Your London Legacy was born out of my love for London. I have travelled far and wide, and as much I get so much pleasure from seeing new places around the world, I always look forward to getting back home to London. I cannot think of anywhere else in the world, that has the same depth of history, the coming together of ancient and new cultures, fashions and religions and our hard-won freedom of speech.
London is a global leader in banking and has the highest concentration of Universities and further education in Europe. It attracts vast number of business travelers and international students, and visitors, and has some of the very best restaurants anywhere in the world.
But for all that is changing London has retained that classic element that sets it apart from every capital in the world. From the ancient icons like the Tower of London to musical phenomena such as Adele, this sprawling wonder of humanity has an endless supply of attractions.
But on their own, attractions tell only part of London’s incredible story. For without Londoners there would be no attractions and no story, and without Londoners, there would be no legacy. The legacy that we can all too easily take for granted as we wander round London’s ancient streets, sip coffee in her beautiful parks, share a beer with our mates in her wonderful pubs, or as we take in one the myriad of world class museums.
There are over 8 million residents in London, from the inner-city housing estate, to the urban sprawl and ever growing suburbs to the luxury of Kensington and Belgravia. No matter where Londoners live, they are all part of the wonderful melting pot that makes Londoners what they are. Unique. Young and old, rich and poor, they all have a story to tell. A story of passion, of struggle, belonging, laughter, creating, desperation, and yes sometimes loneliness and fear. London is far from perfect, but it is home and has been since the Romans settled in 50AD. And it keeps on growing year on year, so we must be doing something right.
Londoner’s are a special breed. They are about spirit and embracing changes that are constantly going on around them.
Your London Legacy tells the timeless stories of London’s hidden personalities’’ by interviewing Londoners from every walk of life, in every community. It was born out of my desire to share the legacy of Londoners with you. We all have a story to tell.
I’m Steve Lazarus and this is Your London Legacy.
Andy Bull – Journalist & Author Of ”Secret Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington & The Hamptons” Takes Us On A Wonderful Tour Of West London, Full Of Pop Stars, Royalty, Rugby & Film Studios.
Today’s brilliant guest is journalist and author, Andy Bull, who has lived in London for the best part of 40 years. Author of two books about London, on today’s podcast we talk about Andy’s book: Secret Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington, and the Hamptons. Now I’m sure all of you will have heard of the Cavern Club in Liverpool where the Beatles made their name, but chances are you’ve never heard of the Eel Pie Island in Twickenham—which in the 60’s was a favorite spot for the likes of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Rod Stewart to play.
These parts of west London are home to many secrets and have many glorious stories to reveal, and Andy is the perfect host. Listen in as we dive into the Thames which was once full of salmon, eels, and trout—take a trip around Henry the VIII’s Hampton court palace, and wander around the film studios at Teddington, and the home of English rugby. This is Your London Legacy.
“The wonderful thing about London is anyone can be a Londoner, wherever you’re from, whatever your background, if you want to understand the values of London and respect London—you’re welcome.”
Once people started to get free time in the modern era of London, they began to spend it down by the river on the Thames. Centuries back it was a burgeoning hotspot of trade and recreation, and because of that there are a wealth of secrets and history in every bend and path along its shores.
These secrets are the foundation for Andy’s book about Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington, and the Hamptons. He has curated a selection of them that he found most interesting—one of which deals with the music hotbed of Eel Pie Island.
Eel Pie Island became a musical venue due to a man of the name Arthur Chisnall, a frustrated sociologist with an interest in youth subculture. He worked on creating a rundown hotel on this small spit of island in the middle of the river into a music venue. In coordinating with authorities, you needed a special Eel Pie Island passport to cross over on a rowboat and listen to the bands—something done to keep an eye on youth who might go off the rails. It was set up to encourage healthy community and creativity under the guise of being a rebel headquarters for upcoming musicians and one of the birthplaces of rock ‘n roll.
“What I aimed to do was pick out lesser known things—things which people who lived in those areas their whole lives might not know about, or aspects of those things they may not have known about.”
In the 18th and 19th century the market gardens covered about 40% of Twickenham and the Hamptons while employing around 15,000 people—essentially feeding London. The Thames back then was teeming with salmon and trout, but in time due to pollution the fish disappeared. This bothered a local angler who went on to pioneer fish farming (still a theory at this point), and in conjunction with the Thames conservancy, they released 200,000 small fish into the river after just five years. This technology was spread the help rivers all across the globe, all stemming from the Francis Fish Hatchery.
These are but a few of the secrets Andy’s book holds and stand out as a testament for the rich history of London and the stories hiding in every nook and cranny.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08HDK3WH6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i4 (Secret Twickenham, Whitton, Teddington, and the Hamptons)
New Book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/en/Andy-Bull/dp/1912716194 (Pilgrim Pathways)
Ned Palmer - Philosopher, Jazz Musician & Author Of Sunday Times Book Of The Year 'A Cheese-monger's History Of The British Isles' Is A Must For History Nerds & Food Lovers. Great Fun Too.
