26 Jul 2019

About Jane's London Walks

I offer alternative guided tours that encourage people to be a little bit more aware of our surroundings – a sort of physical version of Jane's London (my blog/website).

My walks are friendly strolls about the things that inspire and intrigue me, not just lists of facts, figures and dates, although I do pride myself on my research and cross-referencing. I am especially interested in social and local history and how our streets have changed over the centuries.

For my easy-to-see schedule please click here
To find out more about the individual walks and how to book just click here
Please also see my Facebook and Twitter feeds Like me! Follow me!  
And/or subscribe for occasional updates here.
Feedback always welcome: TripAdvisor

Investigate the backstreets

"If you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists."
Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

15 Jul 2019

How many steps do we take?

Health guidelines suggest we walk 10,000 steps a day.
In the past few years friends have been showing me their steps-counting wristband devices boasting that they have hit the target by mid-morning. Hmmm. I am rather dubious about these claims and the figure of 10,000 steps. Especially when I know all they've done is walk to the tube/bus and then do the same at the other end. I wonder if they are just their arms around a lot!
I have always liked walking preferring it wherever possible to public transport as this allows me to explore "off road".
My guided tours average out at just over a mile for every 90 minute walk. But how many steps is that*?
I been doing some calculations of my own. When I am walking on my own I pace it out much faster than when leading a tour. I have counted the actual steps I take to do the round trip from my front door in Holloway to my printer just beyond Highbury and Islington station (just short of 4 miles). I have tested this a few times to make sure I have got it right.
And the results are in – at Jane-speed I take 4,500–5,000 steps depending on the route, getting home again in about hour. So, using the larger figure, let's say 1 mile = 1,250 steps = 15mins. This means for me to achieve 10,000 steps a day I need to walk 8 miles for 2 hrs. Minimum.
As I suspected, it's a tall order. Even for me. If you take smaller steps you will hit the target quicker and take less time to do it.
*Somewhere between 1,250 and 1,750 steps depending on your pace length and the walk route.

24 Jun 2019

Local London Guiding Day – free walking tours

Every year in October four of London's guiding associations get together to offer a range of free one-hour guided walks on a common subject.
In 2019 our theme was Victorian innovation and, despite horrible wet weather on the day, we had a marvellous turn out of attendees. People heard about and were shown evidence of how the second half of the 19th century saw major breakthroughs in so many fields that paved the way for the products and services that today we take for granted.

If you missed out this year do mark it in your diary for next year – it's usually scheduled for the second Saturday in October. More info on the four guiding associations can be found within this link: locallondonguidingday.com

Blimey guv, this leaflet is good – I wonder who created it?!

14 Apr 2019

Discount tour vouchers available

Reduced prices 
Occasionally I do market stalls selling my cards and prints at cheaper than they are in my online shopAnd at these markets I also offer my walking tours at approx 10% off* 

Thanks to everyone who came along to say hello at The Cally Festival on Sunday 23rd June, the Archway Summer Festival on Sun 21st July and the Angel Canal Festival on Sept 1st.

*Vouchers can be bought for cash and are not walk/date-specific. They are valid for one whole year from the date of purchase and can be allocated to specific tours when you are ready. Simple! 

13 Apr 2019

Inspirational Islington

Thanks to those of you who joined me for my walk on Tuesday 9th April –  I think we all had a marvellously inspirational time despite the wet weather.
Here's a pic from the day – thanks to Brian – find the whole set on Facebook here.

Inspirational Islington continues until June 3rd with other events, walks and talks.
I will be offering a revised version of my creative walk from July – please keep checking my schedule

7 Jan 2019

Schedule – diary dates

This is a quick reference guide 
Deco in red Ghostsigns in mauve / free ones in green all others in black
Updated regularly – dates and times may change – please do keep checking in
I try to offer each walk approximately once per month on different days and times.
See here for a full list of tours available some of which might not be listed below.
More in-depth information about each walk and how to book here
If the walk you are looking for isn't listed do get in touch to arrange a date as alternative dates and times can be organised. Groups or private tours also available.

