Rebels, Radicals and Rough Justice: Historic Clerkenwell
Hi! Welcome to this tour of revolution and rough justice in London.
You should have just emerged from Farringdon Station. Stand in the open area in front of the entrance while I tell you about the station, and this walk.
Farringdon station was the terminus of the first Underground line in the world. The line was built in 1863 to take people from Paddington to their place of work in the City of London. Steam engines drove the open carriages 3.5 miles under London's streets. Old photographs show men in bowler hats standing huddled together with steam billowing through their hair. Today, Farringdon is one of London's most modern and complex stations.
On our walk we will be following the footsteps of Wat Tyler and William Wallace, who met violent deaths, and of Lenin, who lived here before he overthrew the Russian Tsar. We'll see three ancient monasteries and London’s oldest hospital. We'll finish by the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court. This was built on the site of Newgate prison, where many famous inmates were incarcerated before being publicly executed.
My name is Brian Cookson. I spent most of my working life in London and after retiring I qualified as a London Blue Badge Guide. During my life in London I have seen an extraordinary transformation of previously dirty and dangerous areas just outside the city centre into exciting modern locations. Wealthy people, including artists and writers, have moved in. Property prices have shot up, but fortunately much of the ancient structure has remained.
Before we get going, let me explain briefly how this works. VoiceMap uses your location to play commentary automatically. You can put your phone in your pocket, and focus on your surroundings. Some silence is normal. You'll hear my voice when you get to each location, and I’ll give you directions to keep you on track.
So let’s get going! If you’re facing the biggest and most modern of the two station entrances, turn to your left. Now walk to the end of this open area, and cross the street ahead. I’ll meet you outside the pub called ‘The Castle’, on the corner.