I was thrilled to have really had such an entertaining and fascinating chat with philosopher, jazz musician and renowned cheese historian, Ned Palmer.
Author of the Sunday Times Book of the Year ‘’A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles’’ Ned makes it clear that every cheese tells a story. In his recent book Ned takes us on a mouth-watering journey across Britain and Ireland to uncover the histories of beloved old favourites like Cheddar and Wensleydale to exciting new innovations like the Irish Cashel Blue or the splendid Renegade Monk.
Ned works with Laithwates, the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society, the British Epicurean Society and various London craft brewers to bring audiences delicious surprises and pairings, alongside eccentric, eclectic, and esoteric stories of the makers of great British cheeses, both ancient and modern.
On the back of our chat, I placed a rush order for a hunk of fabulous Gorwydd Caerphilly and Colston Bassett Stilton. Delicious. Well, why let the grass grow under my feet.
If you love cheese, and the history of the British Isles then this episode is quite delightful. This is Your London Legacy
“You don’t every really stop being a jazz musician though, do you?”
At six years old Ned was already falling in love with jazz at a time when he could listen to records and see the whole development of the genre. He played for years, but like many musicians, had to pick up other work—and some of that work was as an affineur—someone who watches cheese and takes care of it. This most certainly kicked off Ned’s deep love of fine cheese, and in fact, he finds many similarities between jazz and cheese, and has even entertained doing a tasting that pairs cheese with different kinds of jazz chords and music.
“I want to say as a sort of public service announcement—be careful. You eat a really nice piece of cheese, you don’t know what’ll happen.”
In Ned’s book “A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles” a whole history of cheese making plays out, from Neolithic pots being scraped and analyzed to determine if cheese was made as early as thousands of years ago, to Roman times, monks churning cheese, medieval times, and pre- and post-war times, all the way to the 70’s cheese renaissance and post-modern cheese. And let me tell you, the tales are just downright fascinating.
Take the Great Cheese War of 1776, a little skirmish Ned uncovered while doing research that involved armored convoys, raids, and besieged warehouses held captive by the end of gun barrels. There are tales from the WWII involving cheese being used as a weapon when rations ran thin and cheese makers going out of business, losing artisanal varieties, and the townsfolk who worked to gather money to keep others in business.
“If you don’t play with your cheese—it will play with you.”
On this episode I’ve done something I’ve never done before on the podcast—I let Ned take a look at the cheese I had in my fridge and rate my taste in cheese, and let me just say, I’m not sure I passed all the tests here. However, it was beyond lovely to chat with Ned and enjoy some of the cheese he recommended—he is beginning to delve into working on his next book which will have him touring cheese makers in France. I highly recommend his current book which can be picked up right here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheesemongers-History-British-Isles/dp/1788161173/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1andkeywords=%E2%80%99A+Cheesemonger%E2%80%99s+History+of+the+British+Islesandqid=1610419919andsr=8-1 (A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles)
https://www.cheesetastingco.uk/ (The Cheese Tasting Company)
Mark Amies Is A Urban Archaeologist With A Fascination In The Incredible Hidden Story of London's Industrial Past
As you wander round the streets of our magnificent capital city today, you’ll probably most likely be aware of all the shops and offices, albeit deserted if we are still in lockdown.
What you will not see so much of are the relics of London’s glorious industrial past, unless of course, that is you know where and what to look for.
From brewing giants such as Guinness, toy manufacturers like Airfix and Lesney who made the world-famous matchbox cars, to the aircraft makers like De Haviland and Handley Page—these and many more instantly recognisable brands had major and often iconic bases in London.
Urban archaeologist Mark Amies author of London’s Industrial Past understands the importance of our magnificent machine age, when London was once the powerhouse of the world. Join us as we wander the street of London in search of what once was Londoners very essence. This is Your London Legacy.
“If you’re not careful—there are bits of London that you’ll never go and see.”
Mark’s love for London’s industrial past and architecture in general might trace back to car rides with his father. He would sit in the back of the car as his dad pointed out buildings and what factories they used to be, the people that worked there. There were stories hiding there, histories fading to mist, and Mark found himself yearning to dig into those histories and uncover what used to be there. These places were once social hubs, where people met and went out after work to bond and form relationships. While Mark admits not all factory work was glamorous or free of danger, the social impact of industrialization is undeniable on a social level.
“Fortunately for me, they thought I was some kind of expert. I always thought myself more of an enthusiast.”
