27 Jul 2020

About Jane's London Walks

I offer alternative guided tours that encourage people to be more aware of our surroundings, as it's all out there hiding in plain sight. My friendly strolls and online presentations are about things that inspire and intrigue me, not just lists of facts, figures and dates. I am especially interested in social and local history and how the ever-changing tastes in architectural design have altered our streets. These I often write about on my other website here.

Overviews of all my tours and talks by location/theme can be found here 
 
 
 
For the latest updates, please see the News and Events section
Customer reviews on TripAdvisor – and more feedback here 
 
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Also see my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds –
@janeslondon

Contact: jane@janeslondon.com / +44(0)7941 475003 / @janeslondon
If you email me and do not get a response within 24hrs, please text/call me
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"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, indeed many of my walks and talks centre around this area.
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 tour I offer is designed and thoroughly researched by Yours Truly – in fact, the research never stops, being amended or added to as new information comes to light.
The varied subjects I cover 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.
Enquiries, suggestions and bespoke commissions are always welcome.
I hope to see you soon,
Jane
 
My walks and talks by theme/location

Click here for customer reviews and feedback


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.

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(!).

11 Mar 2020

Tours by location / subject

Below is an idea of the kind of tours I offer, shown by location and cross-referenced by subject matter. These are walking tours unless specified otherwise.


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
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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 Escape – Oh What a Circus! (Gospel Oak)
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
ArtDeco/1930s - various walking tours and online presentations
What is Art Deco? 
– descriptions of my Art Deco tours here
The Carreras Story – Black Cat building/Greater London Hse (Camden)
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
Daniel Defoe (online/virtual via Zoom)
The Diary Of A Nobody – Mr Pooter's Holloway
The French In Soho
Giles Gilbert Scott (online/virtual via Zoom)
KX & The Ladykillers (comparison with 1955 film locations)
Literary Holloway – lyrics, limericks, fantasy & fraud
Parks, Pubs and Pianos – Caledonian Park to Kentish Town
Oscar Wilde (virtual via Zoom - walk tbc)
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/Market and Clocktower
Finsbury Park – (2 walks: park/streets)
Green & Pleasant Islington (High+Is to Holloway)
London For Lovers – all things lovely – views, art, history etc
The New River (Finsbury Park, Haringey, Woodberry Down)
The New River (Clissold Park to Islington)
The New River (Islington to Sadlers Wells)
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)
London For Lovers (online/virtual via Zoom) – lovely things, views, art, etc
Markets – London's historic street markets
The Only Way Is Essex Road
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19 Feb 2020

Health and Safety during Covid-19

Walking tours - group sizes, masks etc (Updated May 2021)
If you've already 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, 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. The Government has receently relaxed some restrictions as regards social gatherings which means we can now meet in larger groups. Using this as a guideline, I am limiting my walking tours to 20 attendees so that people can easily spread out to follow the social distancing guidelines and yet still hear me. Couples, families and bubbles of 6 people will be encouraged to bunch together. 
Please note that I do not wear a mask when leading my tours. Instead, I ensure that I position myself at a comfortatble 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 as during some of my tours we look at some interiors and on these occasions masks etc will be most definitely be required for all of us.
To clarify – during Covid-19 restrictions you join my walking tours at your own discretion. 

4 Feb 2020

Feedback

Also see my TripAdvisor page where you'll find much more including this review about my All Change Kings Cross/StPancras Deco/1930s tour
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"I really like your presentation skills Jane. Your conversational style is so refreshing compared to other talks I have attended which are more academic in their delivery. You have introduced me to many new things in an engaging way. I will keep returning for more [online tours via Zoom]"
 
"We would like to thank you for your amazing historical tour [Piccadilly Deco]. Your knowledge and the amazing buildings held our attention despite the rain. Well done for your hard work... thank you again for your excellent research."
 
