London in Depth & Quintessential Britain  

These are two of our Courses which deal with London.

.London in depth is a 10 day course, while the London part of the 3 Capitals and the Quientessiential Britain Courses offer a shorted but intensive stay in :London.

Photos sent in by road scholar travellers
  Books for the Course by Kevin Flude  

There are many books that can be recommended for reading before or during the course and a book list will be sent to you before the beginning of the course. However, you might like to consider the following books as suitable pre-reading. Every year about 50 books on London are printed - very few survive for a second printing. Currently, my 'favourite' book on London is:

Ackroyd, Peter, London a Biography. Chattos and Windo, 2000

It is opinionated, annoying, sometimes out of date but has fascinating information.

If you want a fictional introduction to London then you might try:

Rutherfurd, Edward ‘London’, Arrow Books 1998

He got at least some of his information from David Bentley - a friend and archaeologist from the Museum of London who is sadly dead now. I cannot find much in the book to fault although I did not find it satisfying myself. Many people really enjoy it though and tell me it gives them a really good introduction to the otherwise difficult-to-get-to-grips with waves of Celts, Romans, Saxons, Danes, Normans and so on.

If you enjoy myths and legends then read:

Geoffrey of Monmouth (Trans Lewis Thorpe) 'The History of the Kings of Britain'. Penguin Books 1966

I have written a short work which provides an introduction to the origins of London. This can be down loaded at: ‘www.chr.org.uk/anddidthosefeet.htm. Or you can buy my book at iuniverse or from me during the course.

In their Own Words

Guide to the History of London

  Roman London  

It is said that during their training they learn by heart a great many verses, so many that some people spend 20 years studying the doctrine. They do not think it right to commit their teachings to writing, although for almost all other purposes, for example, for public and private accounts, they use the Greek alphabet.

I suppose this practice began originally for two reasons: they did not want their doctrines to be accessible to the ordinary people, and they did not want their pupils to rely on the written word and so neglect to train their memories. For it does usually happen that if people have the help of written documents, they do not pay as much attention to learning by heart, and so let their memories become less efficient.

The doctrine of the Druids was invented in Britain and was brought from there into Gaul; even today those who want to study the doctrine in greater detail usually go to Britain to learn there...

Julius Caesar, The Battle for Gaul

Books to read - there are several books on Roman London, but the following two books are slim but well illustrated:

Bateman, Nick. Gladiators At The Guildhall. Museum Of London, 2000.

Rowsome, Peter. Heart Of The City Museum Of London, 2000

Chaucer Web Site:
  Medieval London  

'Among the noble cities of the world which Fame celebrates, the city of London, seat of the monarchy of England, is the one which spreads its fame more widely, distributes its goods and merchandise further and holds its head higher.'

'Moreouer the Citizens of London, wheresoeuer they become, are notable before all other Citizens in ciuilitie of maners, attire, table and talke.'

William FitzStephen

The Prologue of the Canterbury Tales – many editions in translation are available.

Chaucer, G ‘The Canterbury Tales’, Trans Nevill Coghill Penguin 1982

Chaucer, G ‘The Riverside Chaucer’ Ed. Benson, L. Oxford University Press 1987 – for those who want to read in the original medieval English.

Baker, Timothy. 'Medieval London' Cassell London. 1970

Coulton, GG 'Chaucer and his England'

Howard Donald R. 'Chaucer and the Medieval World', Weidenfeld and Nicolson. London 1987

Langland, William (Trans J.F. Goodridge) 'Piers the Ploughman' Penguin Books 1959

Spencer, B. 'Chaucer's London' Museum of London. 1972

Williams Gwyn A. 'Medieval London' Athlone Press. London. 1970

Museum of London
  Tudor & Stuart London  

Shakespeare’s London

This royal throne of Kings, this scept'red isle,

This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,

This other Eden, demi-paradise,

This fortress built by Nature for herself

Against infection and the hand of war,

This happy breed of men, this little world,

This precious, stone set in the silver sea,

Which serves it in the office of a wall,

Or as a moat defensive to a house,

Against the envy of less happier lands,

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.....

William Shakespeare: 'Tragedy of King Richard the Second'.


Beier A.L. and Finlay R. 'The Making of the Metropolis'. London 1500-1700'. Longman, 1986

Harrison GB. 'Introducing Shakespeare'. Penguin 1985

Kay, Dennis, 'Shakespeare, His Life, Work and Era', Sidgwick and Jackson 1992

Lloyd Evans, G. and B. 'Companion to Shakespeare', Dent 1985

Manley, Lawrence (Ed.).' London in the Age of Shakespeare' Croom Helm 1986

Nicholl, C, 'The Reckoning - The Murder of Christopher Marlowe' Picador 1993

Public Record Office. 'Shakespeare in the Public Records' HMSO 1985

Salgado G. 'The Elizabethan Underworld' Sovereign, 1977

Schoenbaum, S. 'William Shakespeare A Compact Documentary Life' New American Library 1986

Schoenbaum S. 'Shakespeare. The Globe & the World'. Oxford University Press. 1981

Historical Fiction

Burgess, A, 'Nothing Like the Sun' Vintage 1992

Burgess, A. 'A Dead Man in Deptford' Vintage 1993

Web Sites

Tudor and Stuarts

'More hath built near London upon the Thames side a commodious house, neither mean nor subject to envy, yet magnificent enough; there he converseth with his family, his wife, his son, and daughter-in-law, his three daughters, and their husbands, with eleven grandchildren. There is not any man so loving to his children as he; and he loveth his old wife as well as if she were a young maid; and such is the excellency of his temper that whatsoever happenith that could not be helped, he loveth it as if nothing could happen more happily. ... I should rather call this house a school or university of Christian religion; for there is none therein but readeth or studieth the liberal sciences.


