2,000 years ago the Roman’s established a trading port on the banks of the River Thames at a point where the river could be bridged.
Ever since then, that port, which they called Londinium and we call London, has been a major trading city. We have several London walks that explore the streets of the city tracing it from its Roman origins to the present day.
London’s history has not always run smoothly. Almost from its beginnings it has faced down triumph and disaster. In AD60 the Iceni Queen, led a revolt that almost saw the end of Roman occupation in England.
Leading a swarming army of angry tribes folk she swept into London, fired its buildings, and slaughtered in the region of 70,000 Romano-Londoners.
To this day, about 18 feet below the current street level there is a level of red ash, known to archaeologists as the Boudica layer, that remembers this first major disaster in London’s history.
It seems also that at some stage in the 120’s the city was again destroyed by fire.
The Romans departed these shores between AD407 and AD410 and since their departure London has seen many fires. The two most notable were in 1666, when the Great Fire of London destroyed the medieval City of London (we actually do this on our Great Fire of London walk) and again in the 1940’s when the bombs of the London Blitz razed the City once more.
This latter destruction is covered in great detail on our Blitz London walks, which tells the story of how, between September 1940 and May 1941, the bombs rained down as the Nazis tried to obliterate the financial powerhouse of the British war effort, demoralize the the population and destroy the historical centre of London. A huge amount of damage was inflicted on the City, thousands were killed and thousands more made homeless.
But the spirit of London stood firm. “London can take it” was the can do attitude that the people adopted and, spurred on by their great wartime leader Winston Churchill, London did indeed take it.
After the war, with much of the City a wasteland of destruction, London did what it has always done when faced with fire. It rose from the ashes, stronger and more vibrant. But, as happened so many times in it past, little pockets of the old city were left and still survive today, sometimes hidden away behind the new gleaming offices of the 21st century financial hub that the City of London has become.
This is the City that our London walks set out to explore and on our tours you can see Roman remains, medieval walls, ancient street patterns and lovely old churches, some in ruin, some still standing proud.
And on every street to the left of the street name you will see the coat of arms of the City of London, the emblem of the white shield with the red cross of St George. In its top left corner the short sword of St Paul, the patron saint of the City of London and the City’s motto emblazoned beneath it Dios Dirige Nos - O Lord Guide Us.
So why not join us on one of our London walks that explores this historic heart of the city where 2,000 years of fascinating history are just waiting to be discovered and uncovered.