"Wow, I can't believe how many of these you are still managing to come up with [Art Deco presentations via Zoom] and I am loving them all... very much enjoying these talks" 

[The Carreras Story, online presentation] "Quite an eye opener and you were a perfect guide. Clear and nicely paced dialogue which was a pleasure to listen to" / "Your presentation was fascinating – the hour flew by!" / "A really great talk, Jane – so much information"
 
"[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."

"Today was the first time I have heard one of your presentations and I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. The number of buildings you covered [on Alternative Art Deco Delights virtual tour] was just right and the information you provided, together with the photographs was excellent."

"I was really impressed... I learned so much about an area that I was born in many years ago [Arsenal/FinsburyPk Deco walk]... 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."

 "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!" 

"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."
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9 Jan 2020

Overviews – A-Z by title/subject/area

All walks are designed to last just under 2 hrs (minimum 90 mins)

My schedule of upcoming tours and talks is here 

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The Angel's Ancient Taverns – Showmen, Strength and Speed
Angel tube station to St Mary's Church, Upper Street
 

Back in 1630, this area, though still mostly rural, already boasted eleven public houses and, just like today, each establishment offered its own special kind of entertainment designed to tempt the passing punter or weary traveller. The Angel Inn was one of three transport hubs within a quarter of a mile, all catering to people travelling North or East. As tastes changed so did the public houses. We'll visit coaching inns, beer houses and theatre pubs. You'll hear about speedy coaches, specialist foods, spectacular feats of strength and daredevils on horseback. Plus stories about boxing champions, unfeasibly old men, death and destruction, board games, and famous visitors to the area including well-known writers and royalty. Please note, this is not a pub crawl. There'll be plenty of time for that after the walk (!!)

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ART DECO – please click here for separate list

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Art Nouveau – Soho/CoventGarden walks and an online presentation coming soon

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Battersea Power stationsee Sir Giles Gilbert Scott

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The Carreras Story 
The Black Cat Factory AKA Greater London House, Mornington Crescent

An online talk via Zoom. Find out more about this Egyptian-style temple to manufacturing in Camden. Hear about the family who started the tobacco company and how technology and clever marketing helped to create one of the country's most profitable companies. Also see Art Deco Camden

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Christmas – see Xmas

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Creative Islington – An Inspirational Tour 
St Mary's church, Upper Street to Angel tube station

As this sign around the old Angel tube station on City Road says, "Do what you love; love what you do". Would you like to try your hand at something new? Is there a budding actor, dancer or comedian in there? Have you always fancied joining an art class but just didn't know where to go? Would you like to make your own clothes, forge your own door number or carve your own memorial? Then this is the tour for you! We'll take inspiration from shops, businesses and schools in this area of Islington and I will do my best to point you in the right direction re courses and further information. Click here for more

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Crouch End – It's All In The details 
Circular from Hornsey Town Hall, Crouch End Broadway 

This tour links some of the buildings I have photographed for my cards and prints. The Town Hall and its adjacent buildings are decorated with marvellous Art Deco reliefs by Arthur Ayres whose work features on some of my Art Deco walks in central London. We'll also look at the library, a couple of pubs, some ghostsigns of various kinds and, of course, the marvellous clocktower. I'll also talk about other well-known places that are close by such as The Dairy at Stroud Green and Ally Pally. Cards will be available on the day at a cheaper than advertised price.

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Daniel Defoe (The Fortunes and Misfortunes of)
Thinker, trader, hoaxer, spy 

An online presentation about this amazingly prolific man who effectively created the first novel, Robinson Crusoe. Daniel's colourful life is a fascinating story in itself – a tale of politics and intrigue, disguises and debtors' prisons. I'd love to be able to go back in time and meet him! 

