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Pablo Fanque, the first black circus proprietor in Britain at Astley's Amphitheatre in 1847. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrating Black History Month in Britain With Circus Stories

October is Black History Month in Britain. It is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about people, places and objects that help tell the story of the Black presence in Britain – those whose names are not well known, and events that included people from Africa and the Caribbean who can help to inform the narratives of British history.

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Painting of John Dee performing an experiment before Queen Elizabeth I. Photo Credit: © Wellcome Library Gallery via Wikimedia Commons.

Halloween History: Attitudes to Sorcerers and Witches in the Elizabethan and Stuart Courts

To put it mildly, attitudes towards witches and sorcerers in the Elizabethan period were confusing and often contradictory. While Bloody Mary (reigned 1553 – 1558) was vicious in her treatment of witches, Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603) had a more ambivalent relationship to this subject. After all her mother, Anne Boleyn had been accused of being a witch because of a malformation of her left hand, which appeared in the form of an extra finger. Elizabeth, as a strong female ruler, may not have been happy about hunting down the fair sex, therefore, and accusing those who might be innocent of any crime.

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Ildi Pelikan at Windsor & Eton Brewery. Photo Credit: © Ildi Pelikan.

A Hidden Gem in Windsor: The Windsor & Eton Brewery

One of Windsor’s best-kept secrets is Windsor & Eton Brewery. Tucked away behind the railway arches – just minutes from the coach park and cark park in a simple, modest building – is the warmest and friendliest of breweries, with welcoming staff and a young manager who really love what they do. Ildi Pelikan describes below how she witnessed a special event on a visit to the brewery earlier this month with fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Leila Sukiur.

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Rolling Stones store on Carnaby Street in London. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

Rolling Stones Store Opens On Carnaby Street in London

It is often said that if you can remember the ’60s, then you were not really there. Well, I can remember them and, in particular, the outlandish clothes we wore, like bell-bottoms and floral shirts – and this was just the men. Male fashion led the way then and was celebrated with songs like Dedicated Follower of Fashion, a big hit for the Kinks. Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know their modern history as well as what happened centuries ago.

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Jimi Hendrix photo at Sanctum Soho Hotel. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

At Home With Jimi Hendrix – Exploring The London Lodgings Of A Rock And Roll Icon

Fifty years ago this month, we lost one of the greatest musicians of all time. Jimi Hendrix died in Notting Hill, on 18 September 1970.

Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on 27 November 1942 in Seattle. He became “Jimi” only later. He had a diverse lineage with African-American and Native American roots. His grandmother Nora was said to be one-quarter Cherokee. Early 20th-century photos reveal her fine features, which bear a striking resemblance to those of her grandson.

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Anna Targett conducting a virtual tour. Photo Credit: © Anna Targett.

Virtual Tours – A Creative Way Of Guiding

A virtual tour is so much more than an on-screen stroll…

Professional tourist guides are using their imaginations to show so much more detail than when guiding on the street. What at first seemed an uphill mountain to climb…. creating tours for a small screen …. has developed into a quiet revolution – and a creative one.

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Imperial War Museum London - Weeping Windows Poppies Tour. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

Remembering The Blitz On London

On the afternoon of 7th September 1940, 350 German bomber planes attacked London, devastating the docks area and killing over 400 people. The day became known as Black Saturday and marked the beginning of a bombing campaign – the Blitz – that terrorised the city for eight months. Around 20,000 Londoners were killed. Eighty years on from Black Saturday, Blue Badge Tourist Guide Ruth Polling explores how remnants of that period can still be seen in London today.

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National Portrait Gallery: Portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ, 1981. Photo Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Princess Diana In London

Lady Diana Spencer, who would have turned 59 this summer, made a huge impact on British life. She helped modernise the monarchy, and her death in 1997 shocked the institution to its core. Diana also made history in other ways: She was the first woman of English birth to marry the heir to the throne in 300 years, and the first royal bride to have had a job. Here we take a look around some of the sites in London with connections to the late princess.

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Sculpture representing Africa on exterior of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Whitehall, London. Photo Credit: © Angela Morgan.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Offering Virtual Tours During Open House London Weekend 2020

It’s got to be one of London’s best-loved events: from the arrival of the eagerly awaited annual catalogue and the feverish planning of visits, to that autumn weekend when the city flings open its doors to citizens and visitors. Yup, it’s Open House – time for Londoners to get up close and personal with buildings they normally can’t access.

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A digital collage created by portrait artist Nathan Wyburn of 200 NHS workers, created as a 'thank you' to the key workers during the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic. Photo Credit: © Nathan Wyburn via Wikimedia Commons.

London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Plan Campaign To Thank NHS Staff

Over these past few months, many of us in the United Kingdom have been feeling particularly grateful for our National Health Service (NHS). The phrase national treasure has perhaps never seemed more appropriate. Founded in 1948, the NHS is a publicly funded and largely free system providing health-care to Britons from cradle to grave. It has touched all of our lives at some point – a cherished part of British life. Many will remember the celebratory tribute paid to the NHS and its incredible staff as a highlight of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.

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Pop up event in London for Hendrick's Gin. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.

The Gin Craze, and London’s Long History With “Madam Geneva”

London has been enjoying a Gin Renaissance in recent years, with over 20 new distillers appearing in the capital, and pubs and bars throughout the city declaring themselves Gin Palaces. You many even have enjoyed a tipple of the juniper-infused drink yourself in recent months. If so, you were probably imbibing a form of London Dry. 

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Blue Badge Tourist Guide Pepe Martinez with group at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with De Montfort University students. Photo Credit: © Pepe Martinez.

Covid-19 Guidance for Tour Guiding

In these uncertain times, people considering taking a guided tour in London and beyond may understandably have concerns about their health and safety. But with the UK’s professionally qualified and highly trained Blue Badge Tourist Guides, you will be in extremely capable hands.

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