went on to found CND?Why did the Finsbury Rifles fight in Gaza and where is their memorial? Join me on this WW1 home-front walk to discuss the hidden history of Finsbury.
Westminster - Espionage, War and the Secret Corridors of Power
Enter the captivating world of 20th century spying, examine sinister buildings and scenes of covert meetings and find out more about the Cambridge 5, led by master spy – Kim Philby, who worked to destroy democracy in post-war Britain. You’ll see many of the elite clubs where these double agents mixed with the most powerful men in the country including one where the real-life James Bond quaffed those dry martinis.
Shaken and stirred, we move on to discuss a tragedy of the Iraq conflict and two lesser-known royal palaces, before proceeding to Whitehall to review some stark reminders of war. We finish at Downing Street, discovering just how close the IRA came to destroying the Government.
London 'Monopoly' Walking Tour
Play the world’s best-selling board game outdoors, whilst walking on 14 of the very roads featured in the UK version. We’ll find out who invented Monopoly and how the London properties were chosen. We’ll see the mistakes the inventors made. We’ll learn more about Central London, visit some destination shopping locations and test your knowledge of the game and of London trivia.(Might take as much as 2.5 hours as passes through some very busy tourist sites).
Seven noses of Soho - Treasure Hunt
Soho residents have always been a singular lot. In 1997 artist Rick Buckley smelt out a lot of new CCTV cameras in the area and he wasn’t happy. Big Brother was clearly nosing around. To protest, Rick decided to place casts of his own proboscis on various structures in Soho right under the noses of the liberty threatening CCTV Cameras. There is an urban myth that if you can locate all seven of the noses then great wealth will come your way.
Some of the noses have disappeared over the years so I can only promise a small prize for the winners of the Hunt. You will get a map, photos of the noses and hints as to their location. There’ll be a couple of refreshment stops along the way including the iconic Bar Italia in Frith Street.
Keep your ears pinned back, your eyes peeled and your noses clean and join the Hunt.
19c East End: Jews, Anarchists & Workers' Rights
The East End of the 1880’s and 90’s was a melting pot of races and religion. Poverty and worker exploitation was rife. The saviours were the radical politicians – often new emigrants from Europe – who exercised great influence amongst the locals, slowly changing, for the better, the way workers were treated. Philip tells the story of the stolyers (capenters), shnayders (tailors), and shusters (shoemakers) on the streets of Whitechapel. We visit the sites which hosted incendiary publications, industrial strife and the birth of revolutionary trade unions as well as soup kitchens, housing charities and shelters for the homeless.
A saunter around the London suburb of Southgate, ‘originally a gate through which royal parties rode on horseback for their day’s sport in the most beautiful of forests. All around the area was one of great natural beauty with undulating hills and green fertile valleys. Brooks and streams ran their pleasant courses through farmer’s fields and leafy woodland ’.
Learn about the connection with Hampden Park, Old Trafford & Anfield and the famous brewery created by two prominent local families. Stroll around the large village green with its Georgian houses and historic cricket ground. Inspect the attractive local church and its Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott.