Tuesday 23rd February – 8th meeting of 2016
A meeting today at Charing Cross and then the short walk to Covent Garden Underground where we waited to join ‘Behind Closed Doors’ a walk organised by London Walks. You may know the organisation. One of London’s oldest walking groups and famous for the white leaflets publishing all the walks available.
Outside Covent Garden station were about 20 people and we were met by our guide Brain at 10.30 am. We paid our fee £8.00 for Super Seniors (65s+) and he then gave us a really interesting talk on the history of Covent Garden which was originally royal ground and that through its long history has been a convent, hunting, entertainment area and that now today is a tourist area with history in every brick!
It was a fascinating walk and took us into many places around the whole area. We went into Theatre Royal Drury lane and was told that the first theatre to be built here was in 1663 and that this is the fourth theatre and was built in 1812 and is now owned by The Really Useful Company. It has produced many shows of all types over its lifetime.
We went into the Lincolns Inn Fields and the Royal College of Surgeons to see the Hunterian Museum an astonishing – and unique – collection of medical specimens bequeathed by the greatest surgeon of John Hunter. The exhibits here were amazing but personally I don’t really find them good to look at!
We saw The Old Curiosity Shop that is featured in Dickens books and the LSE university which has many buildings and is used by many international students to study. A walk to the end of the Strand and into St Clements Danes Church the central church of the Royal Air Force. This is a beautiful church light and airy. There has been a church here since 9th century. The present building received a direct hit from an incendiary bomb in 1941 and all that remained were the outer walls and the tower. In 1958 after a world-wide appeal it was restored and re-Consecrated as the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.
From here we walked to the Royal Courts of Justice and after the security checks we went into the main hall of the Courts. It is an amazing place. Very spacious and high ceiling and the whole area decorative. Here Brian our guide left us. A few of us went to Court number 13 and sat for a short time listening to an appeal case which was something to do with insurance fraud but really I couldn’t understand what was going on! I think maybe a return visit is needed!
From here we tried to get a cuppa but as it was by now lunch time all the cafes, pubs etc were full of workers. We decided to go to Somerset House and try and glad to say we were successful although some of the group had given up and gone straight to the station and home. The rest of us enjoyed a well deserved sit down and cup of tea! After which we walked to Charing Cross and home after a really enjoyable mixed day!