|The Old Bell bar|
I met my Context tour guide at The Old Bell bar on Fleet Street. Dating back 300 years, the pub was rebuilt after the Great fire of London and is exactly what I think a pub should be.
A very rainy day did not dampen the enthusiasm of my amazing guide and we were soon off to our first stop
The Brides Church.
|Tucked behind this entrance is a shady, quiet courtyard.|
As often happens while exploring a city, you can stumble upon the entrance to amazing places, small treasures tucked away from the main traffic.
St Bride’s Church on Fleet street, also known as The Journalist’s Church, has been the location of a church for centuries. From the long history, as described by my guide and found on the church’s web site, I learned that St. Bride’s is “know worldwide as the ‘journalists’ Church, a spiritual home to all who work in the media.”
|The Brides Church is also know as the Journalists’ Church|
Below this quiet oasis is remnants of Roman pavement and visitors are welcome to explore the narrow passage way with artifacts and original walls exposed.
We stopped at the Old Curiosity Shop only to find it closed and now selling shoes. Over the centuries the building has listed to the side a little. It is under a protective order so shall remain a wonderful reminder to the story Charles Dickens wrote and Little Nell and her grandfather.
Peering in the windows you can see wood floors, low ceilings, small doorways.
The Streets Dickens Walked
Most of the streets and alleys that Dickens wrote about have been replaced with office buildings and modern architecture. But a few small streets or narrow lanes still remain.
I was surprised to learn Dickens spent time as a law clerk in London and our tour visited many of the Inns of Court in London. The heavy rain may have kept the clerks and solicitors inside. All the courtyards were empty and quiet. I wonder if you can see wigged and robed barristers traveling too and from at other times?
- The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
- The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
- The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
- The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn
The Inns of Court in London, professional associations that English barristers join,function as offices, libraries training and sometimes dining facilities for barristers. 1
The British system is far different than that of the USA and it may take a bit-of-a-study to understand the Inn’s concept. A tour of the Inns alone would share a rich history of legal London.
|Fountain Court in the center of Middle Temple|
|Middle Temple hall|
|The dome over the round part of the church|
The round portion of the church has a wonderful group of carved stone faces, each with an original expression.
There is a wonderful collection of stone faces around the circular part of the church See more photos here.
My thanks to Context Travel London for this wonderful complementary tour.
1from Wickipdia as referenced