Sunday 20 July 2014

Nairn's London - the bus tour

Huge interest in my recent proposal for a bus tour based on Nairn's London, the 1966 masterpiece by Ian Nairn, his "personal list of all the best things in London."

Nairn, alas, is no longer with us - but the Routemaster bus in which he is pictured contentedly leaning out of the cab on the cover of his best book is still in good nick and available for hire. It was the last of its kind to be built (in 1965) and the last to operate a regular public service (the 159 from Streatham to Marble Arch).

CUV 217C (with Nairn) in 1966 Image © Penguin Books

This old beauty can be ours for the day, transporting fifty dedicated Nairnians around some of the buildings and localities that feature in Nairn's London. There will be readings, site visits, photo opportunities galore and some surprises on the way.

The urban odyssey will start in the East End and finish at a surprise venue in central London (one that would certainly appeal to the author) where food and drink will be available. And no - it isn't the St George's Tavern in Pimlico.

Dates are not yet confirmed and depend on the availability of an illustrious guest speaker, but Sundays are best, with less traffic, easier parking and some churches open. Penguin are reissuing Nairn's London in November so that may be when we do it. My calendar tells me there are five Sundays in November this year . . .
Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and the cost will be £20 (with concessionary rates for students/pensioners/the unemployed).  That's for a five-hour guided tour (we'll break - and brake - for lunch) with printed handouts and, at the end of the day, a Nairnian shindig. We'll need at least fifty ticket-holders to cover the cost of bus hire, reception venue, photocopying, administration etc. Any profits will be donated to a worthy cause - The 20th Century Society

This is a unique opportunity to see some of the places described in Nairn's London from the comfort of a significant Routemaster, to enjoy convivial company and to commemorate the life and work of our greatest topographical writer. If you're interested please leave a comment on this blog and I'll get back to you.

Message ends.

Image courtesy of Penguin Books


  1. I would like to come please! After which, maybe a narrow boat on the Leeds Liverpool to retrace his TV odyssey through the Pennines?
    Hope to see you in November... Thanks.

  2. Thanks for your information.. I would like from your blog..