Saturday 9 August 2014

Nairn's London by Routemaster - latest

I'm pleased to say there is huge interest  in my idea for a bus tour to mark the re-issue of Nairn's London by Penguin Books. It's been great fun working out a route and approximate timings with the aid of Ian Nairn's masterpiece, my tatty London A-Z and (of course) Google Streetview. The tour will begin in the East End and head westwards to the City, travelling in the selfsame bus that appears (with Nairn at the wheel) on the cover of the 1966 paperback. 

The tour will take place on a Sunday in November. (Sundays are best with less traffic, easier parking and fewer crowds). The tour will include perambulations, private visits to some sites (admission is included in the ticket price), photo opportunities and much more. The specific Sunday will be announced very soon.

Half the available seats have already been provisionally booked so places will be limited.  Here's the draft flier:

 Nairn's London 
  by    Routemaster     

A guided bus tour marking the reissue of Nairn's London and celebrating the life and work of Ian Nairn (1930-1983), Britain's greatest topographical writer.

Nairn's London by Routemaster will feature:

   'the best visual joke in London'
         the capital's oldest industrial site
             a beautiful synagogue built by a Quaker
                 a magnificent Victorian covered market
                     a vinegar warehouse (the stuff of nightmare)    
                          a heartbreaking shelter in an atmospheric park 
                             a 'cantankerous' house pre-dating the Great Fire
                                the former home of Sir John Betjeman
                                    a gorgeous City pub 
                                        a wall scarred by a Great War zeppelin raid
                                            the ascent of Ludgate Hill to St Paul's 
                                                a church that looks like a typist     
                                                     a mighty Hawksmoor masterpiece
We then head to a central London venue for a talk by the distinguished architectural historian Gavin Stamp, who has written a new introduction to the Penguin re-issue of Nairn's London. He will be joined by Gillian Darley and David McKie, co-authors of Ian Nairn: Words in Place (Five Leaves Press). 

Travis Elborough, author of The Bus We Loved (Granta Books) will talk about the Routemaster's enduring significance. 

Simon Okotie will read from his acclaimed debut Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon? (Salt Publishing) - an existential whodunnit set entirely on a bus.

Other guests subject to confirmation

Nairn in Routemaster (1966)
  The same bus 48 years later
The bus we'll be using is a remarkable survivor - it's the very same one featured (with the author in the cab) on the cover of the original 1966 Penguin edition of  Nairn's London.
CUV 217C, now nearly fifty years old, was the last Routemaster to run in regular public service before withdrawal in 2005, and is  now operated as part of the Arriva Heritage Fleet.

Date, ticket prices and more details will follow soon . . . 
Profits will be donated to The Twentieth Century Society

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