Monument Tube, Fish Street Hill exit
Guided by Lisa
|Day||Walk Type||Start Time||End Time|
|11 June 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|23 June 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|30 June 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|9 July 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|11 July 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|15 August 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|27 August 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|10 September 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|14 September 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|8 October 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|12 October 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Summer||Reserve Online|
|16 November 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Winter||Reserve Online|
|19 November 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Winter||Reserve Online|
|3 December 2023||Tour du Jour||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Winter||Reserve Online|
|7 December 2023||Special||10.45 am||12.45 pm||Winter||Reserve Online|
“London Walks puts you into the hands of an expert on the particular area and topic of a tour” The New York Times
Your guide: the distinguished former diplomat Lisa Honan CBE. The walk: Lisa’s tour of the East India Company.
A former Governor of St Helena – a British Overseas Territory governed by the East India Company for 200 years – Lisa has a unique insight into the East India Company. Indeed she lived in the mansion – pictured below – that was built for East India Company Governors on St Helena in 1792. That’s Jonathan, the world’s oldest land animal, in Lisa’s front garden. She used to feed him. Jonathan pitched up not long after Napoleon checked out.
For the record, Lisa was the first woman Governor in its 500 years of history and so far the only one.
Having fed Jonathan, it’s time to stroll out to the palisades of St Helena to take a look out across the bay to Lisa’s (the Governor’s) ship, the RMS St Helena. It carried Governor Lisa and other passengers to and from St Helena. A six-day journey from Cape Town.
Ok, Governor Lisa having presented her diplomatic credentials, let’s get down to business with the walk. The former diplomat takes us to sites (sights and insights aplenty) associated with the East India Company. She lays bare its history, from 1600 to the present day.
She takes us to the courtyard where the Company first began in the 17th century. From there it’s a journey through East India Company history. How it changed what the world ate, drank, and wore through its trade with India, Indonesia, China and points beyond.
How it ruled over 300 million people in India. The battles it fought – some of them – with its private army. How it caused the Boston Tea party and sparked the desire for American independence. And there’s the file past of its people, its employees, variously called merchants, adventurers, pirates, traders, drug smugglers, and imperialists.
You go on this walk, matters of world-historical importance brush you with their wings. The East India Company wasn’t just the largest and most powerful multinational corporation in the world – it was history’s fulcrum.
And in the interests of making sure that nobody gets the wrong end of the stick: our view of the East India Company – and indeed Lisa’s view – is trenchantly summed up by John O’Farrell’s observation that it was “a sustained protection racket that went on for nearly 300 years and needed military brutality to enforce it.” And that generally British colonialism and imperialism “required and therefore cultivated a level of racism from which we have still not recovered.”
Janet Springett –
I so enjoyed this informative walk around the City with Lisa. I confess that I knew very little about the East India Company before the walk except that it was granted a charter by Elizabeth I. I know a lot more now thanks to Lisa’s brilliant tour.
Seema Iyer –
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this very informative and engaging walk and talk. Lisa was very knowledgeable about the East India Company and delivered the story to perfection. This walk is highly recommended for those who are curious about the origins of this company in London and what became of them in their quest for power and greed in India. A wonderful history lesson. Thank you Lisa.
Elizabeth Smith –
Lisa’s engaging and enthusiastic presentation made this a fascinating walk. Telling the 200 year plus history of the East India Company through a variety of locations across the City of London, Lisa revealed how the Company wove its activities into the fabric of British trade and governance and explored the sometimes devastating consequences for the people in the places where they operated. Highly recommended.
There were so many things that made this tour one of the best i have been on. The topic- as I am of indian origin; the walking route- whereby we walked good distances( so got some steps in); the sprinkling-in of personal experience(Lisa is a diplomat and worked in a country which had direct relevance to the EEC). As a bonus we had good weather. Also, it has been the only one that has got me thinking ….
Alastair Holmes –
A thoroughly enjoyable and informative walk around the City. Lisa was able to explain the history of the East India Company from its inception in 1600 right through to the present day, showing us the historical sites in the city to bring the story to life. Her past role as Governor of St Helena also adds to the story, as the Company is also closely linked to the history of the island.
