Friday, 10 June 2011

Secret London: Stepping into Cambridgeshire

When we arrived at Ely Place, we were half way through our Secret London photo walk. We began West of St Paul's and continued past the old Smithfield Market before arriving at Ely Place.

Ely Place

Ely Place is a private road belonging to the Crown and this is why it has a gate and guards. The public are allowed to enter, however, and when you do, you technically step into the county of Cambridgeshire. That is because Ely Place was originally the town house of the Bishops of Ely and Ely is in Cambridgeshire.  That is why we took the photo below of Kathy standing with one foot in Cambridgeshire and one foot in the City of London.  Just in case you are wondering, the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire lie side by side above London and you would need to pass through them to reach Cambridgeshire.

St Etheldreda Ely Place

Inside Ely Place lies St Etheldreda’s Church which was the town chapel of the Bishops of Ely from about 1250 to 1570.   According to the St Etheldreda website, it is the oldest Catholic church in England and one of only two remaining buildings in London from the reign of Edward I.

Ye Olde Mitre Ely Place

It was getting cold and dark by the time we found Ye Olde Mitre pub which is certainly the most hidden and secret pub in London.  It is just off Ely Place, down Ely Court.  We enjoyed a couple of half-pints of lager and some toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches, which tasted incredible after we’d been exploring London for 3 hours.

Gresham College Barnards Inn

Feeling warmer and refreshed after our trip to the pub, we technically left Cambridgeshire, crossed over Holborn and came to Kathy’s favourite place along the whole walk: Gresham College.  Gresham College is housed in the last remaining building of the 15th-century Barnard’s Inn. 

Gresham College London

Established in 1597 to teach the illiterate masses, Gresham College is a unique college that offers free lectures to the public. They cover a fascinating range of subjects including history, politics, music and medical science but unfortunately, none were on when we visited.

We crossed through Gresham College and exited into Fetter Lane where we encountered the statue of John Wilkes, ‘A Champion of English Freedom’.

John Wilkes Champion of English Freedom

John Wilkes stood up to the government when they had declared him an outlaw and convicted him of libel for pieces that appeared in his satirical newspaper, The North Briton.  He was deprived of a seat in parliament on the basis that he was imprisoned and later campaigned successfully for the right of newspapers to publish verbatim reports of House of Commons debates.  

Maughan Library Kings College formerly the Public Record Office

We walked behind the Maughan Library which is the main library of King’s College London.  Built between 1851 and 1858, this neo-Gothic building is the former house of the Public Record Office and is a Grade II Listed Building.

Dr Johnsons House

We then made our way into Gough Square where we found the home of Doctor Samuel Johnson.  Dr Johnson is famous for compiling the Dictionary of the English Language in 1755 which was the pre-eminent English Dictionary until the Oxford English Dictionary was published 150 years later.  You can visit Dr Johnson’s House for an entrance fee of just £4.50 but we decided not to visit on this occasion.

Johnsons Court home of Samuel Johnson

Dr Johnson’s cat, Hodge, is equally famous and you can see his statue in the top, left corner above.  He was immortalised in James Boswell's Life of Johnson and was notable simply for being awesome (as are all cats).  The curator’s house adjoining the Dr Johnson’s house is visible in the top, right corner.  It is said to be the smallest house in the city and it is indeed minute.

You might need to click on the photo above to enlarge it, but the Oxo Tower is just visible in the distance in the photo above, bottom right.

In the next instalment of the Secret London Walk, we’ll visit Whitefriars, Blackfriars and finally end up back at St Paul’s Cathedral.

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21 comments

  1. I don't live in London, but visit a few rimes a year; these walks seem a great idea. Fantastic city for 'hidden' gems.

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  2. This is really interesting. Ye Olde Mitre pub looks like a pub should look like - fireplace and all...
    If I had this info when I was around a few months ago, I would definitely visit at least some of the places mentioned.

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  3. loving this post!

    you know how much i miss London...

    beautiful photos, too!!

    happy weekend!
    betty xx

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  4. Just love your tours, Emm!

    They are always so full of fascinating details and wonderful pictures. I have a friend who lives near Ely, so it was especially fun for me to see the lovely details of his city.

