27 Jul 2020

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, and I pride myself on my research and cross-referencing. I am especially interested in social and local history and how the ever-changing tastes in architectural design have altered our streets over the centuries. 

An overview of all my walks by location/theme can be found here
 
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Please take two minutes to complete this anonymous short survey about how you feel about guided walks during Covid-19 
 
"The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot" (Werner Herzog)

1 Jul 2020

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,
Jane

Click here for customer reviews and feedback
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 
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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.

11 Mar 2020

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.
Overviews of individual walks can be found here.
Also see my "works in progress" – I am always open to new ideas so do contact me if there is a theme or area/location you think I ought to cover
Customer reviews and feedback
Vouchers available here 
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LOCATION / AREA

Angel area / Islington South 
Alternative Clerkenwell (not just the usual stuff!)
ArtDeco/1930s – Angel / Clerkenwell / StLukes / MtPleasant
Creative Islington – make it, paint it, bake it
Ghostsigns, Upper Street
Ghostsigns, Regent's Canal
Green & Pleasant Islington (High+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
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North Islington / Crouch End / Holloway, Arsenal, Archway etc
Archway Overview
ArtDeco/1930s – Arsenal / Holloway
Bygone Brands and Businesses (N19)
Caledonian Park/Mkt and Clocktower
Crouch End architectural details – Look up, look down
The Diary Of A Nobody – Mr Pooter's Holloway
The Elephants Esacape – Oh What a Circus!
Finsbury Park (Two walks: park/streets)
Ghostsigns, Holloway (N7)
Green & Pleasant Islington (Hi+Is to Holloway)
Irish In Islington (Archway and N19)
Islington's Pleasure Gardens
Literary Holloway – lyrics, limericks, fantasy & fraud
The New River (Three walks: see Rivers section below)
Oxford Street of the North – Holloway's Victorian Heyday (N7)
Pubs & Taverns of Holloway Rd (over 30 locations, in two parts)
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Camden & Kings Cross area
Camden ArtDeco/1930s (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
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Central and East 
ArtDeco/1930s walks – various locations – see subjects/themes below
Covent Garden Christmas lights
Covent Garden & Soho ghostsigns – Leather, Limos and Lubrication
The French in Soho
Spitalfields & Aldgate Art Deco/1920-30s
Shoreditch & Hoxton Art Deco/1920-30s
The Strand – What a Relief (sculptural/carved highlights)
Walk Like An Egyptian Part 1 – Embankment to Oxford Circus
Walk Like An Egyptian Part 2 – Oxford Circus to Bloomsbury

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SUBJECTS / THEMES

Architecture
What is Art Deco?
ArtDeco/1930s Arsenal to Finsbury Park
ArtDeco/1930s Bloomsbury's hidden gems
ArtDeco/1930s Camden
ArtDeco/1930s City/SquareMile
ArtDeco/1930s/Bauhaus Clerkenwell-StLukes
ArtDeco/1930s Fitzrovia
ArtDeco/1930s Holloway
ArtDeco/1930s Holborn-Aldwych
ArtDeco/1930s HattonGdn-Smithfield
ArtDeco/1930s KX-StPancras
ArtDeco/1930s Piccadilly-StJames's-LeicesterSq
ArtDeco/1930s Soho & The Movies
ArtDeco/1930s Spitalfields & Aldgate
ArtDeco/1930s Shoreditch & Hoxton
ArtDeco/1930s TottCtRd-Strand
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
Walk Like An Egyptian – Embankment to Oxford Circus
Walk Like An Egyptian – Oxford Circus to Bloomsbury
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Arts and Literature
Create it, Paint it, Make it, Bake it – Creative inspiration in Islington
The Diary Of A Nobody – Mr Pooter's Holloway
The French In Soho
KX & The Ladykillers (comparison with 1955 film locations)
Literary Holloway – lyrics, limericks, fantasy & fraud
Parks, Pubs and Pianos – Caledonian Park to Kentish Town
Walk Like An Egyptian – Embankment to Oxford Circus
Walk Like An Egyptian – Oxford Circus to Bloomsbury
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Ghostsigns 
What is a ghostsign?
Camden
Covent Garden & Soho
Holloway N7
Upper Street / Angel Islington
Kentish Town
King's Cross
Regent's Canal (Islington)
Southwark
Shoreditch
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Pubs
Angel Islington Taverns
Holloway Road (over 30 locations, in two parts)
Parks, Pubs and Pianos – Caledonian Park to Kentish Town
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Rivers, nature etc
Caledonian Park/Mkt and Clocktower
Finsbury Park – (2 walks: park/streets)
Green & Pleasant Islington (High+Is to Holloway)
The New River (FinsPk, Haringey, WoodberryDown)
The New River (ClissoldPk to Islington)
The New River (Islington to SadlersWells)
Islington's Pleasure Gardens
Waterways, Wharves & Warehouses (Regents Canal, Islington)
Boxes, Babies, Beans and Bras (Ghostsigns, Regent's Canal, Islington)
I also provide occasional commentary on my friends' canal boat tours.
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Miscellaneous/Seasonal
Archway/N19 Overview (Upper Holloway)
Covent Garden Christmas lights
Creative Islington – create it, paint it, make it, bake it
Irish In Islington (Archway and N19)
KX & The Ladykillers (comparison with 1955 film locations)
The Only Way Is Essex Road
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19 Feb 2020