Sun 20 – 2.30pm – Ghostsigns, CovGdn & Soho
Wed 23 – 11am – The Diary of a Nobody† (Upper Holloway)
Wed 23 – 2.30pm – Art Deco Arsenal to FinsburyPark
Mon 24 – 3pm – Art Deco in The City
Sun 27 – 11am – Literary Holloway†
Sun 27 – 3pm – The Diary of a Nobody† (Upper Holloway)
Mon 28 – 11am – Ghostsigns, Lower Holloway
Mon 29 – 11am – Art Deco Spitalfields/Aldgate

Sat 02 – 10.30am – Green and Pleasant Islington
Sun 03 – 10.30am – Wharves & Warehouses – Regent's Canal, Islington
Sun 03 – 2pm – Kings Cross and The Ladykillers
Mon 11 – 10.30am – Ghostsigns, CovGdn & Soho
Mon 11 – 2.30pm – Camden Ghostsigns
Mon 11 – 6.30pm – Art Deco Camden
Sun 17 – 10.30am – Art Deco Arsenal to FinsburyPark
Sun 17 – 2pm – Art Deco Holloway, Nags Head area
Sun 24 – 11am – The Diary of a Nobody (Upper Holloway)
Tue 26 – 10.30am – Kings Cross and The Ladykillers
Sat 30 – 10.30am – Wharves & Warehouses – Regent's Canal, Islington

Thu 05 – 6.30pm – The Diary of a Nobody (Upper Holloway)

Footprints of London Literary Festival – throughout October
Discounts on walking tours for vouchers purchased in person or at my stall – see here for more info
Guided tours to the top of Caledonian Park/Market clocktower are available every SaturdayIslington Guides work to a rota. On this schedule I list only the dates when I will be there myself. Tour groups are capped at 12 people per tour but we have experienced lots of no-shows so it's worth just showing up on the day to fill any spare slots. Please note there are Health and Safety requirements regarding age, ability and suitable clothing/shoes – please be sure to read the info in here.

Some times and dates shown above may be subject to change Please check the Eventbrite listings for further information

Or visit my Facebook page – Follow/Like for news and updates

Please enquire re bespoke walks and commissions

To be informed of new walks, offers etc please subscribe here for updates.

6 Jan 2019


I somehow managed to delete all the lovely comments I had posted on here.
I will have to re-do this at a future date as many comments came to me via email.

Meanwhile, please see my tripAdvisor page where you will also find the full version of this one:

This was a great walk... Now I feel I know the area on my doorstep much better, thanks to Jane. She weaves her own journey of discovery... and her enthusiasm and fascination rubs off on you! 

27 Dec 2018

1930s Art Deco and Modernism

Streamline Moderne
What is Art Deco?
Do you like cantilevered simplicity or Jazz Age geometrics? Do you "ooh" every time you drive past The Hoover Factory? Do you "wow" when you see Senate House? Do you yearn to live in a house with interiors to rival Eltham Palace?
There is not just one design ideal for this period – we’ve all got a different take it beacuse "Art Deco" has become a catch-all term for the period mid20s–pre-WW2; a time of change when architects were keen to move away from the fussy embellishments of the past.
You might be surprised to learn that he term "Art Deco" was not coined until 1968 by Bevis Hillier when he referred to this period in reference to the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts that took place in Paris, 1925. But it is a bit misleading, especially in regard to architecture, as most of the buildings that carry the tag are lacking in decoration – it's all about simplicity of line with a bit of geometric ornamentation here and there. One could argue that the only style that fits the term is the Egyptian temple revival. But it also covers tiled factory fa├žades, temples to industry, Portland stone banks, minimalist shop fronts, ocean liner office blocks and impressive department stores.

Join me on a walking tour to find out more. I have pounded the streets and discovered many unsung gems. These I have collected into a series of "Art Deco era" tours (or should we say, early 20th Century architecture tours?) and I am sure on every walk you will find something that gives you that 'wow' moment.

