Tonight a small group of Tylers and Bricklayers entered the mysterious and ancient world of the City of London for a tour of its medieval alleyways and buildings. The Tour was led by Past Master Mercer, Wing Commander Mike Dudgeon, a highly experienced guide who knew everything there was to know about these fantastic hidden parts of the City
We commenced our tour at the Guildhall Yard where Mike started by showing us parts that none of us had noticed previously, despite having been past this area many times. We examined the grotesques of Dick Whittington, Samuel Pepys and Shakespeare amongst others and were given a brief history of the area and how it has changed over time.The tour proper then commenced with visits to hidden alleyways, ancient churches, monuments and buildings and at each one we stopped for a short time whilst Mike gave us some fascinating information about the history, adventures and scandals that had taken place.
It was very interesting to learn some of the little known facts and visit the coffee houses where trading first began, each coffee house dealing in its own speciality of trade.
It was also an eye opener for us as Mike pointed to many different carvings and statues on walls of many buildings, explaining the meaning of each in great detail. As a Past Master Mercer, Mike was particularly proud to point out the Mercers’ Maidens which can easily be overlooked as part of the “hidden in plain sight” aspect of the City of London’s history. Quite who the Mercer Maiden is, is unknown, but she has been a symbol for one of the City of London’s livery companies since at least 1425, and her bust appears on many buildings in the City.
Some of the ancient and unused churches proved to be the most intriguing aspects of the tour, as were the hidden gardens which provide a haven of peace for lunchtime relaxation for those in the know.
We spent a wonderful couple of hours visiting these most ancient and hidden sites, after which we retired to a lovely pub for a nice warming supper and drinks.
We all thanked Mike sincerely for such an interesting and informative tour, another great evening in our great City of London.