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.
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 London Metropolitan Archives. (https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/history-and-heritage/london-me
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.
Twitter: @hm_hashi (mailto:@hm_hashi)
People Like Us (https://www.hashimohamed.com/the-book)
Dr Jules Montague - London Based Consultant Neurologist, Journalist & Author Of Best Seller 'Lost & Found', Explores What Remains Of The Person Left Behind When Pieces Of Their Mind Go Missing.
The fear of losing your mind has to be one of the scariest things you could ever endure—and the worry that a loved one will forget who you are, or start acting in a way that is totally opposite to how they have all their lives, is too much for most to imagine. This week’s brilliant guest, Jules Montague, is a Consultant Neurologist here in London. Her clinical specialty is “young onset dementia” with patients who develop memory and behavior changes as early as their twenties—and some of her most challenging work is in the intensive care setting, where she sees patients who have suffered catastrophic brain injuries.
Jules’ most recent and bestselling book “Lost and Found: Why Losing Our Memory Doesn’t Mean Losing Ourselves” is profound and deeply touching, drawing on many real life personal experiences of patients whose minds misbehave. I was fortunate enough to meet with Jules in person, the first since lock-down, at one of my favorite places in London: Kenwood House Hampstead.
You or someone you know will at some point in your life suffer from memory loss, and Jules’ approach to this may well be your life saver. This is Your London Legacy.
“Telling our own story, our one autobiography is crucial to who we are.”
Jules has always been interested in medical science and grew up watching Grey’s Anatomy and E.R. along with other popular shows, and she was even told that she would ask for a second vaccine after getting her first shot because she was so interested in the process. This fascination led her to studying at Trinity College in Dublin for 6 years, where she went on to practice in Ireland and get her PHD before coming to London in 2009 as a neurologist.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—I think personality traits are as well, and their consequences.”
Jules has firsthand experience in medical environments where diagnoses need to be made off of communication rather than MRI scans and modern medical equipment. Her pull to stories not only helped her disperse medical knowledge to these communities, but properly treat those in an area where the average life span was only 38 years. This focus on stories led her to writing her book and exploring who we are when we are not ourselves and the stories behind these scenarios.
For instance, when we think back on our first kiss—whether it was good or bad—we reconstruct the memory both physically through proteins and psychologically through ideas. This layers on meaning overtime, much like pulling an old book from a library and adding pages to it—which of course means that our current memory differs from the original. In this way we constantly reshape ourselves and who we are, changing and evolving, a process most drastically altered by Neuro- degenerative and other psychological disorders. Through this lens Jules hopes to broaden the idea that we should judge and treat people based on them people and not their illness.
It was a true treat to talk to Jules out in the real world after such an extensive period of lock-down, and I very much look forward to her next book: 'Diagnosis Cure' which explores the flaws in current medical and psychological diagnoses and how they are viewed and abused in the world.
Twitter: @Jules_Motague (https://twitter.com/Jules_Montague)
Lost and Found (https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Found-Memory-Identity-Ourselves/dp/1473646944)
Ash Ali & Hasan Kubba - Entrepreneurs & Authors Of Best Selling Business Book ' The Unfair Advantage' Unpack Their Own Journeys To Success & Why You Already Have All You Need To Succeed Too
Did you know you have an unfair advantage in your life? Something that gives you an edge over your competition. Even if you are not aware it, today's brilliant guests Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba have devised a simple framework that allows us to find out what our unfair advantage is and how we can use it to help us succeed in life and business.
Ash Ali & Hasan Kubba are start up entrepreneurs. Ash skipped Uni and was the first marketing director of Just Eat; one of the Uk’s first tech unicorn companies now worth over £5billion. Hasan built a successful start up from his bedroom with nothing more than an online course and desire to escape the corporate ‘rat race’.
They have both spoken at TEDx and advised and mentored hundreds of start-ups all over the world.
Their new book The Unfair Advantage – How you already have what it takes to succeed…has taken the business world by storm, so settle back and enjoy this enlightening chat with Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba. This is Your London Legacy.
“It’s what we do with it afterwards that makes the difference - and some people have a lot of luck in their life but they don’t take advantage of it.”
There are different kinds of luck we encounter in our lives. Life goes up and down and luck will land somewhere in a trough or valley, but as Ash and Hasan will tell you, the more you do and more you learn and opportunities you take on, the better off you’ll be when luck comes along. But luck also plays into their concept of the unfair advantage, and is an important thing to keep in mind if you find yourself comparing your life to other, perhaps more successful personalities. Afterall, some very famous people got “very small loans” from their parents for 1 million dollars…in the 1970s.
“I’ll just sit there and read a book and go, well, it’s not like this in the UK.”
After what you might call a serendipitous or “lucky” meeting—when Ash and Hasan decided to sit down and write The Unfair Advantage, they wanted to do it with the mindset that their perspective was different than the usual late-aged ex-CEO white male in the United States that you often see dominating the business world. Their book is focused more on the Uk, and more so, they didn’t want the book to be prescriptive like many in the genre are. The book is set up to the core thinking you need to use to see how your perspectives fit uniquely into market spaces to bring value and new thinking to older, run in the ground modalities.
The Unfair Advantage is an incredible read and can really help you expand your entrepreneurial ideas, pursuits, and spirt. You can find the book here: The Unfair Advantage (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unfair-Advantage-Startup-Success-Starts/dp/1788163311/ref=sr_1_1?crid=35X0D3U3Y40XT&dchild=1&keywords=the+unfair+advantage&qid=1597780595&s=books&sprefix=the+unfair+adv%2Caps%2C213&sr=1-1)
The Dramatic Story Of Lady Unchained - The Inspirational Poet & Founder of 'Unchained Poetry', The Platform For Artists With Personal Experience Of The Criminal Justice System
This week’s amazing guest is the inspirational Brenda Birungi, aka Lady Unchained. Lady Unchained is a Poet and founder of Unchained Poetry, a platform for artists with experience of the criminal justice system.
