And so to Bankside …

So here we are with 20 or so people from various European cities who are all involved in a European Union funded project to encourage cycling. They are staying in Southwark and about to dine at the Swan restaurant at the Globe theatre. And I am showing them a bit of London most tourists never see.

So where better to start out perambulation that the site of the Southwark Rose theatre. I am sure our guests wonder where they are going when I take them down a staircase off Southwark Bridge Road and down onto a rather grimy Park Street to see a black door and a blue plaque.

ImageBut here over 400 years ago was where people went to be entertained. It is hard to imagine it now, especially when you cannot even go in any see anything, as there are only enough volunteers to open on a Saturday and then you can only see a black space covered in water with some red lights to show where the outline of the 16th century theatre was.

And just  along from here is the site of the original Globe theatre. Unfortunately 6 feet under with a lot under a listed building. Anyhow here is what I could show them.

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Not too impressive, huh? And it does not get much better when I walk them down to the Clink prison – nothing much to see here except the modern exhibit and a rather atmospheric railway arch and warehouses.

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Now a quick detour via the umbrellas installation (sorry no picture!) and Neal’s Yard Cheese shop to Borough Market, which of course was closed! However it is still interesting to talk about how its charter dates from 1756, how the railways had to built over it in the 1860s, how it reinvented itself in recent years and survived the building of the new Thameslink viaduct over it.

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That Shard gets everywhere, doesn’t it? Even peaking out above Southwark Cathedral

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Moving on we stopped by the Golden Hinde, which our European friends were disappointed to learn was only 40 years old – it being a replica.

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The story of Sir Francis Drake being the first Englishman to sail round round the world (1577 – 1580) is rather difficult to tell when you have Spanish and Portuguese people there as of course they were there first. Magellan (Portuguese) made it part the way round but it was a Spaniard (basque) guy called Elcamino who managed it in the 1520s!

But just here is a great view of the City

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Our guests loved the names of the building: the Cheese Grater, the Gerkin and the Walkie Talkie. And I did make sure they saw the monument so that when they saw St Paul’s later they could understand how much was destroyed by the 1666 Fire of London.

We stopped briefly at the remains of the Bishop of Winchester’s medieval palace. Hard to believe how this survived.

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And so then passing by the Clink again, we reached the river by the Anchor old riverside inn which claims to date from 1615 but has been burnt down twice since then!

And a brisk walk down the Thames and I left them happy at the new Globe only 15 minutes late for their dinner, but so much more informed about this little bit of London!

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