22 Jan

23 World Traders and friends gathered in St Mary Woolnoth on a cold morning on 21st January looking forward to a City walk on the subject of Lombard Street and the birth of banking. We were not expecting to start with a quote from Woody Allen and an explanation of how we were actually sitting in a Tube station!

This set the tone for our walk with City guide Ian McDowell who took us to previously undiscovered alleyways and buildings from every era. We were shown locations that inspired scenes in A Christmas Carol, Shakespeare’s lodgings and Samuel Pepys’ house.

Ian explained that Lombard Street was named after the goldsmiths of Lombardy who were invited to London by King Edward 1. The legendary and mysterious Knights Templar were the first bankers. Along the way, we learnt the origins of the Lloyds register and the insurance industry. If every day’s a school day, this felt like a whole term at university! We were all ready for a hearty lunch in the Crutched Friar at the end of it.

Many thanks to Lars Andersen for arranging the walk. We are looking forward to the next one in April which will trace the route of the Great Fire of London.

Mary Hardy