The Quite Interesting 2023 Edition Sunday London Ride - 16 July 2023
On Sunday morning over twenty people turned up at Hyde Park Corner on an assortment of bikes, some on Bromptons, some on road bikes and one recumbent.
We were lucky with the weather, quite sunny with a stiff breeze. The rain that was forecast never materialised fortunately.
Our Quite Interesting ride turned out to be a very interesting ride led by Ross. We set off zig-zagging our way around Chelsea to see where Wrights Dairy used to be - the clue was the cow’s head looking down at us from the front of the building.
Then on to Manchester Square Fire station, a fine building with original details including the amazing watch tower on top of the building.
Next on to the original Debenhams building which started as a drapers store run by Thomas Clark at 44 Wigmore Street. The Debenhams name entered when William Debenham invested in the firm in 1813.
A short ride to Pall Mall where the first recorded public street lighting was powered by gas.
Winding our way to Whitehall just down from Downing Street we went to King Charles Street, where we saw the plaque of Ignatius Sancho an escaped slave who became a self made businessman, and the first known person of African descent to vote in a British election in 1774.
Across the river to Trinity Church Square where we met Alfred The Great, thought to be London’s oldest outdoor statue.
On to Whitechapel crossing Tower Bridge where we were asked to look out for the odd lamp post which is in fact a chimney then arriving at 88 Whitechapel Road - an 18th century shop and office which was also the premises of the Jewish Daily Press.
Moving on to Cheapside in the city we stopped where Thomas Becket was born in 1120. He rose through the ranks to become Archbishop of Canterbury only to be brutally martyred in his own cathedral in 1170.
Just along from Cheapside we came to Christ Church Greyfriars. A Christopher Wren church destroyed during the blitz. Today the tower is a private residence which is valued at over 5 million pounds.
On to Cutler’s Hall in Warwick Lane, a lovely red brick building with its finely crafted terracotta frieze depicting the process of the cutlers craft.
Close by is St John’s Street where a building was partly destroyed by a fleet of German aircraft bombers in WW1.
Along to Briton Street, Booth’s distillery the oldest surviving gin brand. Only parts of the original buildings features were kept, the ground floor granite arches and carved panels and the five relief panels at the top of the building.
Heading to Russell Square we went past London’s narrowest Street, Emerald Court which is just 26 inches wide.
A very interesting and educational morning was had as we made our way to Caffe Tropea in Russell Square to have our well deserved coffee and snacks.
A big thanks to Ross for leading us.