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The Diary Of A Nobody – Mr Pooter's Holloway
Upper Holloway to Nag's Head shopping centre  

The Diary of a Nobody is a much-loved amusing work of fiction created in 1888 by the artistic brothers George and Weedon Grossmith. It originally appeared as a column in Punch magazine and, due to its popularity, the brothers added more chapters and a book was published in 1892. It is still in print today and has often been adapted as plays and TV productions.
This guided tour brings fiction to life to take you around the late-Victorian middle-class Upper Holloway that Mr Charles Pooter and co, had they been real people, might have experienced. Many buildings and hints of that era are still with us today. We'll look at real sites and, by comparing the street directories of that area, we'll get an idea where the Grossmiths' amusing characters might have purchased some of the items mentioned in the book. We'll consider where the Pooters could have lived, how they travelled, and what they ate and drank (and they seemed to drink quite a lot!).
Ang the way, I'll read some short excerpts from the book to highlight Charles's silly arguments with his wife, his maid, the ironmonger, the butter man, the shirt dresser and the stationer. I hope you'll also laugh (or groan and roll your eyes) at some of his clunky puns – I'll be adding a few more pun-tastic observations of my own.
You don't need to have already read the book to enjoy this tour, but I am sure you'll want to afterwards. 

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The Elephants Escape – Oh What a Circus!
Gospel Oak to Archway/TufnellPark 

In 1884 the circus came to Kentish Town. Many of the animals arrived by train and, during the unloading process, Ida and Palm, two of the four performing elephants, got spooked, crashed through a gate, and fled through the nearby streets, causing mayhem along the way. Their journey ended in N19 where the pair became trapped in a basement space between two residential houses. Luckily, although there were some extraneous casualties along the way, the beasts were not harmed and, after being rescued, they made their way to the circus site and the show went on as planned, no doubt better-attended than previously expected. 

This walking tour follows the elephants' rampage to see the kind of obstacles the pair would have experienced along the way (note that we will be walking at a leisurely speed, not actually rampaging or running!). We'll trace their route from start to finish, along narrow little alleys and cobbled lanes and up and down the hilly streets of Dartmouth Park. I'll read from newspaper clippings of the period and you'll hear about one of the biggest circuses in the world run by the real "Greatest Showman" whose company was a favourite of Queen Victoria. You'll also see some lovely Georgian houses including a row of small cottages saved from demolition. And, as per my other walks, I will be pointing out other things of interest along the way including ghostsigns and film locations – it all helps to make this a really evocative tour.

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Egypt in London (two tours)
Embankment to Oxford Circus / Oxford Circus to Bloomsbury 

See Deco walks here
 

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The Only Way Is Essex Road
Islington Green to Ball's Pond 

This often overlooked thoroughfare is littered with wonderful historical gems, interesting buildings and intriguing stories. We walk the full length of the road (just over one mile) stopping to look at historical sites to see how this important road has evolved over the centuries. You'll see a variety of interesting buildings and developments including theatrical and social housing, a swimming pool, a cloned church and an Egyptian Temple. And you'll hear about an innovative market, an early care home, various alcoholic beverages, Georgian lino and amazing Tudor houses. It's a marvellous mixed bag... but then so is Islington.

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Estates and Social Housing
See Look at the Estate We're In

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Finsbury Park – A Park For the People
A walk in the park, London N4 

A Victorian park in Harringey created for the people of Finsbury and Islington when this was part of Hornsey. We'll take a stroll inside the park to see how bandstands, roller skating, chrysanthemums and model villages have, over time, gradually been replaced to suit more modern interests. Find out about the plans that never happened, putting greens, swans and another rampaging elephant. Also learn how the park was utilised during WWII and marvel at the  changes made in more recent years to rectify the neglect and vandalism of the late C20th. Starts near Finsbury Park station and ends near Manor House station.

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Finsbury Park – Victoria, Variety and Vaudeville
Circular route from the station around the general area  

This area of north London was, until the 1850s, just a rural area between The City and Hertfordshire. First, the railways came, followed swiftly by the Piccadilly tube line and then the park itself, which gave the area its name. within about ten years the area had became very popular, inundated with day-trippers as well as people wanting to move to this suburban district of clean air and open spaces with excellent transport connections. Developers quickly covered the previously empty fields with rows of respectable houses and its main roads became lined with businesses and places of entertainment. Find out more on a walk around the backstreets and through a bit of the park to look at the hints of history still visible today.

