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The Gentle Author’s Tour Of Spitalfields

September 4, 2021
by the gentle author

Map of the Gentle Author’s Tour drawn by Adam Dant

I invite you to join me in an experiment. Over the years, many readers have asked me if I would host walking tours, telling the stories of people I have written about.

It was an idea I was reluctant to pursue until now. What changed my mind was the realisation that there needs to be an engaging alternative to the ghoulish tours that currently dominate Spitalfields, dwelling upon the details of the Whitechapel murders and which are – in effect – premised upon violence against women.

Drawing on my stories published in these pages over the past twelve years, I have devised a new walking tour of Spitalfields. Ramble with me through two thousand years of culture in the heart of London and encounter some of the people and places that make this historic neighbourhood distinctive.

I invite you to join my tour in the footsteps of all those who came before, with a keen eye and an open heart, to discover the manifold wonders of Spitalfields.

Tours will take place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th, and on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September, hosted by The Gentle Author and starting outside Christ Church, Spitalfields, at noon.

(18th, 19th, 25th & 26th September are sold out)

Two extra tours announced on Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd October at noon.

Tickets cost £50 and include a signed copy of one of The Gentle Author’s books as a souvenir.

Email to reserve a place. Please give your first and second choice of date and specify which book of mine you would like. Numbers are strictly limited.

Christ Church Spitalfields

20 Responses leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    September 4, 2021

    Well, I’m totally jealous of those who get to accompany you. I’m in Vancouver *sigh*

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    September 4, 2021

    This sounds like a great idea! There are so many interesting stories and characters associated with Spitalfields that your tours should be fascinating.

    Unfortunately I have already got things happening on both those weekends so I hope that the experiment is successful, and that you do more tours in the future…

  3. Esther Wijnbeek permalink
    September 4, 2021

    I would love to take a tour in London guided by you đŸ™‚ Wish I were on the other side of the waters……

  4. September 4, 2021

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a great idea. I only wish I were returning to London in September. Alas, I am not.

    I feel that I am somewhat familiar with the terrain having read your blogs for so many years. I would love to meander Fournier, Folgate, and Princelet Streets, along with Brick Lane in your company. And oh to stand on the steps of Christ Church.

    Wishing you the best in your new venture …

  5. Linda Granfield permalink
    September 4, 2021

    Now if Toronto were just closer….

    A brilliant idea! Fortunate are those who are able to accompany you. I’m sure the reviews will be glowing.

  6. Jennifer Newbold permalink
    September 4, 2021

    Wonderful!! I wish you the greatest success! Sadly I will not be in London in September–although I will be there for a week in October, so should you decide to do it again…

  7. Miriam permalink
    September 4, 2021

    I do so thoroughly agree that there seems to be a preponderance of thoroughly gruesome and misogynistic tours concentrating on the grotesque underbelly of urban life, not on the stories that help us understand the urban experience of our forebears.

    I do hope your experiment is a success. More power to your elbow! And social distancing is pretty easy, so a double thumbs up. All the best!

  8. Saba permalink
    September 4, 2021

    GA, The tours sound lovely, wish I were in London to attend.
    If the Covid rules permit, I suggest that an opportunity for the participants to socialize be included. People, particularly travelers, are longing for more connection and the tours could very possibly expand the community of those interested in the preservation of the East End.
    Best of luck with these, should go well.

  9. Peggy McDonald permalink
    September 4, 2021

    Oh, if only ! I’m a long way from England, in Ontario, Canada. Love your posts, Gentle Author – meeting and speaking with you would be marvelous. Thanks for the daily treat, and I hope everyone enjoys the Spitalfields Tour. (((((hugs)))))

  10. September 6, 2021

    All your distant admirers! Well, here’s another, for I live in New Zealand. I would be visiting my daughter in London and brother in Devon (where you originate, I believe!), if it were not for the restrictions imposed by Covid and the inconvenience of employment.

    I would love to join one of your walking tours, however. Perhaps next year, if things improve and you offer the opportunity again.

  11. Bert Woodruff permalink
    September 6, 2021

    Hoping to join one of your future tours. From the responses to this Spitalfields issue, it looks like I’m one of many who are presently on the wrong side of the Atlantic. Ah well, patience, patience.

  12. Debra Matheney permalink
    September 6, 2021

    Would you consider a video for those of us not in London? We follow the blog from far flung places. (I am in California.). I would pay for a tour and would love to see the places you write about having spent only an evening in Spitalfields to tour Dennis Severs’ home, a highlight of my many times in London.

  13. Su C. permalink
    September 7, 2021

    Oh! THIS would be worth a trip to London from the States. I’ve seen and experienced so many things and places in Spitalfields because of your writings – what a TREAT this will be for those fortunate enough to accompany you! I’m green with envy.

  14. Janet Wheatley permalink
    September 9, 2021

    I would love to join y9u, but am too far away. I am an old girl of Central Foundation School for girls and know and love the area. I walked round it for 8 years, when the old market was there. They should never have closed the school.

  15. Wendy Mitton permalink
    September 14, 2021

    I add my voice to those on the other side of the Atlantic and not able to make it this time at least. Here’s hoping that changes soon.

  16. September 16, 2021

    Will your tour cover the Siege of Sidney Street?


  17. Helen Finch permalink
    September 21, 2021

    I’d love to join you in future – please let me know if you set up more dates!

  18. Yvonne (Buffman) Cheyney permalink
    September 22, 2021

    I am also in California (sister of Audrey Kneller who submitted a couple of articles on Elder Street) and wouldn’t it be great to be able to see a video. If one is made, please let us all know how to purchase. Yvonne Cheyney

  19. Miss P Touw permalink
    July 7, 2022

    Dear Gentle Author
    Recently Oma, Arlie TOUW at the Dutch Church in central London, recorded verbally and in print her story about living in Holland when the Second World War ‘touched Holland’ and how she eventually escaped to England with her then 3 little boys to Safety.
    I red her story on Spitalfields.
    I would very much like a hard copy. Please advise me where I can acquire a hard copy of her war story. Thank you.
    Also if you were able to forward your telephone number to me, I would be happy to call you. Thank you.
    Miss Patricia TOUW

  20. Andy permalink
    July 2, 2023

    I hereby praise the Gentle Author as a very kind and sincere man.

    Andy Strowman

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