Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Knight School

Adam writes… Years ago, while leading the Old University Quarter walk, I was rather distracted by a London Walker from Athens, Georgia. 

We stopped to discuss Birkbeck University, London's great and noble night school, the emblem of which is pictured here…

We discussed the emblemsthe owl symbolising both wisdom and nocturnal study, the lamps for illumination, the sword of St Paul, patron saint of London, and all the while my new friend from Georgia was giggling away to herself. I checked behind me to see if I was being upstaged, or if someone was pulling faces behind my back, but nothing. 

When I looked back the poor woman had turned the colour of St Paul's sword in the picture above and was clearly having trouble containing her mirth. We both struggled on – me to tell the story, she to compose herself – and when we moved on she burst forth in a snort which very soon became a cough which accelerated alarmingly into something resembling a choking fit.

Turns out that when I had used the phrase "night school", she had looked at the sword and shield and immediately pictured an educational establishment for chivalric endeavour… a KNIGHT school.

"I was fine," she said when she finally composed herself, "until I pictured a man with a suit of armour standing on a busy tube train."

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A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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 www.walks.com.

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