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 one of my ArtDeco/1930s walking tours 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:


The map above only shows the central zone – I also offer ArtDeco/1930s tours in City, Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Holloway, Arsenal and Camden. Others almost ready: Angel, Finsbury, St Lukes, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, and more. Please see here 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. I've got a lot more images of ArtDeco 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!