Despite being running for nearly ten years, London Studies 1 is still managing to find fascinating places to research and visit for its April expedition to the Capital. Ably led by Pat Jones, the group first visited City Hall known affectionately by some as the ‘Onion’. The building is well worth a visit, free to enter after a security check and well worth it for the views of from the building and a close up of its unusual architecture.
After visiting City Hall, Pat led us over Tower Bridge with a brief stop for a history lesson about the bridge. The walk along the embankment past the Tower of London was the opportunity by Pat to summarise some of the more unusual facts about the Tower and its connections with Kent – much of the stone for its walls came from the Ragstone quarries around Maidstone.
The most memorable part of Pat’s tour was the visit to the ruined church and now garden of the St Dunstan in the East. The church was badly damaged by the Great Fire of London and had a new tower built by Sir Christopher Wren. The church was severely damaged by a German bomb in 1941 but never rebuilt. It was converted into a lovely public garden in 1967 and is very much an oasis of calm – well worth a visit – St Dunstans Hill, near Tower Hill and Monument tube stations.
As with many of its research and study trips, the group found a historic pub - the Walrus and the Carpenter – famous for its connections with Old Billingsgate fish market directly opposite.