The road to Mark’s book was a long one, but started off when he was looking to do something more with his life outside of work. So, he went back to his passion for London’s history and started a blog—back when blogs were the cool thing to do. This led to him writing a few pieces for the Londonist, which can still eb found today, and ultimately led him to filling in slots for BBC Radio London on the Robert Elms program.
It was on Mark to take his experience there and approach publishers directly, without an agent, to propose his book: London’s Industrial Past, which he landed by letting his enthusiasm and background shine. And the book is remarkable, not only for its written content but the images that accompany it. Some of these were holdovers from companies wanting giant, wide flyover pictures of their factory and grounds to show off in boardrooms—and the detail you can see in them is remarkable.
The book covers industry from aeronautics, to biscuits, to toys—and covers a wide breadth of the history and modern day usage of the facilities—since some were located on areas that formed into their own miniature cities, with businesses and healthcare facilities built specifically for the workers there.
London’s Industrial Past is a remarkable read, and guess what—Mark is working on a second, more specific and focused book about London’s past as we speak. Make sure to keep your eye on him via social media, and as he would want, keep your eye on the hidden histories of London as well.
Mark Aimes Twitter: https://twitter.com/yesteryeartweet?lang=en (YesterYearTweets)
Tom Jones - Author Of 'Tired of London Tired Of Life. One Thing a Day To Do In London' Even In Lockdown.
As the great Samuel Johnson once said, ‘when a man is tired of London he is tired of life’ and in my view this has never been more true.
In these troubled unique times, finding the pleasure and joy in plain view is critical for us all, from a physical, mental and wellbeing perspective.
In this brilliant episode I caught up with award winning Tom Jones (no, not that one), author of best-selling book Tired of London Tired of Life, One Thing a Day to do in London.
When Tom found himself bored in our beautiful capital city, Tom decided to heed Johnson’s words and seek out one thing to do each day in London, one thing that would ensure he found his love with the city once more. This grew out of his popular blog he started back in 2008 and has inspired three books, including London, The Weekend Starts Here.
Listen in as we discover some wonderful suggestions for this time of year, (lockdown or not) as well as Tom’s favourite places. This is Your London Legacy.
“I learn way more about things by actually going there and seeing them than I ever would reading about them remotely.”
While many people can say that the people of London can be cold, making the city seem a harsh place if you move there—Tom didn’t really feel that way. He found it a wonderful place to be able to go out and enjoy himself without having to drop too much money to have a good time and enjoy a good pint while out with friends. He became found of wandering around the city after work, always finding something cool to do, and since it was the late 2000’s, he decided to write about it for a blog: Tired of London, Tired of Life. Something that turned into an everyday post which he did for over six years.
The book came about after about two years of running the blog, and Tom didn’t want it to just be his blog printed out and slapped on some pages. He went out to more places, did more research, and he made it his fulltime job to get the book to shine beyond just the blog. Through this it took form by breaking down into months and days of the year with things to do in London. What are some of these you ask?
October, for example, has the deer run in Richmond Park listed. The park makes it seem as if you are fully outside the city, and it’s this time the deer go into rut, and you can see some fantastic sights of them running through the woods there every year.
Of course, no book of things to do in London would be complete with the Thames, and the full path stretches 180 miles in fact. The book moves on from there to highlight an endearing sewer powered “farting” gas lamp, and onwards forward to ice skating at Summerset House.
If you’re interested in Tom’s recommendations you can pick up the book or still find the blog on http://www.tiredoflondontiredoflife.com/ (TiredofLondonTiredofLife.com)
Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tired-London-Life-January-Hardcover/dp/B0168SA2EQ (Tired of London, Tired of Life)
Geoff Pick OBE - Director Of London Metropolitan Archives, One Of Our Cities Best Kept Secrets, With Over 100km Of Archives & 1000 Years To Choose From
Today’s brilliant guest is responsible for what can probably be described as one of London’s absolute best secrets, The London Metropolitan Archive.
Geoff Pick is Director of this amazing London based resource. Just imagine over 100km of archives jam packed full of amazing historical and contemporary material with over 1000 years to choose from. Well that is Geoff’s job. Geoff is an adopted Londoner from Wigan who was recently awarded an OBE for services to the management of records and archives in the capital.
He joined the LMA in 1986 and became Director in 2013, having worked as a professional archivist since 1978. Under his direction, the LMA has played a pioneering role in areas such as digital archiving, engaging with the public, and promoting diversity through work with the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities.
In this fascinating episode Geoff explains his love and passion for his work and takes us through some of the LMA’s outstanding archive material, from the City’s Magna Carta in 1297, the collection for John Keats, an amazing character called Cy Grant, right up to date with the digital collection of the National HIV Story Trust and work with LGBTQI communities.
When lock down is over, the first thing I am going to do is get myself down to the LMA – and you should too. Meanwhile, be inspired and enjoy my chat with Geoff Pick. This is Your London Legacy.
