Edward Foster

Edward Foster

I was born in Hampstead – one of London's famous villages – and the area has been home to me ever since. London is in my bones: the streets of Camden Town (where I worked in local journalism); the galleries and the glitz of the West End (which I covered as a Film-Theatre-Music editor based in Covent Garden); and Westminster's corridors of power.

For over twelve years I was employed by the world's oldest defence studies think-tank on Whitehall; here I worked closely with Government and the media, analysing, lecturing and commenting on NATO and European security, defence structures and management. This drew on the French, German and Law I had studied at Cambridge University. It sometimes allowed me to indulge my passion for history.

This career also required me to organise events and host VIPs from many countries; skills I now use to present my native London. I myself am a keen foreign traveller, and understand the excitement and satisfaction of making sense of somewhere new. Well, this is the world's most exciting and varied city. Let me show you … I can tailor London-wide coach tours or visits on foot to specified districts and sites to suit your interests, appetite and time.
London's rich variety offers me, as an enthusiastic storyteller, particular themes to develop:
• The City of London as centre of economic power and world financial hub
• Westminster as seat of royal and political power; its palaces and the “Whitehall Village” of departments of state. It is also the focus for state pageantry
• Political and social history of Britain and the world in London's sites and streets; buildings, monuments, etc. relating to statesmen, campaigners and commentators (many of them foreign exiles); security and espionage (including in literature/film)

Cultural threads run through every tour; and can be built into themes in themselves:
• London's architecture presents a story of shifting influences and energetic renewal: medieval Gothic churches, Wren's Baroque; eighteenth-century neo-Classicism; nineteenth-century neo-Gothicism … . Contrast these with Modern/Post-Modern additions, especially the constantly-evolving skylines of the City and Docklands.
• London is a world-class centre for fine art and design. I lead art/design history visits to major and lesser-known collections. London's artists also provide a theme, whether native or adopted, classical, modern or contemporary.
• Similarly, the haunts of classical composers lie across London, which contains remarkable music-related sites and collections.
• London buzzes with Jazz, Roots and Rock references, as any tour of the West End, Chelsea, Camden Town and other districts can highlight.
• Throughout its history, London has absorbed immigrant communities who have added to its landscape and enriched its cultural tastes, leaving trails to follow.

Finally, I have specialist knowledge of military/naval history and memorabilia:
• Military ceremonial (we British do this best)
• Museums concerned with warfare, military units, and arms/armour; monuments, churches etc. relating to military/naval units and personalities.
• Battlefields and Castles (nb. including the Tower of London) of Britain and Europe

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