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French Soho – Cocteau, Bertaux, Huguenot
Soho Square to Leicester Square 

Find out how this famous village in central London has evolved through the past few centuries. Especially learn about its French community which was once much larger than today's Chinatown. Hear about specialist restaurants, café society, cakes, tarts, education and religion.

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GHOSTSIGNS 
Definition: ghosted or faded signs of the past; faded, ghosted signs of products or companies that are no longer relevant today or to that specific site. More here.

A couple of online talks about some of London's best ghostsigns are in the making – to be announced soon

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Ghostsigns of Camden – Gin, Drugs and Shopping
Mornington Crescent to The Roundhouse via Camden Lock

Potions and lotions, beds and breakfast, bacon, booze and bars. Hear about Camden's varied history. Find out about bygone businesses, huge warehouses and manufactories, breweries, bakers, artists, chemists and furnishers. Plus breakfast cereals, pain relief and chewing gum. We'll mostly be in the back streets so please don't fret about shoppers and tourists in the busy main drag – there'll only be one short section when we might have to negotiate crowds and I havent' lost anyone yet.

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Ghostsigns of Covent Garden and Soho  

Today, London's centre, is mostly lined with shops, bars and retail outlets selling fashion, coffee, food and gadgets. But look above pavement level to see hints of how these streets were once home to a diverse range of tradesmen and services. Follow a trail of old signage – some hand-painted directly onto walls, others embedded within masonry or printed onto metal – to discover the bygone businesses behind the advertisements. Find out about hospitality and hardware, horses and horsepower. Learn about printers, artists, woodworkers, billiard halls and, perhaps, the only kind of businesses that still thrive in this area today; cafés, restaurants and hotels.

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Ghostsigns of Holloway   

There is a very good cross-section of ghostsigns the London N7 area, especially along the A1 Holloway Road, the connecting route between the City of London and The North – a perfect conduit for advertisements and signage. Starting near Holloway Odeon we'll make our way south as we look at old signs advertising medicinal products, estate agents, musical instruments, the military, cafés and hairdressing. A couple of handpainted-signs that made it through WWII have been over-painted since I first design and researched this tour in 2018, but I will still include them as the stories behind the products are so good. There's every chance the lettering will reappear as the modern paint peels away over time.

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Ghostsigns of Islington – Make Walking a Pleasure
Angel Islington and Upper Street area 

This area is rich in old signage. And there's a good reason for that, which I will explain on the tour. We start near Islington Town Hall by one of the sites that first got me interested in this hand-painted form of advertising. And from there we take a meandering route to end up a stone's throw from Angel tube station. Along the way I'll point out some marvellously preserved old signage and you'll hear about a diverse range of products and businesses, such as children's toys, rubber mats, bogus potions and men's hats. I will also point out other types of 'ghostsigns' along the way. The title of this walk is taken from one of the signs you'll see on the tour.

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Ghostsigns of Kentish Town – Wireworks to Waterworks
Camden Town station to Kentish Town station (or vice-versa)

We think of Kentish Town as being the area around the station but it actually started further south around St Pancras Old Church, just north of the main railway station of the same name. The village became a town and spread in a linear fashion northwards towards Highgate. This walk starts and finishes adjacent to two different railway lines. You'll see how transport connections via rail, and via canal, played a big part in altering the façades of previously well-to-do Georgian streets. front gardens became shops, back gardens became manufactories. Kentish Town Road and the streets around it has many hints of history hiding in plain view and the stories behind the old signs are intriguing 

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Ghostsigns of King's Cross – Scales, Weights and Weighing Machines
Circular from Kings Cross Station 

When the railways arrived and changed this area in the mid-1850s businesses were quick to move in and seize the opportunity, whether as a good location for manufacture and distribution or as great location to open a restaurant or a shop. By the 1880s, the brickwork on many façades was barely visible beneath a patchwork of hand-painted lettering advertising all kinds of products including breakfast foods, motor oil, newspapers and precision instruments. We'll look at some marvellous examples that still cling to the walls – innovative inventions, Italian dining rooms, alcohol, boot polish and bogus potions. You'll also hear about the signmakers themselves and we'll look at the HQ of one of the companies who managed the lucrative advertising sites. 

