WCSIM History Walk – The Secret City, West of St Pauls Report

On Saturday 09 September, on the hottest day of 2023 so far, fifteen SIM members turned up at Caffé Nero, to take part in the Past Master, Martyn Wheatley’s, latest history walk, The Secret City, West of St Pauls.

It was another interesting, and fascinating day out, discovering hidden secrets and history, along the most winding of routes. It was enjoyed by all.

Our path followed the relics of The City’s medieval street layout, and Martyn brought to life the fascinating history of Postal Reform, the Cutler’s Livery, Newgate Prison, The Old Bailey, The Fleet Rookeries, a road that is actually part of Cambridgeshire, a very well-hidden pub called The Mitre (even more so, as it is now sadly shut on Saturdays!), the Postman’s Park’s heroes, Dr Johnson and his cat Hodge, the Knights Templar, the remarkable Fleet Street printing history, Barnards Inn and Gresham College, not to mention Shakespeare’s friend Richard Burbage’s Playhouse Theatre, and even the site of the Bard’s own home, finishing with the origins of the YMCA and finally the wonderful Temple Bar Gateway.

Not bad for a day out!

Oh, and there was lunch at one of the oldest pubs in London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, where the wallop was good too.

Martyn explaining the history of Cutler’s Hall – Thanks again to Alan Budge for this photo.

The day’s walk had been based on a route, from the excellent book, Andrew Duncan’s Favourite London Walks of London, published by New Holland. Do find yourself a copy – it is one of the best walking books available for London.

The next SIM history walk will be in the Spring of 2024 and is ‘Following the Regents Canal’. That walk will start on the canal spur, right behind Paddington Station, and then go around Little Venice, before working its way along the canal, heading East, past Lords Cricket Ground, behind London Zoo, and down to Camden Markets for lunch. Do try not to miss it.

Report by Martyn Wheatley