On being an archivist: “…that balance between the practical and the historical. Looking at fantastic historical material but then making it available for people to research…for an 8-year-old school girl to someone in their 90’s doing their family history.”
We all love museums. The thrill of seeing and learning something new while coming closer to history. Geoff often gets asked – well what is the difference between a museum and an archive. While they have some overlapping similarities, most patrons of the archive come for a specific research purpose. They may be working on their PHD, or be researching their family history, and they will stay from dusk till dawn.
“The Hadron Collider at CERN creates enough data – if you put it on DVD’s – to go from here to the moon in just a single day.”
One topic that came up was just the sheer amount of information that gets put out into the world today. Journal articles, newspapers, online stories, blogs, reports – the list goes on and on. Geoff undoubtedly has a monumental task on his hands keeping everything organized and also making room for new entries into the archive from modern times. It is a job that is certainly worth it, as he gets to experience working with older documents and manuscripts from over 1000 years ago. He says there’s nothing quite like having the tactical and physical experience of working with those documents – like the writings of a monk from the 1400s.
The archive holds so many wonderful and important documents along its kilometres of sprawl – and we’re lucky enough to have Geoff handpick several and explain their significance to today and his own life. This includes a letter from John Hancock, a signer of America’s Declaration of Independence, to London for thanks in supporting their freedom, a stance likely taken to continue to bolster trade between the city and the New World. He also chose a letter from Keats to his fiancé that was delivered in a mailbox at the Keats house that you can actually go see – it was a letter before he went to Rome for tuberculosis treatment and died, leaving the epitaph of “Here Lies One Whose Name Was Writ in Water”.
These are just a few of the gems Geoff picked – not to mention his extensive work and outreach he undertakes on behalf of the archive. You can do some research yourself and find more here at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/history-and-heritage/london-metropolitan-archives (London Metropolitan Archives.)
Hashi Mohamed - Broadcaster, Barrister, Author Of 'People Like Us -What it Takes To Make It In Modern Britain' Reveals His Incredible Story & Views On The Struggles Of Social Mobility
When Hashi Mohamed arrived in London from Kenya as a 9-year-old, separated from his mother and still grieving the recent and tragic loss of his father, he couldn’t possibly have foreseen the incredible journey ahead. A journey of social mobility littered with hurdles and barriers, some clear and obvious and others much more subtle.
Against all the odds it would seem, Hashi is now a prominent London based Barrister, broadcaster, and author of his new hugely successful book ‘People Like Us – What it Takes to Make it in Modern Britain’. In it Hashi discusses the many variables that make up the possibility of being successful in Britain today, such as the wealth and profession of your parents, the school you went to, the lucky breaks you get, the unwritten social rules, language, race and class, on and on.
Hashi is a hugely engaging personality, with an incredible personal story and template for empowering us all for the better, wherever we are on the social spectrum. This is Your London Legacy
“If you’re curious about the world that you live in…and you’re interested in the question of becoming a more equal society—this is the book for you.”
Hashi found his book “People Like Us” quite painful to write, and after listening to his story it’s not hard to imagine why. His childhood was full of uncertainty and tragedy and loss. After his father died in a car crash and among unrest Hashi came to the UK as a refugee. In writing his book, Hashi found himself reflecting on the whole series of events for the first time—how it felt to grow up in the poorer area’s of London, adapting to culture and language, and eventually what led him to feeling like he belonged as a part of British society.
One pivotal moment came from a teacher, Miss Adler—who let her students paint their own classroom how they saw fit. She had a wonderful understanding of the local community and spent a lot of time with the students. Her family came to the UK as refugees as well fleeing the holocaust, so there was a mutual understanding of Hashi’s predicament that made all the difference for him back then.
On Confidence: “It comes from, honestly, no epiphany or any sort of bible…it comes from a very simple place, which is that I was just not happy with the status quo.”
Hashi’s book takes a deep dive into concepts of imagination, confidence, and luck—how all these interplay with race and class and upbringing. It’s a close examination that many millionaires and billionaires tend to glance over when talking about their success—something Hashi believes sets many people up for failure. Without the chance of opportunity and seeking it out, being in the right place at the right time, success will often pass by. So you have to stay sharp and keep your eyes out, and you have to have the imagination and confidence to remember to do so.
https://www.hashimohamed.com/the-book (People Like Us)
fantastic listening to Mr McNab as always. his wealth of experience and knowledge of all sorts of topics is really fascinating. Brilliant podcast. Great Banter between Steve and Andy. Well worth a listen.
A fascinating and wide ranging interview with bestselling author and SAS veteran Andy McNab. Topics discussed include the military, education and literacy, psychology and of course his hometown of London. Highly recommended! Pauline.
Entertaining and educational. I loved this podcast instantly.