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Ghostsigns of Regent's Canal, Islington – Boxes, Babies, Beans and Bras
Angel tube station to The Rosemary Branch, Southgate Road 

A wander along, above and around the Regents Canal in Islington following a trail of old painted signs that hint at the area's rich history. We'll be looking mostly at hand-painted-onto-walls signs including the one shown here. See and hear about a diverse range of companies and products from ladies' underwear and fancy boxes to metals and ceramics.

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Ghostsigns of Upper Holloway – Bygone Brands & Businesses
Archway tube to Upper Holloway station, N19

This pic gives you an idea how the top section of Holloway Road would have looked 100 years ago with posters and signage covering shop fronts and any available spare surface. Join me to see the hints of old businesses in the area following a trail of hand-painted signs, embedded lettering and personalised metal. Most of these signs were probably the work of one local tradesman who would have also produced hanging signs and promotional material. Starts near Archway tube and ends near Upper Holloway Station.

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Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (The Power of)
Architect of Battersea and Bankside power stations 

An online presentation about this prolific man born into an architectural dynasty. A couple of his buildings have today achieved 'iconic' status. Hear about his busy life and works as we look at his ubiquitous utilitarian architectural style plus a few other flights of fancy.   

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Green and Pleasant Islington – Open Spaces, Hidden Places
Highbury and Islington station to Holloway station

This is a tour about flora and fauna. Islington is one of the least green London boroughs by percentage size but the open spaces it does have are as diverse as its residents, offering outdoor facilities and hidden corners for all ages and all tastes. We start near the newly-revamped Highbury Corner junction (which is always cause for debate!) and then we make our way via a circuitous route up to Holloway Road tube station keeping as much as possible off the beaten track and away from the busy streets. We visit open fields, an award-winning park, a hidden garden, a community playground, farms old and new, a churchyard, sports fields and shady meadows. Plus renovation, reclamation, rejuvenation and recycling. Oh, and dogs too. I'll also point out some other tenuously-linked green things which should raise a smile. I have heard locals who have lived in the area for decades exclaim, "ooh... I had no idea this was here... how lovely; it's so peaceful".

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Green and Pleasant 
Newington Green to Highbury Fields via Ball's Pond 

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HOLLOWAY
Also see: Irish / Green & Pleasant / The Diary of a Nobody / Inns &Taverns /
Art Deco Holloway here

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Holloway – The Oxford Street Of The North
Holloway Tube station and the Nag's Head shopping area
 

This is a time-travelling guided walk taking us back to a time when Holloway was a highly respectable neighbourhood for the upwardly-mobile middle classes – an era when the Nag’s Head shopping area of Holloway was affectionately known as “The Oxford Street Of The North” due to its excellent shopping and top-end entertainment.
We'll look back at an era of beautiful shop fronts with impressive displays behind curved glass, framed in polished brass with hand-painted signage. A time of courteous live-in staff wearing immaculate white starched aprons or uniforms. Hear about palatial variety theatres, gin palaces, trams and innovative transport, tea rooms, banqueting halls and the early labyrinthine department stores. Learn how one department store grew to be one of the best-known shops in North London, succeeding into the twentieth century. And find out about its Victorian rival just around the corner which was an even larger, more impressive and, possibly, more successful store at that time.
Today's Holloway may not be as visually impressive as it was back then but it’s still got plenty to offer – hints of the historical gems are hiding in plain view just waiting to be appreciated. 

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The Inns & Taverns of Holloway Road (two tours)
Archway to Nags Head / Nags Head to Highbury&Islington

This covers at least 30 pubs down the A1 through Holloway.  Available as two tours with a one-hour break between them. Each tour starts and ends at or near a pub and includes a brief 10-15 minute drink stop at another interesting pub along the route. Hear about the road's early history as a cattle route to Smithfield Market, find out about the delicacies available when Samuel Pepys visited, and learn why some streets were so-named. Depending on which section you attend, you'll hear about stuffed cats, cock-fighting, gin palaces, live music, local ales, billiards, politics, writers and mail coaches.

