I remember the first time that I went London. It seemed that everyone was in a race. People ran for the buses. Others ran to hail a taxi. Many ran to the train station. Those not running walked quickly. No doubt they had good reason to run. London I soon discovered moved at a quick pace.
Yet, it also reflected times past. I walked down the Strand to Charing Cross Station where Charles Dickens had once worked as child labourer in a factory. Crossing the road, I came to Trafalgar Square and looked up to see Lord Nelson’s image looking down up upon me. All around me, people went by in a never ending sea of movement. I joined some of them by walking down Whitehall towards Downing Street. I looked at the famous No 10 house and thought of Winston Churchill amongst other Prime Ministers. Next, I visited the Houses of Parliament and heard Big Ben striking the hour. Inside the politicians debated and I reflected on how Emmeline Pankhurst led the women’s suffragette movement to gain equal rights, but was rejected by the male politicians of the day. From there, I turned westwards and went to see Buckingham Palace and imagined what it would have been like to have had tea with Queen Victoria.
Maybe it was about that time that I got the idea of interviewing those who had made a great contribution to London. I have now done so and the book Amazing People of London will appear in the bookshops early in 2010. William Shakespeare talks about his time at The Globe Theatre, and Charles Barry outlines how he developed the Houses of Parliament. There will also be an audio tour of London and Queen Elizabeth I talks about the Tower of London where she was imprisoned for a while. Lord Nelson tells you why he is on a column in Trafalgar Square. These and other people who made London a great city outline how they contributed. So, I will let you know when the book and the audio are published.
Who would you like to meet from yesteryear to give you a tour of London?
Thanks to mtl shag for the use of the flickr photo