Today’s walk was split into two very distinctive halves: grotty and grim vs. bright and inspiring. They seemed worlds apart but interestingly these two halves were united by one game-changing invention: the printing press.
For the first half of my walk, the streets were pretty dull. Some of them were boring and grey and others were dingy, dirty and just plain ugly. I got the impression it was an area that London kind of forgot about. There were no decorations, no plants, no pieces of outdoor art.
As it turns out though, apparently it’s always been pretty drab. In fact, considering this historical description I found on an oddly informative placard down a dark alley, I’d say it’s actually much improved: The Fleet Street was regarded as having unwanted amounts of filth, smells and a noisy clatter of, amongst other things, many churches, street traders and brawls.
I had several moments of panic wondering if I would find anything of interest to share with you. It didn’t look promising. A couple of important blue plaques maybe, but not a whole lot more than that.
Then a theme started to emerge and bits and pieces of earlier walks started to creep into my mind. Remember back on Day 5 when we meet Wynkyn de Worde, the “Father of Fleet Street”? If you recall (or reread) he was the first to set up a printing press on this famous road back in 1500, and in doing so he changed the future of the neighbourhood. Continue reading