Find out more about the devastating fire of September 1666 that destroyed 80% of the old City of London with DON BROWN
Starting in the small hours of 2 September in a baker’s house in Pudding Lane, the Great Fire of London burned for four days, destroying over 13,000 houses, 80 churches and Old St Paul’s Cathedral. It made tens of thousands homeless, and killed an unknown number of people.
In this online tour, we’ll trace the progress of the destruction, hear eyewitness accounts and examine the city that emerged from the ashes, including Christopher Wren’s magnificent new St Paul’s.
RACHEL PEARSON takes us on a virtual tour of the English lakes – loved by walkers, tourists and romantic poets for generations.
The Lake District is one of the most scenic areas of England. With majestic mountains, breath-taking views and crystal-clear lakes; there is plenty for any fan of the countryside to enjoy.
But this area is more than just a pretty face. Join Rachel as she discusses the ancient origins of this part of the world, some of the poets and writers who have been inspired by its beauty, the often over-looked towns and cities and how this came to be such a tourist hot-spot. Rachel, who was born in the Lakes, will also reveal the success behind a locally produced mint flavoured sweet and why this area is known for its pencils!
Discover the secrets of Bletchley Park’s codebreakers and the cracking of Enigma in this online talk with DON BROWN.
Bletchley Park was the wartime home to a unique group of individuals, including geniuses like Alan Turing, Bill Tutte and Gordon Welchman.
Here the German’s ciphers were broken, shortening the war by two years or more and saving millions of lives.
You will hear how this incredible organisation evolved from the codebreakers of WW1, the systems that produced ‘Ultra’ intelligence, the men and women who worked at ‘BP’, and the role of Winston Churchill.
For anyone interested in the secret history of the Second World War, this will be a fascinating 60 minutes.
TIM BARRON shares some of the wonderful stories about the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the area surrounding ‘Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress’.
We start our virtual tour of historic Tower Hill on the North bank of the River Thames overlooking her Majesty’s Palace and fortress the Tower of London. Let’s circle this UNESCO world heritage site dating from 1066 and see how it has influenced and been influenced by the surrounding area. All Hallows Church by the Tower with its roots back to 675 A.D. can boast Samuel Pepys climbing its tower to view the 1666 Great Fire of London. It is a wonderful vantage point, to view the notorious Trinity Square execution site, which has witnessed 3 times more beheadings, than the more famous Tower gibbet. Trinity House has been the home of the UK‘s maritime administration since 1767, located next to the former home of the Port of London Authority, it demonstrates the maritime heritage of this area.
The Emperor Clodius Albinus built walls around Roman Londinium, attempting to keep marauders out and Londoners in, and you can still see much of these magnificent structures today.
We will explore stories from the Tower of London, including the Bloody Tower and Traitors’ Gate and talk of the fabulous gold & silver Crown Jewels, securely kept within the Waterloo Barracks, guarded by Beefeaters and watched over by the ravens. Of course we will include stories of Tower Bridge, adventures of a red double-decker bus in 1952 and a certain American President in 1997 and ……. so much more.
RACHEL PEARSON gives a short history of that quintessentially British beverage – the cuppa!
When people think of the UK, they often think of grey skies (rain!), soldiers in big black furry hats and, more often than not, tea being drunk in vast quantities.
In this talk on the history of tea drinking, we will discover how and when tea was brought over to Europe and why it has remained so popular in Britain in particular.
We will learn about the tea trade; the ships that carried the goods that were being exchanged and the knock-on effect this trade had throughout the world. And we will discover just what ‘high tea’ is and some of the best places to experience it.
This time eight years ago, London was getting ready to host the Olympic Games. They turned out to be one of the most successful Games in recent history for a variety of reasons:
8.8 million tickets were available for events, and on the busiest day over 3 million spectator journeys were made in London alone
The opening ceremony had a global audience of 900 million
Team GB and Paralympics GB were awarded 185 medals between them, placing Great Britain third on both medal tables
However, it is the transformation of the part of East London that hosted the Games that is the most enduring part of the success.
