Official Guides to the City of London

David Gollancz

Languages:

English.

Themes:

Architecture, Financial Institutions, Legal London, Evening walks, City churches, Gardens and open spaces, General city tour, Literary tours, Medicine, Medieval London, Romans, Samuel Johnson, Samuel Pepys, Christopher Wren's London, St Paul's Cathedral, The Great Fire of London, The River Thames, Livery companies, Markets.

Biography

Hello!  Thanks for visiting my profile!  I’m a native Londoner, a barrister (trial lawyer) by trade and a lifelong lover of London’s streets and stories.  I offer a variety of walks.  Some have themes, such as the extraordinary women of the City; the evolution of the City as a financial centre; resistance and reform; the history of the Jews in the City; architecture (especially 20th and 21st century.  Some are focused on discovering the hidden histories and secret stories in an area of the City, such as Fleet Street, the Temple (the City’s legal quarter) or its fascinating bridges.  I aim to entertain as well as inform. 

I’m always happy to devise a walk to suit your interests, so if there’s something or somewhere you’d like to explore, get in touch! 

Qualifications

I was born in London and have worked in the City as a lawyer for many years.  Before becoming a lawyer, I was a writer and street performer in Merseyside and London

Guided Tours

From Boudicca to the Bishop - Exploring the lives of some of the City's colourful, courageous and creative women, from Queen Boudicca to the present Bishop of London, Sarah  Mulally.  Meet Anne Askew, poet and Protestant martyr; Elizabeth Fry, prison reformer; Dame Nellie Melba, soprano; Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman registered medical practitioner in UK; Rose Heilbron QC, the first woman judge at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey

Show me the Money - Tracing the development of the City as a financial centre from the mediaeval guilds and the livery companies to one of the world's international financial centres.  We will encounter Richard Whytyngdone (the Dick Whittington of pantomime fame), so wealthy that he could fund Henry V's French wars and then forgive the debt; Thomas Gresham, the Tudor wheeler and dealer who founded the Royal Exchange and created Gresham College;  Edward Lloyd, whose coffee house was the birthplace of the giant insurance market Lloyds of London; the Bank of England, established to raise money to rebuild England's navy after its disastrous defeat by the French; and Mike Bloomberg, billionaire former mayor of New York, whose magnificent European HQ is said to be the greenest office building in the world.

Revolution, Resistance and Reform - From the Peasants Revolt in the 15th century to Occupy London and Extinction Rebellion, through the religious conflicts of the Reformation and the English Civil War, the abolition of the slave trade and women's emancipation, the City has been the site of many of the most important struggles in our history.  We visit the sites of their struggles, defeats and triumphs.

Fleet Street top to bottom - From the statue of John Wilkes, the great radical MP (and enthusiastic member of the Hellfire Club), to Christopher Wren's St Brides Church (whose spire was the inspiration for the traditional tiered wedding cake and where Samuel Pepys was married), we meet among others Anna Coote and Tess Gill, successful claimants of sex discrimination against El Vino, Dr Johnson, his servant Francis Barber and his cat Hodge, and Charles Dickens, habitue of the Olde Cheshire Cheese pub.  We end the walk at the course of the Fleet, one of London' hidden rivers.   

Beauties and Beasts: an informative and opinionated tour - Discover some of the best and worst (in my opinion!) buildings in the City, ancient and modern.  The route will vary but may include Hendrik Petrus's superb Holland House and its neighbour the Gherkin, said to be London's first environmentally sustainable building (recently outdone by Norman Foster's Bloomberg building) the architectural gallery which is Wood Street, with buildings by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Eric Parry, Terry Farrell, Donald McMorran and Christopher Wren; St Mary Woolnoth, the only Hawksmoor church in the City or the Bank of England, whose rebuilding in 1925 was characterised by Nikolaus Pevsner as the greatest architectural crime of the 20th century.  Or it may not - the City probably has more fascinating, beautiful and hideous buildings than any other great city.

The Jews' Story - From 1066, when William I brought a community of Jews to England, to 1291, when Edward I expelled them, through their return in the 17th century to the present day, we tell the story of the Jews in the City, and in England, visiting the sites where the story unfolded.   

Your choice - I am always happy to devise a walk reflecting your interests - get in touch!