Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Famous White Leaflet from London Walks

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As well as Twitter we use this blog (and you can read our blog mission statement HERE) to continue our London conversation with our London Walkers. Then there's Facebook and our Podcast too. Not forgetting

But the main messenger for London Walks remains the famous white leaflet. And as our methods of communication have evolved, so too has the leaflet. 

Here's a brief history of The Famous White Leaflet.

Your correspondent is David Tucker

Regularly happens.

And it warms the cockles – pleases us no end.

It’s like chancing on old friends – old friends that go back a long way.

When that happens – well, it’s a fair way up on the scale of good news, good things.

“It” – that which “regularly happens” – being a walker who comes up at the start of the walk and greets us with a big smile and a pleased “I’ve been walking with London Walks for over 40 years.” Or “since 1980.” Or “1978.” Or ‘82”. Or whenever – just a long way back, whatever the precise figure is.

Anyway, in which connection, stumbled across an old London Walks leaflet this morning. One of those “back of the drawer” moments.

This one’s from 31 years ago. Somewhere we’ve got a proper file – an archive – going back nearly 50 years.  

But this came to hand this morning. Popped up from the past. A snapshot of London Walks in its adolescence. Said, “hey, look at me, remember me?” So  I thought, “ok, kiddo, let’s go for a – well, let’s go for a London Walk. Put you out there again. Let you stretch a leg – a Lazarus moment for 1983-84. I’m sure there’ll be lots of 2014 London Walkers – both brand new arrivals and old timers – who’ll want to meet you. Maybe meet you again in the case of some of our “old friends.”

And just for fun, we’ll “team” the 1983-84 London Walks programme with the very latest – the current – the Winter 2014-15 programme.

The differences speak for themselves. Everybody will certainly notice what a London Walk cost 31 years ago: £1.50. Or £1.25 for students. So no “Super Adult” discount in those days. Mind you, the “Free Pass” age for Kids has dropped one year – 16 to 15.

Other noticeables: well, look at the old London phone number – that old 01 code. That’s well and truly yesteryear.

And – can’t miss this – no email, no website, no cellphone.

And no colour of course – really bare bones black-and-white.

There’s the different shape. A5 as opposed to today’s 1/3 A4.

Major major difference of course is what’s on offer. Some days no walks at all. Midweek days, if they do have a walk, it’s precisely that: a walk. Just one. Weekends, well, Sunday was the big day: 5 walks. Saturday had 2. Ten or so a week. As opposed to the 100 or so a week we run now.

To say nothing of no “blurbs”, no Guide “profiles”, no trademark and a wowser of a logo difference.

Aficionados of these things will also notice the font difference. The font we use now – the font we’ve used for 25 years – has become iconic in London Walks terms. It’s identified with us – it just immediately announces: LONDON WALKS.

Anything else? Yes, sure. The leaflet’s from the Ian and Pat era.* That’s their phone number, their address (a street, a house number – a mailing address; it’s almost quaint, isn’t it? remember those days? snail mail days).

*They were the proprietors of London Walks back then.  I – David – was a London Walks guide in 1983. But our – Mary and my – taking over the helm was seven years in the future.

A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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