RIP the man who gave the world the historic walking tour

Vale Keith.

Keith Baverstock was the man. Keith was the fabled Australian who founded London Walks over half a century ago. Founded the oldest urban walking tour company in the world – the template for high-quality walking tours around the world.

Keith died last Friday. His wife Fiona wrote to us this morning. Told us about Keith’s passing.

This podcast is dedicated to Keith. It’s a four-parter: a very brief intro from me,  Fiona’s email and my response, a poem, and the obituary Fiona wrote for her husband.

Five choice phrases:

“we die three times”

“Keith’s been the foundation and the inspiration to everything London Walks”

“He became his admirers…now he is scattered among a hundred cities”

“this day when one did something slightly unusual”

“The final words are Keith’s. They will be on his tombstone. They are: ‘I’d rather be cruising with Fiona'”

2 responses to “RIP the man who gave the world the historic walking tour”

  1. Tony Brett Young says:

    I’ve just seen this sad news, curiously when I was googling Keith’s name for an article I’m writing.
    I joined Keith and London Unlimited (as it was then) in 1971- 50 years ago. Like Keith I was a young Australian fascinated by the history and tales of London. I asked if he needed guides, and after telling me there would be a rigorous training and testing programme, he called on me just three days later to fill in for an absent guide on his Tudor and Stuart London walk. “I have some good notes and maps,” he said. After a very nervous and uncertain start I was hooked, and over the next 15 years or so, led more than 40 different London walks for Keith and his successor Ian. Keith’s London initiative was a stroke of genius, and what he lacked in David Tucker’s attention to organisational detail he made up for with imagination and flair. Vale Keith.

  2. David Tucker says:

    Lovely comment. And delighted to hear from you, Tony. If you’re still in London and you’d like to have a catch-up moistened by a pint or two please get in touch. Needs must say – just for the record, you understand – this is the first time I’ve ever been accused of “attention to organisational detail.” That’s all down to Mary – I’m an unmade bed. Always have been, always will be.

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