Monument Tube, Fish Street Hill exit | Map
Guided by Isobel
Short description: Forging, Breaking & Burying the Chains. The stuff of this Tour du Jour.
Long description: Pace Winston Churchill – this may have been London's finest hour. And before it, its worst. Because London was a leading actor in – profited enormously from – the slave trade. But a few good men and women took the evil on and saw it off. Their names ring down the centuries, the great and the good who fought for freedom: Wilberforce, Wedgewood, Wesley, Blake, John Newton, Cowper. And that's not to forget the lesser known who began the cause: Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, James Phillips and Oladouh Equiano. Truly, here in the bosom of the City beat the heart of compassion, answering the slave's cry, "Am I not a man and a Brother?" Amazing Grace indeed. "Spots of time" (and place) don't come any more important than this one. Which is why it's important to go and see where – to go over the ground, literally and figuratively – to travel back. To bear witness. N.B. the walk takes about two hours and ends at St. Paul's Cathedral, a minute's walk from St. Paul's Tube.
The Slavery & the City walk takes place at 2.30 pm on Saturday, February 16 and at 10.45 am on Sunday, June 23. Meet Isobel just outside the Fish Street Hill exit of Monument Tube.
"by far the most impressive series of walks that I have ever encountered are those offered by London Walks" Travel and Enjoy
"Without a doubt the best walking tour company currently operating in London" Stardust
by Thomas Robert, wayvandaprints.com
"Although London lost its pre-eminence as a slave trading port to Liverpool, dealing in slaves and in the products of slave labour remained one of the chief sources of wealth for London's mercantile elite. The credit with which West Indies planters bought their slaves came from London banking houses, including Barclays and Barings, and from the Bank of England itself. Many Bank of England directors, deputy governors and governors had slave and sugar interests, and together with the London-based plantation owners and the West Indies merchants and political agents, they constituted a formidable force in London and national politics. They had no chartered company to represent their interests, but at first met informally in the Jamaica Coffee House in St Michael's Alley, near the Royal Exchange....the West India interest was able to exert remarkable influence over British commercial and foreign policy, taking a leading part in the campaign to force Walpole into a Spanish war in 1739, helping to shape the Peace of Paris in 1763, and forcing the City to accept the construction of the West India Docks in the 1790s.... But the West India interest's last great battle, to save the slave trade from abolition, ended in defeat in 1807."
Great guiding – "it's all about making connections." Some of the incidentals London Walks guides come up with – as an aside or to "get things into perspective" – are jaw-dropping. For example, Isobel's casually mentioning on one occasion that "19 of the 55 Framers of the American constitution were slave owners." And that in 1787 the population of the new country was "about 3,000,000, of whom 600,000 were slaves. Each of whom, for census purposes, counted as 3/5 of a person."
If you can't make the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Slavery & the City walk do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Slavery & the City Walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. And – always with private London Walks and tours – we go to great lengths to make sure the guide-walker(s) "fit" is well-nigh perfect. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at email@example.com and we'll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they're good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.
Or indeed a fab present – be it a birthday or anniversary or get-to-know-your-new neighbourhood gift or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that's special. Memories make us rich.
"Nah, don't need it, got it all here," you say. Er, roaming charges? Er, dead battery? Er, reading your phone in the bathtub and you drop it? [Smelling salts interval: sick as a parrot. ashen-faced.] Er, read the famous white leaflet in the bathtub and you drop it what do you do? Er, you dry it out. Anyway, maybe worth making a mental note that you can always pick up the famous white London Walks leaflet at the Cafe in the Crypt at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the old church in Trafalgar Square. They're on the Information Table there, right by the box office. And indeed they also display them on the shop counter, right by the cash register. And it's win-win because the Cafe in the Crypt is one of the town's delights. Should be on everybody's London itinerary.