The Lantern on the Stern
A Valedictory...
For a last word – a godspeed – we want to go back to the beginning, repeat the first words. They're from the Site Dedication at the top (which most people miss because it's so modest, so tucked away). So here it is again – this time as "the lantern on the stern".
 
This website is dedicated, with respect and admiration, to the modern Marco Polo: to all of you – the tolerant, curious, bright, determined, durable, friendly, funny, switched-on, and ever-gallant London Walkers!  

Nothing to add, except this: This is the London Walks website. But it's something else as well: It's also a love letter to the greatest city on earth.
 
Want to repeat them because it's you guys who make London Walks possible. Ultimately you're the reason there's no comparison.
 
As a "business model" London Walks shouldn't be remotely sea-worthy. Let alone have lasted – indeed, gone from strength to strength – for half a century. The things we cherish – integrity; our independence; honesty; collegiality; being proudly and aggressively non-commercial; being run, essentially, as a guides' cooperative; not giving a fig for "pyramid building" (let alone "pyramid builders"); being "old fashioned" in many ways – would, were it not for you guys, be a millstone around our necks. They'd be a millstone – be sooooo "last century" – because a competitive environment that once upon a time was a paddling pool has turned into a shark tank. Everything from serious money players who for some (peculiar) reason want to make even more money to shysters who try (well, tried) to help themselves to our name to people who want to "Starbucks" walking tours and as part and parcel of all that have essentially redefined words like "tips" and "free". In short, it shouldn't be possible – in those waters – to steer the course that London Walks has always steered.
 
Chapter and verse? Well, any number of internet shenanigans – everything from the ongoing jiggery pokery of running up the colours "London walks" every chance they get (the sleight of hand is that lower case w – that's how you spot the fake, how you know it's not us, not the real article, not the one-and-only, genuine, bona fide, multi award-winning London Walks) to the hi-jinks that regularly take place on on Trip Advisor (for example).
 
There's no little poetic justice in the plain facts of the matter here. Namely that the people who go on walking tours – you guys – are too bright, too savvy, too discerning to be taken in by those shenanigans. And that in turn is why "they" haven't been able to despoil this little patch – asset strip it, de-"community" it. Turn a green commons (in the old sense of the word) that benefits everybody into "an enclosure" (or a strip mine, whatever) that benefits...well, you'll get my drift.  In short, you're the reason why proudly and aggressively non-commercial London Walks is hale and hearty.
 
Ergo the dedication. And this valedictory, this lantern on the stern. From all of us at London Walks – our hats go off to you, London Walkers. You're the reason London Walks – this little bit of old fashioned specialness – has been 50 years in the making. And why London Walks is confidently looking forward to the next half century!