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Save Spitalfields From The Serial Killer!

February 15, 2022
by the gentle author

Help me launch a COMMUNITY TOURISM PROJECT as a BETTER ALTERNATIVE to the serial killer tours that monetise misogyny.


Map of The Gentle Author’s Tour of Spitalfields designed by Adam Dant


There are so many other stories of the people of Spitalfields over the past two thousand years which deserve to be told. Through the past twelve years, writing Spitalfields Life daily, I have published hundreds of the tales of the people – both past and present – who make this place so fascinating.

Now I am taking these stories onto the street to create tours that are more more engaging, more entertaining, more fun, more surprising, better storytelling – and do not trade off violence against women.

I am appalled that educational institutions send classes of students and school children on the exploitative serial killer tours which display autopsy photographs of women in the street, indulging in ghoulish humour at the expense of these victims.

Instead, I am offering visitors the opportunity to meet a member of the local community and learn something of the infinite variety of life that has evolved in London’s first suburb over two millennia.  For the past two years, I have been developing and road-testing THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF SPITALFIELDS which I plan to launch this spring.

I am raising  £20,000 to create a booking website, train local tour guides, print maps and buy targeted online advertising to reach tourists planning a visit. If everyone who reads Spitalfields Life daily gives just a few pounds we can reach our target in no time. Anyone who contributes £100 or more gets two complimentary tickets to experience the tour for themselves.




This project is a means to create local employment, draw attention to the distinctive wonders of the place and reclaim the true stories of our living community.

I want to celebrate a rich and diverse history of resourcefulness, driven by successive waves of migration from across the world – Huguenots, Jews, Irish and Bengalis, among many others – which tells the story of how modern Britain was created.




Here are some comments by people who have been on my trial tours:

“What a winner! The Gentle Author’s Tour is in a category of its own, illustrated by the historic buildings of Spitalfields and illuminated by stories of its residents uniquely brought to life by their friend and biographer, The Gentle Author.  Book immediately, to avoid disappointment.” MP

“The walking tour felt like being invited into a very special “family gathering”! The pace and places we stopped were perfect, with so many stories, both personal and historical with the emphasis on the very humanity that has made this area what it is over so many centuries. It was such an antidote to the disconnection I’ve felt over the last eighteen months, thank you.” KB

“As an East Ender born and bred, I thoroughly enjoyed The Gentle Author’s Spitalfields walking tour. An excellent mixture of history and individual stories bringing alive the vibrant past and present of Spitalfields’s streets – in all its darkness and many triumphs of the human spirit. The tour is a magnificent counterblast to those tours and stories of the East End focusing only on the Ripper horrors and statistics of poverty. The Gentle Author takes you on a journey into what the real East End has always been about – survival, defiance, community, change. Listen and marvel.” MOL

“I spent almost two hours walking with The Gentle Author and twelve other people in the streets of Spitalfields. I am passionate about literature and history so it was the best combination of little vignettes from local people and, historical reflection on poverty, social classes and architecture. The Gentle Author is a specialist and I am very lucky I managed to spend some time listening to these stories in good company. Walking hors des sentiers battus felt like a privilege to me, as if our guide was able to lift off the veils of history and let us peep underneath to discover the real London.” MW

“From Roman times to the land of bones, to Henry VIII’s Brexit, to the waves of immigrants who have made Spitalfields so distinctive,  The Gentle Author covered 2,000 years of history, with a personal twist in the tail at the end of the talk.  Not only the past was covered, but also the present day – ghastly facadism and the plans for the Truman Brewery.  A considerable amount of social history was covered during the walk.  The duration of the tour was just right, the ending with tea & homemade cake in one of the houses in Fournier Street was a civilised way to conclude the visit to the ‘Hospital Fields’.” CE

