Many of those who join us for the Jack the Ripper tour are spending a day in London and are often on the look out for things to do to make the most of their day in this wonderful and fascinating city.
Our guided walk doesn’t actually start until 7pm, so what could you do during the day,prior to following our trail around the streets associated with the 1888 Whitechapel Murders?
Well, today we present the first in a monthly series entitled “Your Day in London” in which we detail some suggestions of things to do in London on the day of your tour.
OUR GUIDE TO A DAY OUT IN LONDON
1) One New Change. This would make a great beginning to your day, as it offers you one of the finest views in the Capital. It is situated across the road from St Paul’s Underground (and Cathedral) and it is in fact the City of London’s newest shopping mall. But, at its centre, you will find a glass elevator. Get into it, press fro level six and just look out of the pane as you, quite literally glide up the side of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Once up at level six, you’ll enjoy one of London’s most spectacular vistas as you gaze across the rooftops at buildings and landmarks as diverse as St Paul’s Cathedral, The Shard, The London Eye and, if you look closely, Big Ben (or, to be accurate, The Elizabeth Tower of the New Palace of Westminster as you can’t actually see Big Ben because it is, in fact, the name of the bell not the tower!). For more information please visit the One New Change website.
2) Visit the Museum of London. Having feasted your eyes on this view, why not learn all about the fascinating history of London? Exit One New Change onto Cheapside, veer left and cross to its other side. Go second right along St Martin Le Grand (be sure to take note of the Lord Raglan Pub as you pass it) and you will come to the Museum of London.
This wonderful museum takes you on a breathtaking journey through more than 2,000 years of London history. It’s all here from the Roman occupation, to the Norman conquest and on to the Blitz – peppered with a liberal sprinkling of plagues fires and sundry other events that, combined, help make London such a fascinating city. You can get more information on their website here.
3) A Great Pub For Lunch. A journey through more than 2,000 years of London history might well have left you somewhat peckish. Well, remember the Lord Raglan pub as you approached the Museum of London? They do great food and it is a brilliant hostelry. So, for lunch, make your way back to the pub and re-energise yourself with their pies or fish and chips and/or puddings. Best of all you can even book a table in advance on their website.
4) The Memorial To Heroic Self Sacrifice. Having replenished your energy levels, bid the pub a fond farewell and cross over the road towards the large tree opposite. Go in through the gates of Postman’s Park where, in the lean-to opposite you will find the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice.
This poignant memorial remember acts of heroism by ordinary men women and children who gave their lives whilst attempting to save the lives of others. It really is a wonderful place and some of the accounts detailed on the tiles bring a genuine lump to the throat. There is a history of the memorial on this page of our website.
5) St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Having read through these frozen moments of tragedy, exit the park via the opposite gate to that through which you entered, go right along King Edward Street and keep ahead into Little Britain.
When the road narrows at a large hoarding, go left through the gate into St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which has been treating the poor and sick of London since 1123.
Pause in the main square and look around at the façades of the buildings that were designed by James Gibbs and which date from 1702.
Having admired the hospital buildings, go right through the arch and go into the Hospital Museum (be warned the museum only opens Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.) Before you go inside, however, notice the early 19th century “Remember the Poor’s Box” to the right of the museum entrance. For full details of what’s inside visit the museum’s website.
6) St Bartholomew The Less. Having enjoyed the museum, exit right, go out from the arch and enter the church of St Bartholomew the Less.
On entering go left up the steps and pull back the green carpet to admire the Markeby brass, which commemorates William and Alice Markeby and is a rare survival in London of a medieval floor brass.Be sure to replace the carpet once you’ve admired their memorial and head up the right aisle where, above the organ, you will see the memorial to Robert Balthrope, who was the Sergeant Surgeon to Queen Elizabeth 1st.
Be sure to read his epitaph, which provides a wonderful lesson in how to get an awkward year to rhyme with the previous line!
7) The Henry The V111 Gatehouse. Leave the church and go right, exit through the gate, pause and look back and up at the Henry V111 Gatehouse, above which you will find only outdoor statue to Henry V111 in a public place that you will find in London.
The gate, which dates from 1702, was the work of Edward Strong, whilst the statue was sculpted by Francis Bird, both of whom were involved in the rebuilding of nearby St Paul’s Cathedral. You can read its full story here.
8) A Sherlockian Diversion. To the right of the gate (as you face it) is a red phone box which, at first glance, looks like any other London phone box. However, look a little closer and you will see that it is emblazoned with messages to one Sherlock Holmes.
It was from the roof of the hospital’s Pathology Department (the building behind the tree by the phone box) that Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes “apparently” leapt to his death at the end of series 2 of the BBC series Sherlock. Since his body “apparently” landed on the spot near this phone box it has now become a place of pilgrimage for distraught fans from all over the Globe who come here to remember and to leave their condolences.
You can get the full story and even watch the death leap here.
9) The Golden Boy. Walk past the phone box and cross to the other side of Giltspur Street to pause at its junction with Cock Lane. Up on the wall on the corner you will find the Golden Boy of Pye Corner who is marking the spot where the Great Fire of London burned itself out in 1666. Since the fire had begin at Pudding Lane and, in this section of the City at least, it ended at Pye Corner, Londoners came to see these as a message from God that the conflagration had been punishment for the sin of gluttony and they duly erected this monument in its memory, making the boy prodigiously fat to “enforce the moral.”
10) London’s Oldest Parish Church. Backtrack past the Sherlock Holmes phone box and Henry V111 gatehouse. As you walk along this section take note of the damage to the wall on the right. This is, in fact shrapnel damage from a Zeppelin raid on London in 1015.
Keep going past the memorials to Scottish patriot Sir William Wallace, the Martyrs who were burnt alive here in the reign of Mary 1st and the plaque that commemorates Watt Tyler – leader of the 1381 Peasants Revolt – who was stabbed to death near this spot by the then Mayor of London William Walworth, thus ending the uprising.
Keep ahead through the gatehouse and make your way to the final location of the day the wonderful church of St Bartholomew the Great, which dates from 1123, and which has the distinction of being the oldest parish church in London. This is the only location of the day that charges an admission fee (£4) but it is well worth it and it makes the perfect end to your day out in one of London’s most historic quarters. You can get all the necessary information on the church website.
If the timings have gone well, it should be around 5pm so, to end the day, pop across to the Rising Sun pub on the other side of the churchyard and enjoy the hospitality of a true locals pub.
And then its time to make the journey East for the Jack the Ripper experience.
Please ensure that you leave the pub by 6pm at the latest to ensure you make it to the walk on time.
Pass through Rising Sun Court next to the pub, go right at the solitary phone box, and walk along London Lane. Go over the Zebra crossing, veer right on its other side and then turn left at the traffic lights. Immediately on the left is Barbican Underground Station. Go through the ticket barrier and walk to the right platform. Be sure to get a Hammersmith and City Line train ( do not get a Circle Line or an Aldgate train) and take it to Aldgate East Station.
On arrival at Aldgate East Station, go right of the train, head up the stairs, go through the ticket barrier and leave the station via exit 4 on the right. Our Jack the Ripper tour meets on street level at the top of this exit at 7pm. Remember that you will need to have booked your places in advance.
So, there you have it, this month’s day in London. This will be the first in a series of days in London that we will be compiling and listing, so be sure to check back each month or, better still, give us a like on our Facebook page and join our community for more on East End history.