London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Enjoying London

My list of places to visit in London gets ever longer but as I’ve had lots of free time recently I’ve been making a stab at getting to some of them.  Funny how my plans never entirely materialise as intended though.

I was in town on Tuesday to sign on at yet another agency so the plan was to do one of the tours on my list.  There is the fortnightly tour of the Royal Courts of Justice at 11am or 2pm, the weekly tour of the Lord Mayor of London’s home the Mansion House or the almost daily free tour of the John Madejski Fine Rooms at the Royal Academy.

My first port of call was Shoe Lane Library to print some flyers.  When I finished my session on the computer I noticed that one of their free lectures was starting.  It was entitled “The Bowels of the City: Dirt, Disease and the Making of Modern London” so I stayed to listen.

On leaving the library I picked up a leaflet for the River Sounding exhibition at Somerset House.  It was a nice day so I thought it would be a good place to stop for lunch.  It was the perfect spot.  I sat in the sun watching the fountains and listening to the River Sounding sound installation in the background.  I must have sat there for 2 hours; all my plans went out the window as sitting in the sun was so perfect.

The following day I was back in London again so headed for the Royal Academy to do the aforementioned tour to find it wasn’t happening this week.  I did however stop to see the photography exhibition Relics of Old London.  A recce of my Mayfair walk followed and then on to Marylebone to explore for a possible new walk.  Walking past Sotheby’s I realised I had never yet made it in there to view any upcoming items for auction.  On 20th May there was an auction of photographs.  They may never again be seen in public but I saw them on Wednesday.  There were portraits by Irving Penn (there is a current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery) and by Andy Warhol.
  

Next Wednesday is an auction of 20th Century British art including works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and LS Lowry.  Viewing is on now from Sunday 23rd May to Tuesday 25th May.  Some of these items haven’t been seen in public for decades.  I must go.  Viewing of items coming up for auction is free and open to anyone – just stroll in. 

Just north of Selfridges I came across Manchester Square and the Wallace Collection which was at least one of the places on my list that I have been meaning to re-visit for years.  I didn’t have long enough but will return soon for a proper look.

The day finished listening to free live jazz at The Old Red Cow in EC1.  Unsurprisingly I was exhausted but happy.

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