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The Irish In Islington 
Circular from Archway tube station, N19

Irish people have been settling in north London for centuries – a community that has become one of the largest this side of the Irish Sea. On this tour we look at how the Archway area has evolved thanks to these vibrant and hard-working people. We'll look at the places they have lived, worked, prayed, relaxed and partied, and along the way we'll consider poverty, politics, navvies and nurses.  

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ISLINGTON 
Please see title names: Angel / Creative / Irish / Green & Pleasant
/ Art Deco here

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Kings Cross & The Ladykillers
Locations and comparisons with the 1955 Ealing comedy

Join me to compare locations used in the marvellous 1955 film with what we see today. Using film stills, maps and archive images I'll show you how things have changed (or not) in this area. We'll visit Mrs Wilberforce's street and other locations used in the film by tracing the movie's heist route past B&Bs and big brands up to the railway line used near the end of the film. We might even see a steam train if we are lucky. And we probably be singing music from the film along the way. The 21st century brought big changes to the area and the district has evolved from a filthy industrial transport hub populated by the working classes into a hub for the arts, entertainment and technology. Station canopies have been added, roads have been re-aligned, the gas holders have been dismantled and partially re-sited, shopping and art have replaced coal and grain. However, some of the nearby streets and junctions still look almost the same as in the movie and you'll be surprised how much is still discernible. 

Customer feedback: "Enjoyable and informative. We were able to visit the locations used to make the film and compare with lots of illustrations... We departed wanting to again see the original Ladykillers film to relive the walk"

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Literary Holloway Poets, Playwrights and Punks
Holloway tube station to Upper Holloway station

A mixed bag showcasing the diverse range of writers and innovative creatives who have lived and worked in the Holloway area across the centuries. Hear about publishers, inventors, artists, authors, musicians, diarists and thieves. Plus drinking, dancing, sufferance and nonsense.  

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London Is Lovely – 
Central London and more

Alternative ideas for romantic spots, beautiful views, hidden spaces. This basically follows a route from The City to The West End with other ideas for places further afield such as Finchley and Denmark Hill. It's a celebration of lovely and lovely things following a trail of art, views, theatre, history, lovers lanes, sweet things, gardens and memorials. At the moment this is an online talk but I will soon be offering the City and Thames section as a physical walking tour

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Look at The Estate We're In Philanthropy and Social Housing
Essex Road to Highbury & Islington via UpperSt and Barnsbury

This architectural appreciation tour showcases different kinds of well-designed social housing in the London Borough of Islington. We'll visit an interesting cross-section of estates, from impressive Victorian, Edwardian and pre-WWII dwellings made possible by innovative benefactors and independent housing trusts to early London County Council developments and LBI's more recent schemes. Hear about the philanthropists and architects who helped to bring about a sense of pride and well-being. 

Customer feedback: "Jane's passion for the subject matter shone through with humour, perception, humanity and fascinating detail. I'd highly recommend this walk"

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Look at The Estate We're In Westminster  – coming soon

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Look at The Estate We're In CovGdn/Soho – coming soon 

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London Street Markets 
Central London – an online talk/presentation  

This talk covers over eleven miles in just under an hour, visiting markets in Islington, Camden Clerkenwell, Soho, Waterloo and Westminster. It's devised as a tour, with suggestions of interesting routes between the sites, though you couldn't possibly do this lot in one day in the real world! Find out the history of these costermonger grounds, where the largest, most vibrant Victorian markets thrived and how, over time, they have adapted to today's needs – all the more poignant as regards the changes brought about by this recent pandemic. 

