Day 8/112 London history made fun and interesting

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The sun was out again this morning, along with a bitterly cold wind, which is why you’ll see us bundled up into jackets and beanies again. We joined a group of tourists for a walking tour focussed on the historic City of London area. The guide, Margaret is an American who moved to the UK to study British history 13 years ago and is so passionate about sharing her knowledge.

I loved seeing where Dr Samuel Johnson lived and the pub, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, he frequented and hearing the story of his well loved cat, Hodge, who he would feed oysters to. A statute to honour Hodge has been placed outside the house sitting on the dictionary that Dr Johnson complied with a couple of oyster shells. It’s fascinating that oysters were so common that Dr Johnson was frowned upon for being seen buying them!

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It was also great seeing the old wooden building that survived the Great Fire. The girls, on learning why the buildings got wider on each level, were horrified to hear that they used to dump their toilet waste onto the road beneath! We also visited the Twinings store, where the business was started on this site in 1706, believed to be the only business to have traded continuously with the same family and site .

The walk started in the Temple area and finished at the Tower of London. We walked along Cheapside where the original markets were. You can tell what types of stalls were in each area by the names of the side roads: Poultry, Bow Lane, Ironmonger Lane, Fish Street Hill, Pudding Lane (where the great fire was believed to have started at a bakery).

Afterwards we went back to the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub for lunch of fish and chips with mushy peas and steak pie.

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