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Jack the Ripper
An evening in Soho
Covent Garden - its actors and authors
Shakespeare and Dickens' London - a pub walk
Government and Democracy
Royal London
Albert Memorial
Bloomsbury - the intellectual centre of London


Jack the Ripper

In the Autumn of 1888 terror stalked the streets of London's East End. The horribly mutilated bodies of local prostitutes bore witness to this series of ghastly crimes which were never solved. We will visit the murder sites and hear the evidence which has baffled the experts for over a hundred years. (Your guide will put this in the context of the social environment of the East End in that year). (Many of the details were considered too gruesome for the newspapers of the day, but as more has been revealed over the ensuing century, your guide will be able to bring you up to date with all the most recently revealed evidence.) Among the suspects were a royal Duke, a society doctor, and an eminent lawyer - and most recently of all, well- founded suspicions have rested on an American quack. Draw your own conclusions!  


An evening in Soho

Come off the beaten track and visit the "off-beat" in Soho, in London's bohemian "red-light" district. This former haunt of the aristocracy became a melting pot for European emigres and writers, prostitutes and barrow boys, rock bands and raconteurs. Recent years have seen many changes in Soho, with the world's oldest profession being replaced by the world's newest, the media. Come and see where Karl Marx lived, Paul McCartney works and where Nelson spent his last night before the Battle of Trafalgar.


Covent Garden - its actors and authors

The setting: the colourful market where high and lowlife mingle.
Among the cast: respectable writers such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen; raffish actors like Garrick and Kean; a much loved ghost and the blind man who knew 3,000 villains by the sound of their voices.
The backdrops: the Actors' Church; London's oldest working theatre; the stage door where a jealous actor murdered his rival and the hidden restaurant where the stars of today relax after the show.


Shakespeare and Dickens' London - a pub walk

Southwark, on the south bank of the river Thames, the Soho of 16th century London. Here, in a rich and seedy mix, were found bishops, brothels, bards and bars.

Discover the original site of the Globe theatre and see the reconstruction of the Globe nearby. Visit the church of Shakespeare where his brother is buried and where John Harvard was baptised. See the remains of the Bishop of Winchester's palace and the infamous Clink prison. Hear about the 19th century slums which infested this part of London and the Marshalsea , where Dickens' father was imprisoned for debt.

We stop for a drink at the pub which was Shakespeare's local, and finish the tour at London's only surviving galleried coaching inn.


Parliament and Big BenThe Houses of Parliament
and Big Ben

Government and Democracy

The "Cradle of all Free Parliaments" is at Westminster where we trace the origins of British democracy from its medieval beginnings in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey to the present day. The Royal Palace of Whitehall gave its name to the wide road now lined with grand ministry buildings. Whitehall Palace Banqueting House survives and we see where Charles 1 went to his execution. Passing Downing Street, where Britain's Prime Ministers have lived at No. 10 for 220 years, we end our walk at Winston Churchill's Cabinet War rooms where Europe's history was made in the dark days of the blitz.

 


Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace

Royal London

Our Royal walk takes us through St James Park with its eye-catching views to the famous Mall where we can see the elegant Regency-style Carlton House Terrace. We pass the statue of King George VI and view Marlborough House, originally the London home of the ancestors of Winston Churchill and later the residence of many heirs to the throne and widowed Queens. Then comes Tudor St James's Palace, built for King Henry VIII in the 1530s and now the London home of the Prince of Wales. Next door we see Clarence House, the former home of the late Queen Mother and now the London residence of Prince Charles and his second wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Ahead of us now is Buckingham Palace, official residence of Her Majesty the Queen and scene of some much royal pageantry and we will finish the tour by the Queen's Gallery and Royal Mews.


Bloomsbury - the intellectual centre of London

This small village just outside the City of London becomes the fashionable new residential quarter on the Duke of Bedford's estate in the 1670s and 80s with titled people moving in, followed in the next century by lawyers and other professional classes and the British Museum.

The mid and late eighteenth century periods saw the building of a series of elegant terraces and squares of Georgian houses. In the early nineteenth the capital at last had a university in the form of University College in Gower Street and now a large part of the area is occupied by University institutions.

The scene was thus set for Bloomsbury to become a great intellectual centre and is now particularly remembered for the early twentieth century characters such as Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Duncan Bell, John Maynard Keynes ... who "lived in squares and slept in triangles".

 
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