    Favorite part: the pub with pints grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches!

    Happy Weekend!

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  5. Oooooh! You SO make me want to hop a plane back to London to be able to take such amazing walks! But I'll have to rely on your photos and posts for the near future...Thanks!

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  6. what a delightful walk and i enjoyed the entire sequence. Thanks for sharing the fun.

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  7. I'm soooo enjoying this, although it makes me desperate to come over there. Still, it's fascinating stuff, especially the bit about Ely Place.

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  8. Ye Olde Mitre pub sure is a wee gem of a place to drop in for a week break from being on the road. I'm going to have to check out Gresham College one of these days, sounds like an interesting place to visit.

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  9. That's a nice statue of Wilkes, shame there isn't one of William Wallace in Smithfield Market where the English illegally tortured and murdered Scotland's greatest ever freedom fighter in 1305.

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  10. Ely Place, nice.
    I'm waiting for the new post about Whitefriars ecc.

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  11. I go past Ely Place on a regular basis (on 17 bus), but have never taken the time to visit.

    You have got me thinking though - the other building in London to date from the reign of Edward I.

    Have to check my books.

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  12. Wonderful post and pictures. So many great buildings. Waiting for the next visit post.

    ps: Thanks for all your nice comments.
    Happy weekend to you, hugs from Tania:-)

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  13. Hi Emm! With the long weekend here in Lisbon (four days off...), I finally manage to stroll around Blogosphere...
    Fabulous tour!! I took all the notes for my next visit... ;)

    Blogtrotter Two is visiting some beautiful villages... Enjoy and have a splendid Sunday!!

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  14. Where did you find this walk?

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  15. Fabulous....beautiful...I love love this post...such gorgeous sites and scenes..eye candy ...this is beautiful Emm!I love that chapel too...wonderful! yay..thanks for sharing another awesome adventure!
    and thankyou for all your awesome words you leave for me..you are the best! Hope you are having a sparkling wkd!
    Shine on...your photos take me on adventures and build stories in my mind..and I love that...thanks so much for all the magic!
    Victoria
    PS: I would love to go to that secret pub...just gorgeous!

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  16. Very nice jaunt through Cambridgeshire. It makes me feel as though I've been there. The pub looked like a nice place to visit too.

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  17. That looks like a really interesting walk, and a real adventure! Your photos are great!

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  18. I think I've been to this pub but didn't realize it was technically Cambridgeshire

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  19. So many interesting things to photograph. I expected a marker that delineates between Cambridgeshire and London just for the tourists.

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  20. It seems that Kathy has good taste in London institutions!
    - Love the blog, by the way!

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  21. @ John: London is defintiely a perfect city for hidden gems. The best thing is that I know I can go on as many of these walks as possible and still never run out of inspiration.

    @ Travel Photo Blogging: You shall have to come back and get in touch next time! I will act as a free tour guide.

    @ Betty: Thank you! Come back!

    @ Marion: Aaah, I am glad you enjoyed it.

    @ Kathy: Heh. I am really enjoying these little walks too. But you make me quite tempted to hop on over to your corner of the world too!

    @ Life Ramblings: I am glad you enjoyed it!

    @ Li: Come visit! Glad you enjoyed it.

    @ William: Definitely pop in! There is a lecture on Saturn later in the year that I want to go to!

    @ Ryan: Isn't there one? There should be.

    @ Italo: It was lovely! Whitefriars will come soon, I promise.

    @ Blue Shed Thinking: Make sure you pop in and visit one day!

    @ Spiderdama: London is just full of surprises.

    @ Trotter: Thank you

    @ Mo: From the book Secret London: Exploring the Hidden City, with Original Walks and Unusual Places to Visit

    @ Victoria: Aaw, thank you! You;re lovely.

    @ Clueless in Boston: Hee. Looks like my work here was done!

    @ Alan: Thank you! I haven't been practising in ages though.

    @ David: I know! Isn't that a fun fact!?

    @ AVCr8teur: Hmm, maybe there is a marker. Possibly one of London's famous purple or blue plaques.

    @ Gresham College: Thank you and thanks for visiting!

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