WELCOME TO THE LIST
On the walks over the last few months I've been promising to put together a list of suggestions, for those who've joined me on the walking tours, of things that may be of interest to them.
So, here it is, my first list of things that you can do in London over the next month.
9 of them are free and one of them costs £10 per person.
I've given some thought to the best way of providing the information.
My initial thought was to simply send out an email each month.
The problem with this method was that, if anything changed, I'd have to send out another email to say that this has changed, or this event has been altered.
That meant that I would have to do the one thing that I wanted to avoid at all costs, constantly bombarding people with emails.
So, I decided that the best way to move ahead with the project was to create a web page each month and then notify you when the new page was up and running.
I'll also post on the Facebook page when a new list becomes available, so you might like to join us and like us (as in Facebook likes!).
That way, if anything does change, I can simply update the web page and you can check to ensure that everything is okay before heading out.
Incidentally, if you know of anything going on in your area, or any part of London for that matter, it would be great if you could let me know so that I can include it in future lists.
So, without further ado, here is my first list of ten things to do in London this month.
I hope you find it useful.
10 THINGS TO DO IN LONDON SEPTEMBER 2014
THE MUSEUM AT BART'S HOSPITAL
Those of you who have joined me on the Secret London Tour will have heard me wax lyrical about this terrific little museum.
St Bartholomew's Hospital is London's oldest hospital to still stand on its original site and this museum tells its story from its founding, in 1123, to the present day.
One of the highlights is the plaque (that used to be in the hospital's Pathology department, commemorating the meeting at Bart's of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet.
But the major highlight is the opportunity to glimpse the magnificent staircase that leads up to the Grand Hall, the walls of which were painted by the 18th century artist, William Hogarth.
Hogarth actually used patients who, at the time, were being treated in the hospital as his models and his eye for detail was such that doctors can still diagnose their ailments by simply looking at these wonderful paintings.
The Museum is open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm and admission is free. Their website.
OLD ST PANCRAS
CHURCH AND BURIAL GROUND
I often wax lyrical about this truly atmospheric burial ground on my Dickens walks, as William Jones, Charles Dickens schoolmaster is buried here.
But there's a lot more to Old St Pancras than just its Dickensian associations.
Sir John Soane (of the Soane Museum fame) is buried here, as is Mary Shelley's mother.
It was here that the Beatles were photographed for the inside covers of their respective red and blue albums, and the little church of Old St Pancras is a delight, possessing as it does the reputed altar stone of St Augustine
And then there's the Hardy Tree, planted by Thomas Hardy, which sprouts dramatically from a mound of cloying tombstones.
Pay this place a visit - you'll be glad you did.
BOOK FOR SILENT CEREMONY
Technically this isn't a September event as it will actually take place at 3pm on Friday 7th November 2014 in Guildhall.
But, since ticket applications must be in by 30th September 2014 it's a case of forewarned is forearmed, so to speak.
Silent Ceremony is the Admission of the New Lord Mayor and it takes place on the day before the Lord Mayor's show.
It is an ancient ceremony that sees the City of London at its whimsical best
Various City officials and dignitaries will process into the hall to watch the incoming Lord Mayor swear the oath of office and will then witness the outgoing Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, beckon the incoming Lord Mayor, to his seat. Fiona Woolfe will then remove her tricorne hat, at the exact moment that the new incumbent of the office dons his, symbolising the official transfer of the mayoralty and the power that accompanies it.
Space is limited (you can apply for a maximum of 6 tickets) and booking is essential and must be made by Tuesday 30th September 2014. Tickets are not guaranteed and, if it is over subscribed spaces will be allocated. But there's nothing to lose by trying!
You can apply for tickets via the website by clicking here or you can apply by telephone on 020 7332 1313
CITY OF LONDON HERITAGE GALLERY
Opening its doors to the public on 12th September 2104 the Heritage Gallery has been principally developed in response to next year's 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta (gosh it only seems like yesterday!).
The City of London is the guardian of a rich array of treasures which it holds in trust on the nations behalf and which, until now, have rarely been on public display.
According to the pre-opening blurb the Heritage Gallery will "launch with an exhibition that includes the 1297 Magna Carta (complete with the first ever "post-it" note!), before rotating the main exhibit with other pieces that include the 1067 William Charter and the Shakespeare Deed".
The opening hours are Monday - Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday, 12 noon-4pm.
The closest underground stations are Bank, St Paul's or Mansion House.
HAMPSTEAD'S SECRET GARDEN
The Hampstead Pergola and Hill Garden, to give this place it's official name, is one of the most hauntingly beautiful gardens you will ever encounter and is, without doubt, one of London's hidden treasures.
It's origins go back to 1904 when Lord Leverhulme purchased the adjoining grand house and, in 1905, set about creating a landscaped garden which he added to and expanded over succeeding years to create his glorious Pergola as a setting for extravagant Edwardian Garden Parties.
This place, overlooking the wild expanse of Hampstead Heath, is a glorious place at any time of the year, but in the autumn it is particularly lovely.
You can get there by taking the underground to either Hampstead Station, or Golders Green Station and then getting a bus. Ask the driver to put you off at the Old Bull and Bush Pub ta dah dah dah dah (yes that one(!)) on North End Road.
With your back to the pub cross over the road, turn left and keep walking until you arrive at a large red brick house on the right. The track to its right takes you to the Pergola.
After your visit you might want to walk back to the Bull and Bush to enjoy a meal and/or a drink, or if you're feeling really energetic, walk across the heath to the Spaniard's Inn.