Key Works

‘Utopia’ by Thomas More, Paul Turner(Translator). Paperback (January 1965)

Ackroyd, Peter ‘The Life of Thomas More’, Vintage 1999

Ashley, M 'The Glorious Revolution of 1688' Pather 1968

Hill C. 'God's Englishman - Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution'. Weidenfeld and Nicholson. 1970

Pepys, Samuel (Ed John Warrington) 'The Diary of Samuel Pepys' Dent 1906

Pepys. S (ed. Latham R.) 'The Illustrated Pepys' Bell & Hyman 1983




  The London of Charles Dickens  

'Down by the Docks they consume the slimiest of shell-fish, which seem to have been scraped off the copper bottoms of ships. Down by the Docks, the vegetables... acquire a saline and a scaly look, as if they had been crossed with fish and seaweed. Down by the Docks, you may buy polonies, saveloys, and sausage preparations various, if you are not particular what they are made of besides seasoning. Down by the Docks, the seamen roam in mid-street and mid-day, their pockets inside out and their heads no better. Down by the Docks, the shabby undertaker's shop will bury you for next to nothing, after the Malay or Chinaman has stabbed you for nothing at all: so you can hardly hope to make a cheaper end'. Down by the Docks were thousands of men hoping to achieve a day's wage which would seldom keep them above the poverty line. London's Docks epitomised an economic miracle in which most Londoners played no part.

From Sketches by Boz’ by Charles Dickens

‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens

‘David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens

‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens

Ackroyd, P. 'Dickens' Sinclair-Stevenson. 1990

Tomalin, Claire. 'The Invisible Woman' Viking 1990

Shepherd, Thomas. London in the Nineteenth Century. Frank Graham. 1970 (first published 1829)

Ackroyd. P (Introduced by) 'Dickens' London'. Headline. 1987

Flint, Kate. 'Dickens' Harvester Press. 1986

Forster, J. 'The Life and Charles Dickens' J.M. Dent 1966

Hardwick, M & M. 'Dickens's England' J.M. Dent. 1976

Paroissien, D. (Ed). 'Selected Letters of Charles Dickens' Macmillan Press. 1985

Robinson, Peter. 'The London of Charles Dickens' Midas Books 1979

Dickens, Charles. 'A December Vision - his social journalism'

  Modern London  

'And when he grew bored with all this information, he decided that it was time to return to St Mary Woolnoth ... he noticed that there was a gap between the back of the church and the next building - an open patch of ground .. I suppose,' he said, 'these are the excavations?'

..he suddenly descended into the site by means of a metal ladder. Tentatively he crossed around the edge of the open pits, smelling the dankness of the earth as he did so.

... 'And how far down have your reached? He asked her, peering into a dark pit at his feet.

'Well its all very complicated, but at this point we're down to the sixth century. It really is a treasure trove. As far as I'm concerned we could go on digging for ever.

'And as Hawksmoor looked down at what he thought was freshly opened earth, he saw his own image staring back up at him from the plastic sheeting.'

'Hawksmoor' Peter Ackroyd

Iain Sinclair ‘Lights Out for the Territory – 9 excursions in the Secret History of London’ Granta 1998

Any of the Rumpole books by John Mortimer

Peter Ackroyd ‘London’ – a biography’ Chattos and Windo, 2000

Martin Amis ‘London Fields. Vintage International 1991

Moorcock, Michael ‘Mother London’ Simon & Schuster 2000

Bell, Quentin 'Bloomsbury'

Woolf, Virginia 'Mrs Dalloway'

Woolf. Virginia ' Roger Fry a Biography'

Woolf. 'A Writer's Diary' Triad London 1978

Ed. Gillian Naylor. 'Bloomsbury' Pyramid Books. 1990

Lyndall Gordon. 'Virginia Woolf - A Writer's Life' Oxford University Press 1984

Web: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/history/index.htm




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Next Guided Walks:

Sat 2.30 18th Nov 2017 The Archaeology & History of Chelsea  - From King Offa to the Swinging 60s - Sloane Square Tube 

Sat 2.30 2 Dec 2017 Myths, Legends and the Origins of London - Tower Hill Tube

Sat 10.45 16 Dec 2017 Exploring Roman London - a Literary & Archaeology Guide Tower Hill Tube 

Sat 10.45 30 Dec 2017 Medieval & Reformation London  - Smithfield to the Guildhall  - Barbican Underground 

Sat 10.45 13 Jan 2018  Cromwell and More's Tudor London - St Pauls Tube Exit 2 


Sat 2.30 27 Jan 2018 William Shakespeare and Tudor & Stuart London -  Tower Hill Tube  

Sat 2.30 10 Feb 2018 The Archaeology & History of Southwark - From London Bridge to Bermondsey Abbey - London Bridge - Tooley Street exit

Sat 2.30 24 Feb 2018 The Archaeology & History of Rotherhithe - Rotherhithe Tube


Sat 2.30 10 March 2018 Cornhill - City of London Ward Walk -  Bank Tube Station Exit 3


Four Humours of Shakespeare

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The Four Humours of Shakespeare by Kevin Flude






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