Guided Walks: The Weird History Of Finsbury And Clerkenwell

The view from Finsbury, by M@.

Don’t mention psychogeography. We mentioned it once, but think we got away with it. Robert Kingham, genial guide to the lower slopes of Islington, doesn’t like the word, preferring to call his obsession the more prosaic ‘local history’.

But his three hour walk around Finsbury and Clerkenwell looks and smells like psychogeography, with tales of vanished rivers, semi-mystical Victorian authors (De Quincey, Machen) and the enduring character of certain areas throughout the centuries.

We joined Robert a couple of months ago on a (five hour!) preview of his Grey Soul of London walk, and picked up our own enduring character on Exmouth Market in the shape of a belligerent drunk, whom Richard deftly brought into the story.

The amble took in several excellent pubs, past forgotten bomb shelters, into the Fleet Valley and through the lives of many historic characters who once walked the same streets. Having tried tens of guided walks over the years, this comes close to the best.

Tickets are still available for the walk, in association with the Museum of London, on 8 and 11 May, for £9 (£7 concessions). Book here by searching for ‘grey soul’.

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  • Jez001

    Sounds great, will check out the walk. A recent walk I attended was one called Unseen Tours by Sockmob, They help the homeless and your guides are indeed homeless or have been. My guide was very knowledgable regarding the history but you also get the real ‘street’ knowledge that you could only hear from someone who had to make it their home.

    http://sockmobevents.org.uk/unseen-tour/