San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
"The way to come on St Paul's is along Fleet Street, and the way to go along Fleet Street is on top of a bus."
- Ian Nairn
Nairn's London by Routemaster
A Routemaster bus tour followed by a gathering to mark the reissue ofNairn's London and celebrate the life and work of Ian Nairn (1930-1983), Britain's greatest topographical writer.
We'll be travelling around the East End and the City on the very same Routemaster bus (CUV 217C) featured on the original cover of Nairn's London (Penguin Books, 1966) with the author pictured at the wheel.
Tickets will be available from midday on
Family (2 adults + 2 children) £80
Ticket price includes all admissions, perambulations and access to events at the final venue.
Assemble at Foxcroft & Ginger, 68 Mile End Road
Bus leaves at.
The route will include:
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry The Barbican and Golden Square
Bevis Marks synagogue Leaden hall Market
Hill & Evans vinegar warehouse Postman's Park
Cloth Fair and West Smithfield Bart's Hospital
Holborn Viaduct Chancery Lane
Fleet Street Ludgate Hill
St Paul's Cathedral Cheapside
Bank of England Royal Exchange
St Ethelburga's church Christ Church, Spitalfields
King's Cross and environs Surprise final destination!
The tour will end at aroundin a wonderful central London location and will feature:
* Professor Gavin Stamp, the distinguished architectural historian, who will talk about the author and his work.
* Gillian Darley and David McKie, co-authors of Ian Nairn: Words in Place(Five Leaves Press, 2013)
* Travis Elborough, author of The Bus We Loved: London's Affair With the Routemaster (Granta Books, 2005)
* Simon Okotie will be reading from Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon? (Salt Publishing, 2012), an existential whodunnit set entirely on a bus.
Finally Ian Nairn himself will appear on screen in one of his BBC broadcasts from the 1970s.
Nairn's London (with a new introduction by Gavin Stamp) and other books by our speakers will be on sale.
Lunch: this will be in West Smithfield, with three options:
- a pub lunch in Cloth Fair (next to the former home of Sir John Betjeman)
- no end of local coffee shops and cafes in Clerkenwell
- in the Museum of London cafe (five minutes' walk from West Smithfield)
You may, on the other hand, prefer to bring a packed lunch and thermos (or hip) flask. If the weather is good Postman's Park is nearby, and the Museum of London even closer (with a cafe and lavatories).
Best to wear walking shoes. There will be three perambulations (some involving cobbles), so dress for that, and for London in late November.
There are public lavatories at the meeting point, the Bevis Marks synagogue, West Smithfield, Christ Church Spitalfields and the final venue. There are also loos at the Museum of London (if you have lunch under cover there). Parents/guardians with small children may need to plan accordingly.
If you have a copy of the original 1966 Penguin edition of Nairn's London do bring it along - there will be prizes for the most and least battered and annotated copies).
Even Smaller Print
A cautionary note from the Arriva Heritage Fleet:
'Our buses are thoroughly and professionally maintained to the same stringent standards as the modern vehicles providing services today, but as the vehicle in question is now three times its expected life span I am sure you can appreciate that occasionally circumstances work against us.'
I'm assured that we'll get RM2217 (the original Nairn bus) but in the event of substitution no refunds will be forthcoming. In the unlikely event of cancellation full refunds will be payable.
We may on the day have to change the route to reflect local conditions (roadworks, closures, marches etc).
Nairn would hate this: smoking is not allowed on the bus or in any of the venues included on the tour.
Dogs (apart from guide dogs) are not allowed.
Children with an interest in the built environment are welcome (and we have concessionary and family rates). Children under five travel free (on a grown up's lap).
Tickets will not be available on the day and must be ordered in advance. Seating capacity is sixty and there will be no standing room.
Cameras (or equivalent gadgets) may prove useful. You might bring some money also - books at discounted rates will be on sale at the final venue, with authors on hand to sign them. We shan't be able to accept credit or debit cards.
We'll have a traditional whip round at the end of the afternoon for our driver and conductor.
Profits will be donated to The Twentieth Century Society.