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Beyond the City
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There’s more to Islington than trendy shops and restaurants. Literature and entertainment, canals, Music Hall artistes, 1984 and Tony Blair: or perhaps Arsenal FC, Joe Orton and Thomas Paine: its rich past as complex and fascinating as its present.
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Monasteries, pastures and fresh springs gave way to skilled craftsmen who in their turn were replaced by despair and cheap gin. Victorian ‘rookeries’ gave Charles Dickens the location for ‘Oliver Twist’: the Peasants’ Revolt, William Wallace, Janet Street-Porter and Vladimir Lenin all appear in the fascinating story of a little known village.
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The South Bank
Notorious for its bear pits, brothels and playhouses, Southwark was always the back yard of The City where anything goes. Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral and the London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe or Tate Modern. And over the river, the ever changing skyline of The City of London.
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A boat down river to Greenwich where time begins. The National Maritime Museum, Painted Hall and the Queen’s House. Behind these sumptuous buildings, straddle the meridian at the Observatory or visit the exciting new Planetarium. Greenwich has so much to offer it warrants the best part of a day.
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Virginia Woolf, TS Eliot, Pre Raphaelites, Theo Horas and his Temple of the Occult. Bloomsbury is home to intellectuals, writers and the downright bizarre. The British Museum and University College set the tone - Ancient Egyptians in one and mummified Jeremy Bentham in the other.
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Charles Dickens
London’s great storyteller. Fagin’s thieves’ kitchen, Courts of Chancery, The George and Vulture, Scrooge’s church, the banker’s daughter who broke Dickens’ heart, Marshalsea prison. Where does his life end and the novels begin?
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Radicals and Reformers
And of course revolutionaries. Karl Marx may be our most famous visitor, or Mahatma Ghandi, or was it Sigmund Freud? There are also the home grown radicals who fought for change. Wat Tyler, Mrs Pankhurst and William Blake. ‘When Adam delved and Eve span, who then was the gentleman?’
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Not the Church of England
To a young man joining the army, ‘If you don’t know what you are, just write C of E.’. Wesley and the Methodists, Quakers, atheists, Roman Catholics, and of course Jews, Muslims, Hindus knew what they were. The remarkable contribution made by those whose beliefs kept them outside the established church and in many cases out of power.
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