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New River Path
Finsbury Park and Woodberry Down   

Starting at the northern end of Finsbury Park, we following the 400 year-old waterway's meandering course offering marvellous views along the way. Enjoy the feeling of being in the countryside, yet only a few miles from central London. This section overlooks interesting light industrial zones and skims past busy streets. Hear about the waterway, both as an amazing feat of engineering and as a recreational attraction. Learn about the nearby buildings and businesses as you enjoy the wonderful flora and fauna in the area. We end near Finsbury Park Station. 

Finsbury Park to Canonbury / Canonbury to Sadler's Wells coming soon    

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NEWINGTON GREEN – please see Green

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The Only Way Is Essex Rd – please see Essex Road 

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Parks, Pubs and Pianos
Caledonian Park to Kentish Town (or vice versa)

This lovely backstreet route keeps us as much as possible off the main roads. We'll start at the old market site where you'll hear about its history whilst taking in the marvellous view to the south. Then we'll walk through well-planned housing estates, down little alleys and into secluded gardens. We'll look at re-purposed Victorian public houses and see evidence of the large piano-making industry here. Hear about a haunted hostelry and a famous murder case. See ghosts of the past in old signage. Discover a street that will make you feel as if you have travelled back in time and, in other streets, be enlightened by the multi-coloured tones.  

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REGENTS CANAL 
Please see title names: Ghostsigns / Waterways

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Social Housing
See Look at the Estate We're In

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SOHO 
Please see title names: French / Art Nouveau / Italian
/ Art Deco here

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The Strand's Sculptural Delights
Charing Cross to Aldwych

Architectural embellishments and marvellous memorials. Let me show you some of the marvellous sculptural delights overlooking and adjacent to this ancient thoroughfare. Banks and medicine, commerce and commemoration, nudity and topography. 

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Vouchers
Valid for one year from date of purchase against any relevant tour – please contact me for more info

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Waterways, Wharves and Warehouses
Regent's Canal in Islington, circular from City Road Basin 

Today the canal is a linear park open to all, lined with colourful houseboats, waterside apartments and offices, complete with well-maintained paths for walkers, cyclists and joggers. It's a bit of calm and quiet away from the bustle of the shops and the beeps of the busy streets. But it wasn't always so lovely.
This 200 year old waterway from Paddington to Limehouse has a rich history. It was constructed to link the north of England to London's docklands on the River Thames therefore providing a low-impact distribution network for heavy goods. The businesses that lined the water's edge turned it into a dirty, noisy, dangerous hive of industry and manufacture. Find out about the various and unusual products that were made, stored and distributed from the wharves alongside this canal. And learn why these buildings and tow paths fell into disuse and how they were later regenerated and transformed into what we see and enjoy today.

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Wilde About Oscar
 
Wit, writer, raconteur,  

An online presentation. Hear about Oscar's life and the people who were close to him. See where his plays were staged, where life-changing events happened, and where he lived, shopped and socialised. We'll also look at how he is commemorated today. 

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Christmas in Covent Garden – Magical Markets and Twinkling Trees
Strand to to Trafalgar Sq via Covent Gdn Piazza and Seven Dials 

At Christmas-time our shopping streets and squares become festooned with pretty Christmas lights and decorations – it makes everything look so gorgeous, warm and welcoming. But, have you ever wondered why we drag fir trees into our homes, eat mince pies or kiss under the mistletoe? Why is Father Christmas called 'Santa' and why does he wear red? Learn about about the origins of our Christmas traditions on a twinkly trail through little lanes, alluring avenues and sparkly squares. Hear about the streets of old as you marvel at today's fabulous displays. We'll look at hotels, shops and restaurants and there'll be lots of photo opportunities along the way. Our journey finishes in Trafalgar Square by the big Christmas tree and the Christmas market – perfect for a glass of mulled wine and a few seasonal treats.  

Customer feedback:"Fabulous walk. Jane is full of fascinating historical and current information. Wandering about the best bits of the West End all lit up for the festive holiday is fun and perfect for Christmas. Jane guides you around the back streets with endless stories so it's easy to slip back into another era and imagine how the city once looked at different times during its evolution. Also an opportunity to meet other like-minded people. I love drifting around London with Jane"

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