Welcome to the September walks and events newsletter from Clerkenwell & Islington Guides.

Applications are now open for our training course, so:

Would you like to become a Clerkenwell & Islington Tour Guide?

We run an award-winning training course leading to a professional guiding qualification. Apply now to be considered for our next course starting in January 2024. For course details and to apply visit the “Our Training Course” page on our website:

This month we have a wide range of walks available, starting with a date for your diary, as Saturday the 7th of October is Local London Guiding Day where six of London’s guiding associations run free walks in their local areas:

The contribution to the day from Clerkenwell & Islington Guides is:

From Archers to Wizards

Meeting point: Outside Angel tube station, by the benches in front of NatWest bank, Islington High Street, N1 8XX.

Five hundred years of Islington history told through the people who influenced politics and culture. Meet the man who gave us drinking water and hear about an author who imagined a whole new fantasy world. Find out about a woman who gave away a great fortune, a pacifist MP, and a beloved princess whose untimely death changed the nation.

Details of all the walks can be found on the Local London Guiding Day website at this link.

Walking Tour of Cally Park

The history of Cally Park and the local area extends beyond the iconic clock tower itself. The park and local area hide many clues to the history of the cattle market and the subsequent “Cally” market, as well as stories of recreation and radicalism which you can explore in this park tour.

The tour provides an accessible alternative to our clock tower tours, there are not steps or stairs and people of all levels of fitness can attend.

Our guided tours are led by the highly experienced guides from Islington Guided Walks. Tours are free currently as part of our introductory offer. Space will be limited so please book in advance.
Walk Date: 7th September 2023 11am. Click here for details and booking.

Village Islington

Amid the cafes, estate agents and fashionable shops of Upper Street, today’s Islington has some clues to its rural and agricultural past. It was a different place 250 years ago. People came to enjoy the cleaner air and escape the City of London. It was a major route out of London and was dominated by cattle farming. On this walk we will uncover these clues, starting outside the Angel tube station and finishing near to Highbury and Islington tube station.
Walk Date: 1st October 2023, 11.00am until 12.45pm Click here for details and booking.

The Mary Wollstonecraft Tour

Follow in the footsteps of Britain’s best-known feminist!

  • Discover who she was
  • What she wrote
  • And why she still matters! 

Part of the ‘Walks through Women’s History’ series designed by me –  Johannah  the Poetry Guide –  in partnership with Newington Green Meeting House.

A round trip of an hour, starting and finishing with a cuppa at the Meeting House in Newington Green!

Walk Date: 14th September at 1.30 pm Click here for details and booking.

The Trailblazer Tour:  Putting the Poetry into the Place!

  • Who made it her mission to empower women and is linked to the first hospice in Europe for patients with HIV/ AIDS?
  • Who stood up for Jewish women’s rights and was described as having ‘a touch of genius’?
  • Who criticised Britain’s colonial project and defended the rights of animals in the 18th and 19th centuries?

Traces of their lives still exist along the Islington and Hackney borders! And women’s poetry tells us how and why they mattered!

Part of the ‘Walks through Women’s History’ series designed by me –  Johannah  the Poetry Guide –  in partnership with Newington Green Meeting House.

A trip of an hour and a half –  plus cuppa time at the Meeting House – starting at Dalston Kingsland Station.

Walk Date: 30th September at 10.00 am Click here for details and booking.

Regent’s Canal Regenerated

On this Sunday afternoon stroll along and around the Islington section of Regent’s Canal we will follow the history of the canal from its hey-day in the nineteenth century, through its decline in the 1960s to its subsequent re-invention as a place for people to live, work and play. We’ll see buildings old and new and hear stories of the canal past, present and future.

The walk takes about ninety minutes. It will start and finish at the City Road Basin, a short walk from Angel Tube Station, and is on the : 24th September 2023 at 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: 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 Date: 9th September 2023 13:30. Details and booking can be found at this link.

Caledonian Tower Tours

Tours take place on Saturdays and, during the summer, on some weekday evenings. The Saturday Tours cover the history of the Tower and Park while the weekday tours are shorter looking at the Clock and its mechanisms as well as affording the views from the top of the Tower.

Our guided tours are led by highly experienced guides from Islington Guided Walks. Tours are free currently as part of our introductory offer. Space will be strictly limited to 10 places so please book in advance. We will be operating a waiting list due to high demand.

I ticket is required per person (this includes children over 10. No ticket = no entry, if the tour is at capacity).

Dates are available during September. The booking link is here and the drop menu lists all available dates.

St Mary’s Church, Islington – A Guided Tour

Discover the history of Islington’s first parish church and enjoy a panoramic view across London from its 18th-century tower.

St Mary’s, Islington on Upper Street has played a central role in the history of Islington for a thousand years. During this time several different churches have stood on the site, leaving an eclectic range of architectural styles.

On this 90-minute guided tour you’ll learn about the 12th-century Norman church and its 15th-century medieval successor. In the 18th century it was completely rebuilt, lasting until 1940 when St Mary’s became the first London church to be destroyed in World War II. Only the tower and steeple survived the bomb; the main body of the church was rebuilt in 1956, a fascinating example of post-war reconstruction and design.

As well as providing a glimpse into the history of St Mary’s and how it has influenced Islington today, you’ll also have the opportunity to climb the 120 steps to the top of tower, giving you a bird’s-eye view over London.

This tour is now booking in September, and tickets can be found at this link.

Canonbury Tower Tour

Canonbury Tower was built in the late 16th century and is a rare survivor of Tudor domestic architecture in London. The Tower was added onto a manor house built in the early 1500s as the country retreat of the Canons of St Bartholomew’s Priory in Smithfield.

On this 90-minute tour you’ll see the existing Tudor interiors and hear about the many notable characters associated with the building. Over the centuries these have included Thomas Cromwell of Wolf Hall fame, Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, Francis Bacon and the writers Washington Irving (Sleepy Hollow) and Oliver Goldsmith (The Vicar of Wakefield). You’ll also have the chance to climb up to the rooftop which affords wonderful views over London in all directions.

Canonbury Tower is owned by the Marquess of Northampton and has been in the same family since the 16th century. All visitors are guests of the seventh Marquess, Spencer Compton.

This tour takes place on multiple dates in September, and can be booked at this link.

We hope you will find something of interest, and our next newsletter will be on Sunday the 1st of October 2023.