On a damp and dark January evening, a good group of us braved taking to our comfy chairs and Zoom screens for a walk. But we needn’t have worried as the Master introduced our expert guide, John Steel, and we were away into what turned out to be a lovely warm and sunny day in the City of London.
We started our virtual walk at the Museum of London (yes it’s still there on its original site pending planned move to Smithfield) and made our way along pedways (a new word for me; aka elevated walkways) old and new through the Cripplegate Ward and surroundings much of which was rebuilt after the Blitz. We eventually ended up with the magnificent views from the normally free to enter Sky Garden at 120 Fenchurch Street.
Even as regulars in the City we learned a huge amount from John and the photos taken by Marketor Martin Ashton. Sights, facts, anecdotes, churches and Livery halls were too numerous to mention but highlights included:
· Roman Barbicans (fortified outposts) that gave their name to the 1960s and 70s development
· Peaceful green spaces at the Salters Garden, off Fore Street, and St John Zachary on Gresham Street
· Possibly the oldest tree in the City, appropriately in Wood Street, an inspiration for William Wordsworth’s lyric poem “Poor Susan”
· St Lawrence Jewry (the further along Gresham Street you walk the straighter the spire gets, thanks to Sir Christopher Wren)
After all that walking, we still had energy for some challenging questions to John including what price did Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri pay for the remains of St Mary Aldermanbury from which they rebuilt the church in their grounds in USA in 1966 (the answer seems most likely buried in the archives).
The Master expressed our thanks to John Steel for introducing us to so many hidden gems and for being such an excellent guide. All in all an enjoyable and fascinating evening, after which members enjoyed catching up over a glass of wine!