London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

A Walk In The City (And Beyond) - The Continuation

29/08/2002, By Candice Caster

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 15347 votes

Not quite yet wishing to say goodbye to the City, we walked to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, where we had the first of what was to be several meals over the next few weeks in the candle-lit Chop Room. Afterwards, we walked down Fleet Street, following the many signs pointing the way to “Dr. Johnson’s House.” Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote the first English-language dictionary.

Dr Johnson's House - Interior

We decided to go inside and, alone except for one other couple, took our time wandering through this lovely house where picture taking was permitted. And it was here that we learned of the existence of the newly opened Handel House, the home in London of the great composer where he wrote “The Messiah” as well as many of his other famous works.

We were told that every Thursday evening a musician was present to perform for the visitors, we added this to our mental agenda as a “must” for the following Thursday.

We wandered off down some of the winding lanes, discovering treasures such as the remains of Clifford’s Inn: the gatehouse to the legal college (“Inn of Chancery”) dating from the 14th century. Back on Fleet Street, we passed Fetter Lane where the Great Fire had stopped its aggressive push through the old City.

We had now walked from the fire’s origin on Pudding Lane to its end. We saw the timber-framed Prince Henry’s Room, a former pub remarkable for having the oldest wooden-paneled room in London. We came to the Temple Bar Memorial - a griffin (dragon), the emblem of the City of London, mighty and ferocious against the backdrop of chimney pots.

This marks the division between the City of London and the City (Borough) of Westminster, and it is at this location that the Lord Mayor meets the monarch with the presentation of a special sword when the Queen or King wishes to enter the City. Not performed often these days, this ceremony did take place recently during the celebration of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee when she entered the City on her way to St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Jubilee service in her honor.

Now on the Strand, we were enjoying this walk of our own. We were delighted to find Twinings Tea Shop along our route where, of course, we had to go in and make a few purchases. Directly across the street stood the Gothic-style buildings of the Royal Courts of Justice, home to the civil courts and the High Court.

We strolled on down the Strand and came upon the traffic island with St. Clement Danes, the church of the Royal Air Force, whose bells are well known for the chiming of the popular nursery rhyme, “Oranges and Lemons.”

A little further down was the church of St. Mary-le-Strand, nearly lost in the center of the avenue on an island of its own.

We stopped at Somerset House; this distinctive 18th century building, originally built for government offices, now houses exhibitions from the Hermitage in Russia and several art galleries.

We stood awhile in the courtyard and watched the skaters on the outdoor ice skating rink near the Christmas tree. It was at this point we realized how close we were to Covent Garden, and that reminded us of our plans for the evening. It was time to return to our flat.

We needed to get ready to spend the evening with Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. We had tickets for “My Fair Lady,” a musical that had endured, withstanding the tests of time, with an attraction and appeal as great now as in the beginning. Could that not be said about most of what we had seen that day in the City?

Candice Caster

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Re: A Walk In The City (And Beyond) - The Continuation

By Mikala Roth 05/09/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 14494 votes)

What an excellent article - I felt as if I was there enjoying it as much as Candice and her husband! The pictures add such a nice touch as well. Superb article!

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