Day 6

It was a long one today.

In an attempt to finish the majority of the City, I logged just under 9 miles on my stroll. Lots to report on.

Here are the things that stood out on Day 6:

Best Example of a Working Day in the City

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Best Shared Moment with a Stranger – Broderers’ Hall

Laughing over the alternate name to the Worshipful Company of Broderers (The Brotherhood of the Holy Ghost of the City of London) after he kindly did a bit of ad hoc research for me when we met in an alley.

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(See Day 5 for more about the Companies of London!).

Best Name on a Street Plaque – Japheth Tickle, Esq.

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Best Company Motto – The Saddlers

Hold fast. Sit Sure. Not much else to say about saddles really, is there?

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Best Alley Network – Telegraph Street/Tokenhouse Yard Passage

You know how I feel about a good system of alleys.

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Best It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Reference – Green Man 

I do hope this theme continues (so long as I don’t find myself ordering one crack rock in an alley at some point).

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Most Touching Monument in a Lovely Garden – Postman’s Park

Tucked away in what amounts to an oversized traffic island is one of my favourite little London gardens. Postman’s Park is not only lush, green and incredibly cosy (you’ll find it hard to leave), it houses one of the most heartwarming monuments around: the G.F. Watts Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. An entire wall is lined with plaques commemorating those who have died while saving another person’s life. It’s a spot everyone should visit.

Though the park is something worth visiting on its own, sometimes I have to offer alternative motivations to get you out into these places. For all the movie buffs out there, it is also the place where Jude Law and Natalie Portman’s characters met in Closer and, yes, the plaque she stole her name from is actually there. Postman, Portman…coincidence? I think not.

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Most Important Historical Event Recorded in a Tiny Garden – The First Folio

The vast majority of Shakespeare’s work was not published before his death in 1616. Two of his friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, gathered the writings and published them, much to the thanks of future generations, up to and including our own (with hopefully many more to come!). They are buried in this garden and, according to the plaque, their contribution “thus merited the gratitude of mankind.”

Oh yeah. These guys were also members of the Stationer’s Company we met way back on Day 5!

"Mr. William Shakespeare's comedies, histories & tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies, London 1632. We have but collected them....and done an office to the dead...without ambition either of self-profit or fame; onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend & Fellow alive as was our Shakespeare. John Heminge, Henry Condell."

“Mr. William Shakespeare’s comedies, histories & tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies, London 1632. We have but collected them….and done an office to the dead…without ambition either of self-profit or fame; onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend & Fellow alive as was our Shakespeare. John Heminge, Henry Condell.”

"To the Memory of John Heminge and Henry Condell, fellow actors and personal friends of Shakespeare, they lived many years in this parish and are buried here. To their disinterested affection the world owes all that it calls Shakespeare. They alone collected his dramatic writings regardless of pecuniary loss and, without the hope of any profit, gave them to the world. They thus merited the gratitude of mankind."

“To the Memory of John Heminge and Henry Condell, fellow actors and personal friends of Shakespeare, they lived many years in this parish and are buried here. To their disinterested affection the world owes all that it calls Shakespeare. They alone collected his dramatic writings regardless of pecuniary loss and, without the hope of any profit, gave them to the world. They thus merited the gratitude of mankind.”

Best Tucked-Away Moment of Zen – The Courtyard Under Tower 42

This little area isn’t on the map, really. If you continue down Adam’s Court (off of Old Broad Street) all the way to the end then walk up the steps, you’ll be greeted by a lovely little courtyard hiding in the shadow of Tower 42. It feel so very un-City it’s fabulous. Hie thee!

Bonus mind-blower: Tower 42 was originally called the National Westminster Tower as it was built by National Westminster Bank. Ok so I had no idea that’s where “NatWest” came from but that’s a little light bulb compared to the next one. If you look down at the tower from the top, it closely resembles the symbol of NatWest Bank (three interlocking chevrons). Did your mind just blow up? Mine just did.

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Right! So that’s the heart of the City complete! I’ve still got some fringe bits to go but they’ll likely get absorbed with parts of other neighbourhoods as I skirt along from East to West. I’m looking forward to getting out of banks and skyscrapers and into some of London’s lively residential areas.

See you there!!

Click here for today’s (slightly inaccurate) walking map.

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