Health and Safety during Covid-19

If you've been on one of my walking tours you will know I begin with a disclaimer explaining that, as we will be walking on public pavements and crossing public roads, your safety is your own responsibility but should anything out of the ordinary happen I am insured as a qualified guide; basically, to take care when crossing the roads etc, and look out for yourself as you would do on any normal day.
During Covid-19 restrictions these stipulations are further enhanced. It is even more important that you take responsibility for your own safety during these troubled times, especially as my insurance cover will not be valid.

GROUP SIZES – Group size for my tours are, at the moment, limited to five people during the 'Rule of Six' guidelines initialted by the goverment in September 2020.
MASKS ETC – Please note that I do not wear a mask when leading my tours. I ensure that I position myself at a comfortable distance from the group. It is entirely up to you whether you wear a mask yourself when we are outdoors. However, it is important that you bring personal protection with you – face coverings, wipes/gels, gloves or similar. On some of my tours we venture inside and/or into private spaces and on these occasions masks etc for all will be most definitely be required.
To clarify – during Covid-19 restrictions you join my walking tours at your own discretion. 
 
I would really like to find out how you feel about attending any guided walks at the moment – I have devised this anonymous short survey and would really appreciate your feedback and any other comments you wish to make.

8 Jan 2020

Feedback

Also see my TripAdvisor page and my Instagram feed where you'll find this review about my All Change Kings Cross/StPancras Deco/1930s tour
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"Enjoyable and informative... I look forward to attending further walks in the future" 

"This was a great walk [ArtDecoHolloway]... 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!"


"[Jane] points out all the things anyone would just walk by without noticing, and she is a lovely personality. She does walks on all different topics."

"I was really impressed... I learned so much about an area that I was born in many years ago [Arsenal/FinsburyPk]... the history behind the football club and its impact on the local area was very interesting... it's easy to tell how passionate Jane is about her varied subjects... I can thoroughly recommend Jane's tours."

"Another fascinating walk... around the Angel and the Regent's Canal area. Jane's walks are a fantastic insight into little known areas of London and she is a great gatekeeper of hidden history... she showed us a part of London we had never explored before. Ghost signs, lost light industries and the echoes of time past. Wonderful."

"Jane makes us look up and see what is around us. The ghost signs are a perfect example of this and the history of these old advertisements, painted or built onto the sides of buildings... an interesting insight into our social history. Our first walk with Jane was looking at Art Deco buildings in the City of London and we are looking forward to another ghost signs walk."

"[The Ladykillers] walk was both very enjoyable and informative. We were able to visit the locations used to make the film and compare with [stills from] the original film.... We departed wanting to again see the film to relive the walk. For those that saw [the film] all those years ago, the walk is a must."

"Enjoyed all the 6 Art Deco walks I have done so far and opened my eyes to the 30s style of architecture which more varied than I thought. Looking forward to doing more walks in the future."

"I have been on one of Jane's walks and her ascent of the Caledonian Market clock-tower. Both excellent in content and very entertaining."