More Art Deco tours in other areas coming soon – Please see the schedule for more information or subscribe for updates here.

Here's a review on tripAdvisor about my Art Deco Holloway walk:

5 Dec 2018

Christmas events 2018

A big thanks to everyone who came along to the Archway and Whitecross Street Christmas lights switch-on events in December 2018.
Despite the cold weather and gusty winds in both locations, we had a marvellously jolly time with Santa and the Mayor of Islington plus some great live music and entertainment.

2 Dec 2018

Canal boat tours along the Regent's Canal

I am the designated tour guide for Hidden Depths.

Three boats are available for hire – Lapwing takes 14 people and Joan and Freda can accommodate 40. 
Trips start at the foot of Granary Steps, Kings Cross. 
Tours can be organised to go west towards Camden or east through Islington Tunnel to City Road Basin. 
For more details, please visit the Hidden Depths website or talk to Barbara on 07456 084584.

Thanks to everyone who came along on our Save The Swans fund-raising event in September 2018. It was such an enjoyable day. 
We raised approx £1000 to care for birds injured on our waterways.

About me

I have lived in Islington, North London, since 1988. I am intrigued by its vibrant and layered history and, as an avid local historian, I have come to know the area very well.
My guiding style is inclusive, open and friendly – I like to engage with the group I am leading and this leads to a marvellous knowledge exchange.
Every walking tour I offer is designed and thoroughly researched by Yours Truly – in fact, the research never stops with walks getting amended or added to as new information comes to light.
The varied subjects covered in my tours highlight the different facets of my personality and the things I am genuinely interested in such as art and design, sculpture and architecture, pubs, parks, ghostsigns and advertising, all of which I use to tell the social history of an area.
I am forever coming up with new ideas for walking tours – a list of 'works in progress' can be found here. Enquiries and bespoke commissions are always welcome.
And I do venture outside of Islington – please check my listings on Eventbrite.

I hope to see you soon,

Also see my blog Jane's London which is about "the wonderful little details on, around and above London's streets" though it's fair to say that I do have a have a few rants on there too, mainly about what I call the Dubaiification of London.

Jane Amelia Parker
Accredited and insured Clerkenwell and Islington CIGA guide 
Member of Footprints of London.
Feedback always welcome 


All enquiries: jane@janeslondon.com
Please also see TripAdvisor, Facebook and Twitter @janeslondon #janeslondon 

To keep up to date with new walks and relevant info, please subscribe for updates.

1 Dec 2018

The Diary Of A Nobody

This 90-minute tour shows you the inspiration behind the places and characters created by the brothers Grossmiths in their amusing little book
I have read it, ooh, eight times now. And each time I have noticed something new, perhaps in the form of an amusing reference to a nearby place with a clever name-change, or satirical hint at something that was topical or relevant back in the 1880s. The world of 130 years ago really isn't that far removed from today. 
The prep for this walk was extensive but really enjoyable – I spent a lot of time absorbed in old directories and I was often to be found wandering up and down the top half of Holloway Rd like some kind of private detective as I scribbled notes and hunted for the best locations to tie in with the Grossmiths' narrative. But it's all been worth it as I have always had lovely feedback from the people who have joined me on these tours.
So why not join me sometime soon? 
We'll visit places where Mr Pooter and his family and friends might have lived, visited and shopped. Along the way I point out buildings and references whilst reading some relevant amusing passages from the book. It's a delight!! (Even though I do say this myself!)

You don't need to know or have already read the book to enjoy the walk, but I am pretty sure that you will be reading it after the tour!

For literary fans – why not try my Lyrics and Limericks, Fantasy and Fraud walk which takes us through Holloway showcasing the diverse range of poets, playwrights, diarists and lyricists who have lived and worked in the Holloway area.

