Our walk started at Tower Hill on a damp, somewhat chilly Sunday morning but the two and a half hours with Ruth our excellent guide sped past. I had been invited on this walking tour by Context Travel who use very well qualified guides for small groups. (http://www.contexttravel.com/). There were 4 of us so plenty of time to ask lots of questions and as we had so much to get through Ruth kindly gave us extra time on our tour (and some Jewish sweets at the end which was really kind). We saw the site of the first synagogue after the Jews returned to the UK (after earlier banishment), where they used to live (the simply named Jewry Street) and signs describing the care given to new poor arrivals. We entered the Bevis Marks synagogue which has the record of the holding prayers for the longest uninterrupted period of time in Europe since its opening in 1701 and we had a talk about the history of this grand yet simply decorated building which was built and furnished by quakers with their starkly uncomfortable and original benches!
We walked around the City and Shoreditch area learning about the Jewish life for those reaching London and how they were looked after by various organisation and saw plaques and buildings including a soup kitchen for the 'Jewish poor' . In the unlikeliest of places, the Christian church by Spitalfields market we saw plaques to the Christians who looked after the Jews and sought to convert them! One talked of the work for the 'welfare of God's ancient people' with hebrew inscriptions in a Christian church - most unexpected. I've missed out loads of things we saw including the moving sculpture to the kindertransport in Liverpool Street (trying to squeeze this one in!) but hopefully you'll see that there is plenty to see and learn about on London walks.
The photos are - , blue plaque to the organisation who helped the poor Jewish immigrants, the stone marking William Willson's work, the soup kitchen (now posh flats)Bevis Marks entrance, the site of the first but now destroyed synagogue and the Jewry Street sign.
That's all for this week so hope you enjoyed it. Looking forward to next week's....
Bye for now,