You can get a PDF on the Pergola from the City of London website here.
VIEW JEREMY BENTHAM'S AUTO-ICON
I love this little curiosity which, if you've never seen it is well worth seeking out.
Although not a founder of University College London, Jeremy Bentham was/is most certainly its spiritual father and was so dedicated to the place that he's never left, despite the fact he's been dead since 1832.
You see, one of Jeremy's wishes was that his mummified body (auto-icon) be displayed at UCL and, since the last person they wish to offend is Jeremy Bentham, the University has obliged.
The nearest Underground to here is Euston Square. From the station, you need to head along Gower Street and go left and in through the gates of the College. Head for the doors in the far right corner and you'll find him sitting, statesman-like, in his specially constructed cabinet!
EXPLORE KENSAL GREEN CEMETERY
According to Hugh Meller, in his book London Cemeteries, Kensal Green is "the most distinguished of London's cemeteries. Not only is it older than the others with an early history synonymous with the history of the whole English cemetery movement, but it also retains its original range of buildings and boasts an unequalled array of mausolea, three of which commemorate royalty."
Wandering its earth paths, you pass the last resting places of a veritable Who's Who of Victorian great and good - William Makepeace Thackeray and Wilkie Collins to name but two.
It's also where Charles Dickens beloved sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, is buried and, although her tombstone isn't that memorable, it is worth paying a visit as Dickens himself composed the inscription on it.
The closest underground is Kensal Green (which is on the Bakerloo Line and also on the Silver Link Rail North London Link.)
To reach the Cemetery gates, exit the station, go left onto College Road, then right along Harrow Road, head over the crossing, veer left on the other side, and keep head until you reach the Cemetery's main gate on the right.
For more information visit the Kensal Green Cemetery Website.
TAKE YOURSELF TO COURT
A great way to spend a winter's or a rainy day is to venture into the cathedral like interior of the Royal Courts of Justice on Strand.
It can look somewhat intimidating but don't be put off just march in, make your way through the elaborate security (you have to go through x-ray machines and put your bags on a conveyor for inspection) but, once inside, look up and take in the majesty of one of London's most breathtaking buildings.
There is an interesting exhibition of legal robes which you can reach by walking straight ahead, passing under the balcony at the far side and then go left up the stairs and left out of the swing door.
But the main reason to pay a visit is the opportunity to visit a court case.
The appeal cases are largely heard in the courts reached up any of the staircases on the right from the centre of the main hall. There is a board in this main hall that tells you what cases are being heard in which courts.
There is also a notice on the board outside each court that tells you what the case is and if it appeals (if you'll pardon the pun) simply walk in and sit in the back two rows of benches.
Don't worry about going in to the court, you have the right to be there unless there is a notice on the door that read Court In Camera or Court In Chambers, in which case don' even think about going in!
But otherwise, just walk in, ease your self into one of the back benches and enjoy the wonderful theatre of the English legal system.
One more tip. You can stay in for as along as you like. So if the case is boring, as some of them can be, get up and leave, even if you've only been in there for a matter of minutes.
You can view the Daily Cause List here
THE MARC BOLAN MEMORIAL
Now, this suggestion might seem a little macabre but 16th September is the anniversary of the death of Marc Bolan. He was killed when the car he was been driven in veered off a sharp bend on the road that skirts Barnes Common and crashed into a tree.
The tree has, ever since, been a place of pilgrimage to Marc Bolan and T Rex fans from all over the World and, on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy Marc's son, Rolan, unveiled a memorial bust of his father at the site.
The nearest station to it is Barnes Station, which, to reach the memorial, you should leave via the exit on platform 4 and turn left through the concrete bollards across from the steps.
Go along the asphalt path and at its end turn left along Queen's Ride.
Cross cautiously (be really careful here) to its right side and follow the earth path that runs alongside the brown brick wall. A little way along on the left go up the steps to reach the memorial.
You'll find more information on my Secret London Website.
THE LONDON CHARTERHOUSE
This isn't free, as it costs £10 per person, but it is, quite likely, the best £10 you will ever spend in London.
Officially titled Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse, this exquisite location began life as a Carthusian monastery that was founded in the late 1300's. It became a private mansion following the dissolution of the monasteries, and then became a boys school and an almshouse, the latter of which it remains to this day.
It has the distinction of being London's only surviving Tudor town house, with some of the original monastic cells still visible within.
Located just around the corner from Barbican Underground Station, it's as far removed from modern London as it is possible to be.
To step through it's sturdy wooden gates is to step back in time, and to wander it's timeworn corridors and atmospheric rooms is to encounter history and atmosphere at every turn.
I promise you won't be disappointed by this wonderful place.
Tours take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and every other Saturday at 2.15pm
You must book in advance which you can do via their website.
You can also, if you wish, attend the services that are held in the chapel which are open to the public and are not charged for. Full details.
I hope you find this list useful and that you get to enjoy at least some of the things that I have suggested.
Of course, you don't have to do them all in September, and one of the reasons I have decided to do the list on the website, as opposed to via email, is because that way it can act as a resource that you can refer to at any stage, whereas an email might get swallowed up in the plethora of emails we are all accustomed to getting these days!
If you require further directions to any of the places suggested could you ask it via the Facebook page as that then enables me to answer quickly and, should it be something that everybody wants to know it becomes useful to everyone.
It also, and I know this is selfish, saves me having to reply to hundred of emails!
I've already started the October list and, once I get into the swing of this, then I'm hoping that the list will go out on this website on the first day of each month.
All the best. Richard