Clerkenwell & Islington Guides – Walks and Events June 2023

Welcome to our listing of walks run by Clerkenwell & Islington Guides for June and July.

A couple of walks have dates for today (Sunday 4th of June), so if you are looking for a fascinating walk for a sunny Sunday, take a look at the walk below, as well as the walk “Forgotten Fun: Islington’s Lost Entertainments” further down the listing.

Bunhill Guided Walks: Poverty Preaching and Philanthropy

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, the saying goes. On this tour of the former Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury there is certainly plenty of Godliness although cleanliness might be another matter. This tour provides an insight into the origins of non-conformist religion and to the philanthropy, both religiously motivated and otherwise, that alleviated conditions in what was, by the latter part of the nineteenth century, one of the poorest and most deprived parts of London. Dissenters and debtors, burial grounds and social housing, a lousy church and a chapel that has been likened to a cathedral are just some of the contrasts we explore.

Walk Date: 4th June 2023 14:00, and the walk can be booked at this link.

Clerkenwell’s Lost Monasteries

This year Bart’s Hospital is celebrating its 900th anniversary on the same site that it was founded in 1123. It was originally part of St Bartholomew’s Priory, founded by a courtier of Henry 1 in thanks for surviving a bout of malaria while on pilgrimage to Rome. St Bartholomew’s was only one of four great religious houses in Clerkenwell that flourished for hundreds of years until Henry VIII closed them down. Come and see what is left of these once rich and influential priories and hear their stories – including the priors who lost their heads, the monks who went to war and the secret tunnels. Three of the Priories – St Bartholomew’s, The Charterhouse and the Order of St John – have a flourishing legacy to this day. Our tour does not go inside the surviving buildings but there are free museums that you can visit at both The Charterhouse and St John’s Gate and both also offer guided tours of their historic interiors.

The tour meets at Farringdon Tube station. It takes about two hours and finishes with a visit to the Clerk’s Well which gave Clerkenwell its name.

Walk Dates: 16th June 2023 6pm, 24th June 2023 2pm, 12th July 2023 2pm, 29th July 2023 2pm, 10th August 2023 6pm, 26th August 2023 2pm, 6th September 2023 2pm, 16th September 2023 2pm, 30th September 2023 2pm, and the walk can be booked at this link.

Forgotten Fun: Islington’s Lost Entertainments

On this two-hour tour we’ll be walking through the many ways that Islington has met that most unusual of human needs: the need to have fun.

Fun, like all culture, is subject to the whims of fashion, and Islington is littered with traces of activities and institutions that have gone from ubiquity to obscurity. We’ll explore Islington’s time as a land of pastoral excess; the antics of various rock-n’-rollers; the food; the fads; and the fights.

The walk begins outside Angel station and ends near Highbury and Islington station. Due to some mature themes, the walk is recommended for ages 15+.
Walk Dates are:

4th June 2023 13:00

7th June 2023 13:30

17th June 2023 13:30

And the walk can be booked at this link.

Bunhill Guided Walks: Private Philanthropy to Public Housing

Explore Bunhill, one of London’s most historic areas. We will visit an extraordinary church now used as a concert hall and pass Wesley’s Chapel, the birthplace of modern Methodism. The walk also takes in the Quaker Burial ground. We will learn about some of our greatest writers buried in Bunhill Fields and hear about the struggle for better housing which led to the building of some of London’s earliest housing estates. We will pass the site of the one of the greatest of London’s early Elizabethan theatres amidst the exciting gastronomic market of Whitecross Street. Finally, we will see how the hi-tech start-ups around Silicon Roundabout are mixing glittering modern plate glass developments with the traditional Victorian streets and hospitals of this ancient neighbourhood.

Walk Date: Saturday 24 June 2023 11:00, and the walk can be booked at this link.

Bunhill Guided Walks: Bone Yard to Baths

Sitting between today’s financial district and the Angel, Islington’s Bunhill ward is named after an ancient bone yard. It was once marshland outside the walls of the City of London, but for a while offered spas and London’s first outdoor public swimming pool. As urbanisation swallowed the fields, the area became industrialised and populated by tradesmen, the poor and the sick.

The legacy of the past is still visible, but this walk will also reveal some hidden architectural gems and tranquil open spaces. Discover its nonconformist burial grounds, one of the oldest regiments in the British Army, its 90 year-old public baths and wash-house and one of London’s most unusual churches.

Meet outside Moorgate tube station, the western entrance on Moorfields (follow signposts to Exit 1).
Walk Date: 9 July 2023 2pm, and the walk can be booked at this link.

Cultural Clerkenwell

Walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare and Dickens and see contemporary art in London’s oldest parish church.

Since the middle-ages, when religious pageants were held on the banks of the River Fleet and entertainers performed at the annual Bartholomew’s Fair, Clerkenwell has been a part of London steeped in cultural history.

Theatre, literature, music, film, architecture, food, sculpture and visual art spanning the last 900 years are all covered as we wander the streets and alleys of this atmospheric neighbourhood.

In addition to following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, along the way you’ll hear how William Morris, Agatha Christie, Vladimir Lenin, William Hogarth and Benjamin Franklin have all left their mark on Clerkenwell.

In London’s oldest parish church you’ll see a striking sculpture by one of Britain’s most controversial artists. Down hidden alleyways you’ll find out about one of London’s great 17th-century theatres, a pioneering architectural partnership and an unsung champion of classical music. You’ll also see why this historic area has been a location for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies. And you’ll get the chance to see close-up the site that gave Clerkenwell its name.

The tour lasts about 2 hours. It starts outside Barbican underground station (Hammersmith & City line) and ends at Farringdon station.

Walk Dates: Saturday 24 June 10.30am, Saturday 22 July 10.30am and the walk can be booked at this link.

Our next newsletter of walks and events will be on the first Sunday of July.