In 2008, 20-year-old Brenda got into a fight in a club whilst trying to protect her sister from being attacked. Serving 11 months of her prison sentence—her life changed completely. Whilst her experience was shocking Brenda looks back on and forward to a bright future with a mission to prove there is life after prison. Through poetry she tells her own personal story and the story of those with similar lived experience, that as she says are often left untold due to shame, stigma, and negative labels.
Lady Unchained has worked with several charities, hosted inspirational story telling nights, though poetry and music performed by artists who have experienced the justice system first-hand. She also co hosts for National Prison Radio’s show We are Straightline, a show about getting out and staying out of prison.
Brenda’s life has been anything other than linear, but she is most definitely on the way up and making a positive impact. This is Your London Legacy.
“A key is a symbol of freedom—so to give somebody a key, for me, only made me feel like they were mocking me.”
Brenda moved out at 17, a young age no doubt, with plenty to learn about herself and the world. She did have a dependable personality, as she was always being called upon to help people out with this that or the other, but this made it hard for her to reach out and ask for help herself. Perhaps this dovetailed one fateful night at a party, where her sister was attacked, and through her intervention—ended up taking a year-long probation that placed her in prison.
“Everything in jail that you say, do—has an effect on when you get out. What privileges you have. Everything.”
Strangely enough, it was the poor treatment she received in jail that led her to start writing poetry. Writing notes and journaling about the different injustices she faced on a daily basis there—including not being accepted as “British”, which led to her hunger striking and eventually being transferred to another prison. But she studied English and got her A levels while in jail and continued to write upon her eventual release—a whole other adventure in itself where she had to rediscover who Brenda was through volunteering and art.
Brenda came across National Prison Radio, and after her first performance on We Are Straightline, knew she had gone to jail for a reason and wanted to dedicate herself to “Lady Unchained” her moniker for her post jail self and the art she creates.
While Covid in itself has brought about triggering memories just with the term “lockdown”—you can still come across her work online until venues reopen up. Brenda is a lovely soul and overly talented poet, and you’d be doing a disservice to yourself to not seek out her works and even TEDx talk online.
Twitter: @UnchainedP (https://twitter.com/UnchainedP)
TEDx Talk (https://www.ted.com/talks/lady_unchained_proving_there_is_life_after_prison_one_poem_at_a_time)
Beth Gardiner's New Highly Acclaimed Book 'Choked - The Age Of Air Pollution & Fight For A Cleaner Future' Is A Must Read For Everyone. No One Is Immune. Especially In These Covid 19 Days.
Beth Gardiner is an American Journalist based in London. Her hugely important and critically acclaimed book “Choked: The age of air pollution and fight for a cleaner future’’ was one of The Guardians Best Books of 2019 and described by Arnold Schwarzenegger as ‘an urgent essential read’.
Air pollution kills seven million people every year, causing heart attacks, strokes, cancer, dementia and more. In Choked, Beth Gardiner travels the world to tell the story of this modern-day plague, exposing the political decisions and economic forces that have kept so many of us breathing dirty air. In fact, Covid 19 and lockdown has brought air pollution into even sharper focus than ever before.
In this fascinating chat, Beth outlines some of the issues we face locally and globally and her hopes for the future. This is Your London Legacy.
“If anything else was killing 9,000 Londoners a year or 7 million people around the world—surely we’d be talking about it all the time.”
Beth started off writing for her high school newspaper and for her university, Yale no less. She was a large consumer of news and magazines, and liked how news let you hop around from subject to subject and read about so much all at once. Always something new to learn and explain to readers. She spent some time in Indonesia teaching English—and ended up returning to cover the horrific earthquake and tsunami that killed over 100,000 people—a shocking and large experience that perhaps solidified her need to continue to seek out global health and environmental issues that affect us every day. Indeed, the intersection of health and environment is at the core of her work on air pollution.
“The air there [New York City] is much cleaner than London’s – and in general, the air in the US is significantly cleaner than the UK and Europe.”
When Beth moved to London she would find herself often getting headaches just from being around and about. There was a certain quality to the air she felt like she could taste, but didn’t think much of it. Years later, it took a 5 minute google search while reporting on the upcoming London Olympics to find out that the air quality in London was much worse than where she’d lived previously. This shock had lasting effects and eventually coalesced into a heap of research that turned into her book, Choked.
The book is a wonderful read—if not shocking, with chapter titles like 9416, which is the number of people that died in London in year from air pollution. Globally it’s 7 million. Locally in Europe, a part of this is due to diesel cars—and an event called Diesel Gate, where companies like Volkswagen were lying about how much nitrogen dioxide was being emitted by their vehicles. They were caught in the US and fined billions of dollars and forced to recall cars—but we haven’t had the same teeth to enforce regulations here in the UK. Beth believes that if the people demand it, we will hold companies responsible for the environmental impact. But it does have to be demanded.
Now with a respiratory virus pandemic—air pollution is being highlighted as the two intersect and feed off of each other. Beth hopes that people will become more aware of how our environment impacts us on a daily basis—and even may have another work in progress touching on another major pollutant: plastics. You can pick up Choked at your local bookstore or over on Amazon, and I highly recommend you give the stories inside a solid read.
Friends of the Parkland Walk (https://www.parkland-walk.org.uk/)
Customer ReviewsSee All
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.