“The Gentle Author’s Spitalfields Tour is a real treat.  Resplendent storytelling brings the people and places of this magnificent blog to life with a quiet passion and humility. It’s a colourful journey through times past and present, provoking thought about the London we live in today and how we should preserve its history, characters and communities. To quote from Dickens Jnr’s Dictionary of London 1888 “it is something that no student of London life should miss seeing”. A wonderful experience that helps to reconnect us with the spirit of humanity and to cherish this wonderful city.” LW

“This is a must-do activity for London visitors and residents alike if you are keen to absorb the history of former generations as you walk around the cobbled streets of Spitalfields.  From the Jewish soup kitchen to the site of the theatre where Chaplin trod the boards as a ten year old, The Gentle Author brings history to life over a very memorable two hours and I’m so glad that I experienced this.“ KU

“This brilliant, incisive walking tour with The Gentle Author around Spitalfields was packed with fascinating detail and well woven narratives about some of the people who’ve given this area its rich and singular history over the centuries. I would highly recommend this tour for anyone with the faintest interest in the area on the basis that it revealed much I didn’t know while being a perfect length and sufficiently succinct to maintain one’s interest throughout.” BG

“What a privilege to take part in your wonderfully evocative tour of an area we thought we knew pretty well. The tour gave us something really precious – a personal connection with people whose stories might otherwise be forgotten in a part of London that is in danger of becoming a theme park. We are very touched, and will be recommending the tour far and wide.Thank you.” NW

“What makes your tour so special is the weaving in of the history of people with that of buildings and streets, named people whose stories you knew. I loved seeing their photos and hearing what happened to them. I think that helped bring the group together, looking at all the photos (which worked very well) and reflectively on the human dimension. I honestly haven’t got any suggestions for improvements.” SL

“The Gentle Author’s walks are highly recommended for their informative content about the characterful pocket of London’s Spitalfields which should never be allowed to be swept away by major corporate developments and ghastly facadism!”. CJ




8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jill Wilson permalink
    February 15, 2022

    I have been on one of your tours and can thoroughly recommend them! There is so much more to the area than just the exploits of one infamous serial killer.

    I will also be donating to help fund the project but at the moment I’m having difficulty making that happen. I hope it is just my technical incompetence rather than any problem with the Crowdfunder site… I will try again later!

    Good luck with a very worthwhile project.

  2. Milo permalink
    February 15, 2022

    I’m afraid i’m skint at the moment but i have no doubt you’ll rustle up what’s required.
    Good luck.

  3. lyn permalink
    February 15, 2022

    this sounds like such a good idea, i live a long way from london in a coastal town where there has never been a history of slave ships or ghosts and yet when i went on a guided tour we were told these stories – for entertainment. i was quite upset by it. i am sure your tours will be informative and entertaining and maybe one day i will be able to join one.

  4. KeithB permalink
    February 15, 2022

    I’m liking the approach: think something is wrong? Build something else that is better.

    I’ll rustle up a contribution.

  5. Ann permalink
    February 15, 2022

    Bravo Gentle Author!

  6. Stanley Rondeau permalink
    February 15, 2022

    Hello G A

    Would my booklet The Rondeau’s of Spitalfields be of any help to your research?

    Stan Rondeau

  7. Chris permalink
    February 16, 2022

    Pleased to support you in your new venture, what a refreshing change this tour sounds instead of salacious tales about an unknown serial killer and other infamous criminals, every city with a long history has these elements, no-one is going to learn anything from re-hashing that sort of history. I wish you every success in keeping the real stories alive and hope to partake in a tour soon.

  8. Stephen permalink
    February 20, 2022

    I always love your work and your writing and ethics. I totally agree with you and totally unrelatedly as a tour guide myself I created a Secrets of Spitalfields tour as I think there is so much more to offer in a neighbourhood with such a rich and vibrant history and social history too.

    It’s long been my favourite part of London, I just can’t afford to live there 🙂 but I am sure your project will be a huge success as it deserves to be.

    I’m sure you don’t need my help in any way but if I can be of assistance, please let me know.

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