Belinda Ackerman –
Lisa gave an excellent and detailed history of the East India Company and a wonderful tour of all its connections and locations in the City of London. The link to American Independence and the Chinese opium wars were fascinating. It has inspired me to read William Dalrymple’s book The Anarchy to find out more. I would definitely recommend this walk.
Belinda Ackerman –
Lisa gave an excellent and detailed history of the East India Company and a wonderful tour of all its connections and locations in the City of London. The link to the Boston Tea Party and the Chinese opium wars were fascinating. It has inspired me to read William Dalrymple’s book The Anarchy to find out more. I would definitely recommend this walk.
Hilda Cooper –
This is a riveting London Walk conducted by an expert guide, Lisa, who has done exhaustive research on the East India Company. She presents the history of this powerful company comprehensively and objectively. You get the good, the bad, and the ugly. I promise you, you will learn (and see) so much during this two-hour walk/history class, and the time will go by in a flash. This is a walk that I intend to take again and again when visiting London because Lisa continues to research her topic, and will, no doubt, uncover more stones and discover more fascinating information to share. She has inspired me to read about The East India Company, and increase my knowledge of its history and its impact on so many fronts. Thank you, Lisa. Well done.
Fantastic tour – super informative, amusing, learnt a lot. Many thanks!
An absolutely fascinating walk, covering the entire history of the East India Company and the places associated with it, many of which are visited during the walk. Lisa addresses the darker sides of the Company’s exploits, several of which are quite shameful, but also includes several ‘fun’ points of interest. The references she makes to her career as an island governor, which link nicely to the theme of the walk, are an added bonus.
Rowan Freeland –
Lisa tells a complex history through a series of stories in a thoroughly engaging manner. The result is a fascinating and enjoyable walk that left me wanting more!
Clement Giles –
Lisa provided a superb engaging walking history lesson. I joined this tour as an ex seaman with an interest in all matters shipping. I learned so much more about the East India company. A fascinating history of this company and indeed our History. The tour has inspired me to research more about the company and indeed St Helena. I would highly recommend this tour.
Such an informative and interesting tour. Would definitely recommend. I learnt a lot about the East India Company and got to see the City in a new light.
Thanks Lisa. An excellent introduction to the East India Company and the history of it’s London activities. Lisa has researched her topic well and created an interesting walk around the Company’s London locations, their offices, warehouses and places of worship. Her manner is friendly and easy so the walk is always lively and intriguing. But that’s not to say that she doesn’t tell it like it was for the harsher facts, she doesn’t gloss the darker part of the Company’s history. Definitely one of the better history walks. The East India Company ventures were so important to our social, cultural and commercial history. Let Lisa tell you the story and see London’s history in a different light! Highly recommended
Cynthia Rowe –
Had a brilliant tour with Lisa! It was fun, engaging and shook me out my complacency that I knew all about the East India Company! I learnt alot and particularly enjoyed the looking at this remarkable and often disturbing part of history through the grand buildings as well as the nooks and crannies of London. Would highly recommend this tour!
I just loved the Tour so expertly guided by Lisa today. Lisa has the most congenial personality and is both welcoming and engaging, sharing her personal interest and passionate knowledge of the East India Company with an infectious enthusiasm. She took us on a journey of discovery, so well paced and accessible from the genesis of the company from its small beginnings to its exponential growth and shocking excesses to its final demise. I cannot recommend Lisa more highly. Thank you
Stella Barlow –
Very interesting and enjoyable. The guide was excellent and extremely knowledgeable. I would thoroughly recommend this walk.
John Beale –
Lisa proved a knowledgeable and engaging guide. She brought to life the amazing exploits of the East India Company, its people and its overall legacy in shaping the modern world. Not only did the company rule India and lay the foundations for the British Empire under Victoria, but it also had a hand in the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party (American Independence) and the Opium Wars with China. Lisa showed us where it all began and how it developed until the company’s demise after the Indian Mutiny.