*This walk is usually available as part of Footprints of London's  yearly LitFest which offers at least one literary-themed walk a day – like a walking book club, taking people out onto the streets of London on guided walks researched, written and led by enthusiastic, experienced, professional guides. You might have seen the marvellous leaflets I designed for 2017!

Overview of my tours by location / subject

Below is an idea of the kind of walks I offer, shown by location and cross-referenced by subject matter. I hope this helps.
My up-coming walks can be found here – if the one you are looking for is not scheduled at the moment please do get in touch.
Also see my "works in progress" – I am always open to new ideas so do get in touch if there is a theme or area/location you think I ought to cover


Angel area / Islington South 
Alternative Clerkenwell (not just the usual stuff!)
Creative Islington – make it, paint it, bake it
Ghostsigns, Upper Street
Ghostsigns, Regent's Canal
Green & Pleasant Islington (Hi+Is to Holloway)
Inns & Taverns of Angel Islington
Look At The Estate We're In (philanthropy and social housing)
Waterways, Wharves & Warehouses (CityRdBasin & Regents Canal)
The Only Way Is Essex Road
Islington North / Holloway, Arsenal, Archway etc
Art Deco/1920-30s Arsenal & Finsbury Park
Art Deco/1920-30s Holloway
Bygone Brands and Businesses (N19)
The Diary Of A Nobody – Mr Pooter's Holloway
Ghostsigns, Holloway (N7)
Green & Pleasant Islington (Hi+Is to Holloway)
The Irish In Islington (Archway, N19)
Literary Holloway – lyrics, limericks, fantasy & fraud
Oxford Street of the North – Holloway's Victorian Heyday (N7)
Pubs & Taverns of Holloway Rd (over 30 locations, in two parts)
Camden & Kings Cross area
Camden Art Deco/1920-30s – Cigarettes & Alcohol
KX & The Ladykillers (film locations comparison)
Ghostsigns, Camden (gin, drugs & shopping)
Ghostsigns, Kentish Town
Ghostsigns, King's Cross
Parks, Pubs and Pianos – Caledonian Park to Kentish Town
Central and East 
Deco in The City – 1920s & 1930s architecture
Covent Garden & Soho ghostsigns – Leather, Limos and Lubrication
Spitalfields & Aldgate Art Deco/1920-30s
Shoreditch & Hoxton Art Deco/1920-30s
The Strand – What a Relief (sculptural/carved highlights)



Art Deco/1920-30s Camden – Cigarettes & Alcohol
Art Deco/1920-30s City/SquareMile
Art Deco/1920-30s Arsenal to Finsbury Park
Art Deco/1920-30s Holloway
Art Deco/1920-30s Spitalfields & Aldgate
Art Deco/1920-30s Shoreditch & Hoxton
What is Art Deco?
Look At The Estate We're In (philanthropy and social housing in Islington)
KX & The Ladykillers (comparison with 1955 film locations)
Holloway's Victorian Heyday – The Oxford Street of the North
What a Relief – Sculptures of The Strand
Arts and Literature
Create it, Paint it, Make it, Bake it – Creative inspiration in Islington
The Diary Of A Nobody – Mr Pooter's Holloway
KX & The Ladykillers (comparison with 1955 film locations)
Literary Holloway – lyrics, limericks, fantasy & fraud
Parks, Pubs and Pianos – Caledonian Park to Kentish Town
What is a ghostsign?
Covent Garden & Soho
Holloway N7
Upper Street / Angel Islington
Kentish Town
King's Cross
Regent's Canal (Islington)
Angel Islington Taverns
Holloway Road (over 30 locations, in two parts)
Parks, Pubs and Pianos – Caledonian Park to Kentish Town
Canals, rivers, nature
Green & Pleasant Islington (Hi+Is to Holloway)
Waterways, Wharves & Warehouses (Regents Canal, Islington)
Boxes, Babies, Beans and Bras (Ghostsigns, Regent's Canal, Islington)
I also do occasional commentary on my friends' canal boat tours.
Alternative Clerkenwell (avoiding the obvious!)
Creative Islington – create it, paint it, make it, bake it
The Irish In Islington (Archway, N19)
KX & The Ladykillers (comparison with 1955 film locations)
The Only Way Is Essex Road

23 Oct 2018

Thanks to everyone who came along on my Hallowe'en ghost-themed walks on Wed 31st October as part of the Islington Council event on Navigator Square.

