A Square Mile & Some Black Kids
London Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
March 20th, 2008 – by: Isabetlog
The tour starts off at the Fish Hill Street station and goes around the square mile that was the original city of London walled-in by the Romans in the first four centuries. This historical walk-about doesn't come with any brochures so forgive the obscene lack of detail in this entry. My memory sucks eggs. But in a nutshell, the tour recounts London's early history from being the trade capital of the world thanks to the River Thames, to the Great Fire of 1666 that obliterated much of what was built, and how London has developed and expanded outward throughout the years to what is known today as Greater London.
We were taken to a number of churches (or what was left of them), and walked through the financial district (London still being the trade and finance capital ofthe world) towards the Leadenhall Market.
One more church garden later and we were in the Royal Exchange Building, erected in the 16th century as London's center of commerce .
The Square Mile waking tour ends at the London Guildhall. An ampitheater in the Roman period, it has transformed to where early Anglo-Saxons would pay their taxes, and later on to the present administrative and ceremonial center of the City of London. It may not sound too interesting, but there are still traces of the ampitheatre in the basement, plus an art gallery, a clockmaker's museum and a library inside, none of which I saw.
The next thing I needed to strike of my list was St. Paul's Cathedral, whose shadow I still hadn't seen! So my mom and I went on our way and as we approached the corner of the block, there was another man, this time middle-aged, lying on the sidewalk and blood oozing out of his head onto the pavement!! By the time I crossed the street a crowd had aready gathered around him and a man crouched over next to him was on the phone calling for help. Thank god, I wouldn't have known what number to call anyways. But I think I did see some bits of brain on his crown somewhere...or maybe just hair clumped up from all the coagulated blood? Despite my morbid curiosity, I couldn't stand to look. But what is it with me and all these mishaps?! First, that passenger incident in Euston the just last Tuesday, and now two men on the ground in one day? I walked away from the scene and wondered what on earth was going on and how I ended up being such a freak accident magnet.
It had started to drizzle by the time we got to St. Paul's Cathedral. The sky was grey so my mom sought shelter, but I managed to get a few shots shortly before the rain got stronger. I dashed for the side entrance where non-paying tourists are allowed. After only a few minutes in there, we were all asked to leave as a mass would be commencing shortly and they needed to clear the place of non-service goers. It was such a massive cathedral and so intricately adorned from floor to ceiling! And the dome! I couldn't get a clear view from where I was standing, and we decided since we really didn't have time to come back anyway - for £15 and no photography allowed - the most practical way to appreciate it at no cost would be to hear mass now. Of course, we was limited to one area, but at least we was able to get a better view of the central part of the cathedral.
A day of touring has ended and it was time to enjoy the nightlife. We headed back to the hotel where I would meet M for the XFM Big Night Out event at the Brixton Academy. My other friends, J&S picked us up at the hotel and we headed for Brixton. I couldn't believe I was actually going here, where many of many of my favorite bands have played! Tonight was the Futureheads headlining 3 other indie newbies. The Brixton Academy had been a cinema and a theatre when it was first built in the 1920s and has undergone a demolition threat after it was closed down in 1972. There were talks of it being turned into, of all places, a gas station but that plan fell through and it reopened in the 80s as a music venue.
First on stage was a band from Florida, the Black Kids, aptly named because of their roots. I had never heard of them before, but XFM, being an indie station, had picked up on their sound and brought them to the UK for some promotion. They were good fun and got the whole house to bounce along to their stuff. They started pretty late and by the time they ended, J&S had to get back home to let go of their babysitter. Good timing though since I was tired and used to taking my grandma pills. Besides, I had already seen and met the Futureheads before and M had an early train to catch to Edinburgh.
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