22 Sep 2019

Cards and prints of my photos

I am a keep photographer. Many of the places featured on my guided tours are available as printed images in the form of cards and prints through Etsy, my online sales channel.
Most of are of locations in north London close to where I live. A selection is shown below which also shows a couple of my "Stripes" montages. These are collections of signage in a specific area such as Camden, Crouch End, Tufnell Park and more.
Larger prints are available as squares, A3 or A2 sizes, and all are sized and trimmed to fit standard frames available at Ikea and High Street shops.


North London cross section – many more available
I have many more cards images available than are actually shown online so do contact me direct if you can't find what you are looking for.

Coming soon – a guided tour in Crouch End based on my cards of that area – archtectural details, local history, Art Deco, doorway mosiacs and more.

Shop online though Etsy 
Or buy in person – just email/call/text me to place a order (cash, PayPal or bank transfer).
A good selection of cards can be found at these shops:
– The Only Place For Pictures, Upper Street (opposite the Union Chapel),
– Treehouse gift shop, Crouch End
– Oxfam bookshops in Upper Street and Crouch End 

16 Jul 2019

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.
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. When I am walking on my own I pace it out much faster than when leading a tour. The round trip from my front door in Holloway to my printer just beyond Highbury and Islington station is ust short of 4 miles.
At Jane-speed this journey is 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.
Phew!
*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 last year do mark it in your diary. This year we are looking at how we could offer virtual tours. More info can be found within this link: locallondonguidingday.com

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

14 May 2019

Vouchers

Vouchers are great a present! 
Available as singles, pairs, groups or private tours.
Find them here
Vaild for one year from date of purchase, redeemable when you are ready.

Vouchers 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 creativity-themed walk on Tuesday 9th April 2019 –  I think we all had a marvellously inspirational time despite the wet weather.
Here's a pic from the day – thanks to my mate Brian – find the whole set of pics on Facebook here.



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 mid20s to pre-WW2; a time of change when architects were keen to move away from the fussy embellishments and drapery 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 the term 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 description is the Egyptian temple revival. However, Art Deco 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. Here's my hand-drawn map of some of my routes:


Also, not shown on my map above, Dec/1930s tours in City, Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Holloway, Arsenal and Camden. Others almost ready: Angel, Finsbury, St Lukes, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, and more. Please see the schedule for more information or subscribe for updates here.

Customer reviews and feedback
"Enjoyed all the 6 Art deco walks I have done so far and opened my eyes to the 30s style of architecture which more varied than I thought. Looking forward to doing more walks in the future.:

And here's a review from my tripAdvisor page about my Art Deco Holloway walk:
My Holloway tour includes the marvellous neon sign shown right. This night-time image and a day time shot of the building are available as cards and prints at various sizes. Lot more images of Deco buildings available in print form inc the Carreras factory at Mornington Crescent and The Carlton Cinema in Essex Rd. See my online shop here. Or contact me to make a purchase in person.

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.

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.

Customer reviews and feedback

*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!

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

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, Regents Canal, 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?

Customer reviews and feedback

17 Apr 2018

Coming soon

See here for an overview of all pre-planned tours by type and location

I have many more ideas for new themes and ideas for walking tours and some of the works-in-progress are listed below. 
  • Thames Path and mudlarking – see more here
  • Sights for Sore Eyes – all things optical (CharingX area)
  • 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.
  • Please also see the News and Events section
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.

Customer reviews and feedback

During the summer months I 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.

11 Jan 2018

Every year in October we host our Literary Festivaltaking people out of the pages and onto the streets of London, sort of like a walking-talking bookclub.
There's something for everyone, from Sherlock Holmes to Samuel Pepys via Charles Dickens and the Bloomsbury Set.
For my part, in 2018 I offered my Limericks and Limericks, Fantasy and Fraud and my Diary Of A Nobody (Mr Pooter's Holloway) and these will be available again in 2019, indeed they are still available outside October so do check my listings.
There is usually a fantastic money-saving voucher offer in the form of a Season Ticket. so do look out for that because, quite frankly, it's a bargain and you get to attend as many of the LitFest walks as you like – hell, why not go on them all...?!