I got some really great feedback including this tweet from Flora: "Loved loved loved the Files! Thanks for the tour. And a great use of our fab new space at Navigator Square."

22 Apr 2018

It's all in the details

My walking tours are a natural progression of Jane's London – my blog/website where for the past decade I have been writing about my London observations and marrying them with collections of my photos such as this collection of 'white' places in to tie in with the snowy weather we had in March 2018. 

19 Apr 2018

Press coverage

Islington Tribune Great hints on history

Islington Gazette Business of the week

Islington Now People have turned into pigeons


Ghostsigns are the faded advertisements of yesteryear still visible above today's streets mostly in the form of hand-painted letters on brick walls. I think the term can also apply to other types of defunct signage for brands or businesses which no longer exist at that site . These might be visible as names embedded into masonry or forged within metalwork.

On my ghostsign tours you'll hear fascinating stories behind these old forms of advertising such as bogus potions, big brands, small traders and clever marketing.

Info and booking here for walks in Camden, Kentish Town, Covent Garden & Soho, Kings Cross, Holloway, Archway and Angel/Upper Street.
Other areas coming soon.

See here for more about ghostsigns.

Can you help me to decipher this one in Islington?

17 Apr 2018

Coming soon

I am brimming with ideas for more walks.
I just need more time!

Listed below are some tasters of some of my works-in-progress, yet to be completed.
Please also see the News and Events section
  • A-Zs by location/area – overviews – 26 subjects in 2 hours max! 
  • Art Deco – more!!! – Highgate, Covent Garden Clerkenwell, Holborn, Euston, Central London/Soho and not-so-obvious Bloomsbury...
  • Parks and Recreation (Islington North)
  • Pop Goes The Weasel – up or down the City Road 
  • More ghostsign tours – Shoreditch, Fitzrovia, Marylebone... 
  • Locations, Locations, Locations / Making Movies
  • Frogs and Sheep – St Mary's Islington to The City
  • Parallel Paths (more info to follow)
  • Fabulous Fonts and Friendly Faces – the printing and clock-making industries of Clerkenwell 
  • Islington On The Edge (walking the border of the borough, though in sections) 
  • A Slice of Islington
  • It's Hip to Be Square – Bloomsbury/Fitzrovia/Barnsbury squares etc 
  • Bury me in Islington – inc Canonbury, Highbury and Barnsbury 
  • Hackney Brook – Holloway to Arsenal 
  • New River Walk – Islington to Tottenham (4hr walk either way) 
  • Little Red Bus – a series of five walking tours following the route of the 153 bus (Finsbury Park to Finsbury Square) with a few deviations to see some interesting and not so well-known places along the way. The route will be split in route into 90-minute walking sections.
If you are interested in any of the above and can organise a group of people* please do get in touch for more info as most of the above can swiftly pulled together and arranged at a mutually convenient date.

If you have ideas of your own, perhaps a particular subject or theme that you are interested in that would make a good walking tour, then please do get in touch. Here are a few ideas – women, artists, animals, shops, churches, children, music, health...

I also provide guided commentary (when required) on Hidden Depths canalboat tours which moor at Granary Steps, Kings Cross. 
Many tours go through the 200-year Islington Tunnel – a wonderful experience through a marvellous feat of clever engineering. 
Boat trips can be booked for parties and events. Please contact Hidden Depths for more information 

*For pre-designed tours the booking fee is £60 which includes places for the first 6 people. Extra tickets are £10 each up to a max of 20 people per group. However, please note that new/bespoke walks may incur an additional charge to cover any extra research and development – please enquire for more info.