The bespoke Stadiums and arenas that were built, including the Aquatics Centre, the Copperbox, and Velodrome remain in constant use, having cleverly adapted to meet the needs of locals after the Olympians returned home. Affordable housing has replaced the Athletes village, with residents also being able to take advantage of the improved transport links that were made before the Games began.
On top of this, the Olympic Park Development Committee decided to leave a lasting green legacy. There are over 120,000 species of flowers, shrubs, trees and grasses growing in the Park. Various wildlife zones were created, one of which is a wetlands area. The boggy land helps sustains wildlife and to manage heavy rainfall by filtering and cleansing the rainwater before storing it for re-use in irrigation and toilet flushing. The developers have likened this to the job of human kidneys!
Insects thrive in the marshy conditions and in turn provide a rich food source for other birds and animals. The vegetation also provides shelter for mammals such as otters, and even water voles which are a threatened species, make their home here.
And the transformation isn’t finished. A new £1.1bn area of culture, education, innovation and growth – perhaps the 21st century equivalent of what must have happened in South Kensington after the Great Exhibition – is planned for this part of East London.
The aim is to have a centre for artistic excellence, academic learning, research, innovation, performance and exhibitions.
The main organisations that will have a presence here are the BBC, Sadlers Wells, UCL (University College London), UAL’s (University of the Arts London) College of Fashion and the V&A.
Join LEO HEATON for a virtual walking tour of this exciting corner of the capital to discover the very best street art in London.
Shoreditch and Spitalfields are vibrant areas in the East End of London, associated with street food pop-ups, ‘designer’ coffee, hipster culture, and some of the most incredible urban art you will see anywhere in the world.
Leo will explain the timeline of how this area went from ‘no-go’ to ‘must-see’ in the eyes of many visitors, and will introduce you to some of the best graffiti being created by major British and international artists working at the moment. From huge wall murals and three-dimensional creations to tiny stickers and political ‘paste-ups’, get ready to embrace your inner Banksy for a slice of London at its most contemporary!
Step back in time as DON BROWN reveals the secrets of Churchill’s wartime bunker in this virtual tour.
We’ll go behind the scenes at the Churchill War Rooms, looking into the Cabinet Room, the top secret Map Room and into Churchill’s bedroom.
Hear about the tense meetings during the dark days of 1940, Churchill’s fraught relationship with his military commanders, how life underground was carried on as bombs fell across London, and how victory was ultimately plotted in these rooms.
Usually one of the capital’s most popular visitor attractions, the confined space of the War Rooms are likely to remain closed for some time, so this may be one of your few opportunities to visit (albeit virtually).
For anyone interested in the history of WW2, the Blitz or the life of Winston Churchill, this will be a fascinating glimpse into the past.
DON BROWN shows us some more of the greatest treasures of the British Museum in this 60 minute Zoom tour of seven objects associated with Britain.
“Outstanding. Intelligent, articulate and friendly. You feel involved and inspired, not just led around. His British Museum tour is the only one you really need to do.”
“an in-depth look at the Museum highlights with lots of interesting anecdotes. Highly recommended.”
There’s a mysterious Bronze Age cape made of gold, a mummified Iron Age man, the Roman face of Christ and the face of an anglo-saxon warrior. We’ll also hear all about the Lewis chess pieces, be stunned by the artistry of a medieval guitar, and see a beautiful gold cup owned by four royal houses of Europe.
DON BROWN examines the life of this complex character through the places in London where he lived and worked.
Over the course of his long life Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), was involved in most of the great events of the period.
As well as his life in politics, we’ll discuss his long marriage and his family, look at his very unhappy childhood, and his career as a soldier. For anyone interested in this towering figure of the 20th century, this will be a fascinating 60 minutes.
“good materials and spins good stories”
“Well done presentation — organized, knowledgeable, and passionate”