The story of Walking London one postcode at a time

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Inspired by “the Ladies who Bus” who have travelled London one bus route at a time, and building on the work I have done to become a walking tour guide, this blog is about walking London one postcode at a time. There are over 100 London postcode districts so that should keep me busy!

I decided to start in the SW postcodes because I realised that most of my working life has been in jobs based in SW1 and for all my adult life I have lived in SW postcodes. So I will walk first in the SW postcodes going in numerical order and work round London clockwise until I get to SE. Then I will go into the central ones of EC and WC. Who knows maybe after all that I will be strong enough to go through the outer postcodes like CR and RM. There is still quite a bit of Greater London which is outside the London post code area.

So a few grounds rules. I will aim to do a walk in each post  code area which features around ten or twelve places, buildings or stories of that area. As this is a postcode walk I will start at a post office, usually the main one. I reserve the right to hop on a bus or train if this makes for a better outcome. And for those few mainly central London postcodes which have sub divisions (eg SW1A, SW1Y etc) I am only covering this once (eg as SW1) in the part of my choosing!

If you want to see if I have written about a particular postcode, you can follow the links from the list of postcodes or else there is a search function on a tab above.

And if you want to join me in the real for a walk, then follow the tab which says “Come on one of my walks”

Why not join me on one of my walks in January?

The Postcode Walks blog will resume in January but in the meantime why not consider joining me on one of my walks in the real world. Below is my full schedule for January. Hope to see you!

MR SELFRIDGE AND HIS COMPETITORS (Thursday 2 or Sunday 19 January)

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If you are coming to Oxford Street for the sales, why not also come with me to hear fascinating stories about some of the West End’s major stores and the characters behind them. Learn about the bet between Harry Gordon Selfridge and Harrods and what the loser had to do. Find out why John Lewis spent three weeks in Brixton prison in 1903. See the building which housed the very first store with the name Debenhams (and which is not on Oxford Street). Hear why Liberty’s has an unexpected connection to the British Navy and much much more.

THURSDAY 2 JANUARY: 11:00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mr-selfridge-and-his-competitors-tales-of-the-west-ends-greatest-stores-tickets-9591802339?ref=ebapi

SUNDAY 19 JANUARY 14.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mr-selfridge-and-his-competitors-tales-of-the-west-ends-greatest-stores-tickets-9592167431?ref=ebapi

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THE STREETS TO THE STARS: A TOUR OF THEATRELAND (Saturdays 4 and 18 January)

(A City of Westminster Guide Lecturers Association walk)

You will almost be able to smell the greasepaint as we explore the star studded West end, enjoying high drama and low comedy. See where Eliza Doolittle sold her flowers, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry stode the boards and learn why every theatre has its ghost.

£8 (£6 Concs)

NO NEED FOR ADVANCE BOOKING: JUST TURN UP!

Meet at 11.00 on Saturdays outside Covent Garden station in James Street – exit side of tube station

I will be taking this walk on 4 and 18 January. But it runs every Saturday morning, with one of my fellow qualified City Westminster guides.

City of Westminster Guides also do regular walks in St James’s every Saturday afternoon and in Mayfair every Wednesday morning (although not 1 January!)

More info at: http://www.westminsterguides.org.uk/

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HOW LONDON CHANGED BETWEEN THE WARS (Sunday 5 or Thursday 23 January)

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London changed dramatically between the two world wars, laying the foundation for the modern city we see today. On this walk, we will see how the development of office blocks, grand showrooms and shops and cinema buildings of all shapes and sizes changed the face of London. And we will hear how things such as the motor car, the telephone and neon lights all had an impact on London.

SUNDAY 5 JANUARY: 14.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-london-changed-between-the-wars-tickets-9609413013?ref=ebapi

THURSDAY23 JANUARY: 14.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-london-changed-between-the-wars-tickets-9609647715?ref=ebapi

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WESTMINSTER BYWAYS (Thursday 9 or Sunday 26 January)

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Westminster Abbey is so familiar but not many people know the streets that lie just behind the Abbey. Here you will find tranquillity and could almost imagine yourself in a small English cathedral city. Join me to explore the little known byways around Westminster. See some of the best preserved 18th century streets in London, plus  a couple of very specialist shops and hear about some of the people who lived hereabouts.

THURSDAY 9 JANUARY: 14:00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/westminster-byways-tickets-9609814213?ref=ebapi

SUNDAY 26 JANUARY 11.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/westminster-byways-tickets-9609930561?ref=ebapi

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WEST END MOVIE HOUSES (Sunday 12 or Thursday 30 January)

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The West End has always been the UK’s premiere location for cinemas. This walk will not just show you some of the cinemas which still operate today but will also point out some of the buildings which once housed cinemas – large and small.

We shall hear about how quite a few of these buildings replaced old Music Halls and how in the 1920s, developers hedged their bets by having stage facilities as well as a projection room. We shall learn about the small specialist cinemas showing foreign language movies, cartoons and newsreels and how many of these declined into seedy places showing X rated movies before finally closing. Sadly most of the wonderful interiors of these buildings no longer exist, but on this walk we can usually get a peek of a couple of the surviving 1920s foyers. And we end up at a pub which started life as a cinema in 1911. But you will certainly get to see the wonderful exteriors and hear the stories associated with these fascinating buildings.

SUNDAY 12 JANUARY: 11.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/west-end-movie-houses-fleapit-to-deco-super-cinemas-tickets-9591585691?ref=ebapi

THURSDAY 30 JANUARY: 11.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/west-end-movie-houses-fleapit-to-deco-super-cinemas-tickets-9591619793?ref=ebapi

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MADE IN CHELSEA (Thursday 16 January)

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Chelsea has long been associated with artists and writers, and there are so many fascinating stories to be told.

In this walk, we hear what happened when actress Ellen Terry came for her portrait to be painted. Then there are the cautionary tales of two different libel cases which turned out rather badly for the libelled party. And what happened to the book of poetry buried with the writer’s dead wife. We will also learn about Dracula author, Bram Stoker’s day job and how american writer Mark Twain got his name.

THURSDAY 16 JANUARY: 11.00

£10 (Concs £7.50)

To book: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/made-in-chelsea-tickets-9591653895?ref=ebapi

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THE POSTCODE WALK BLOGS WILL RESUME IN THE NEW YEAR STARTING WITH W1