The London Wall has shaped London for nearly 2000 years. Built by the Romans, it has been adapted, demolished, covered up, revealed by the blitz and rediscovered by building works. Its impact on the City and on London is immense and yet it is rarely celebrated, noticed or understood. The recent building of London Wall Place has shone a light on some new aspects of it. London Walled City will look at the history of the wall, its constantly changing appearance, its impact on its neighbourhood, its relationship with nearby buildings old and new and its role in enclosing [or maybe liberating] those who live and work nearby.
During lockdown I started most days by walking and sometimes running around the London Wall. It started as a basic way to keep fit when all other forms of exercise were no longer available. I became increasingly aware that places that I had not linked together became connected by following the Wall. A City of London without traffic became a wonderful place to connect Roman history and contemporary architecture. The Wall is mysterious. During the period of the Black Death the wall became a barrier in an attempt to keep the plague at bay. Walking around the wall is fascinating. What is it doing there? What is it connecting? What is it keeping in and what is it keeping out? And most pertinently, what are all the huge modern buildings, some not yet even occupied, doing now that so few people have been able to return to working in the City?
The Wall has survived the plague, the Blitz and is likely to survive COVID-19 but what will happen to the City around it? As a City of London guide and a printmaker, this project brings together a long-standing interest in talking about the City of London with my experience of printmaking and animation.
Guided tours with the help of a commentary on Zoom. I will be leading London Walled City socially-distanced walking tours as part of the Open House London Tours programme of events. The next one is on Saturday 30 April 2022. Details are on the Open City website.