Sunday, 6 November 2016

London Walk of the Week: A Special Walk for Remembrance Sunday

Every Sunday we’ll pluck just one walk from the vast London Walks repertoire and put it centre stage.

You can check out the full schedule at

But if you only take one walking tour this week, why not make it…

A Special Walk for Remembrance Sunday

Embankment Tube, river exit 

2.30pm Sunday 13th November

Guided by Hilary

A River of Memory. To keep alive the memories of those who did not survive.

"Were the dead of the Empire to form up in Trafalgar Square and march, four abreast, down Whitehall to Parliament Square it would take that ghostly column three and a half days to pass the Cenotaph." Thus the War Graves Commission in 1931, trying to give people an idea of the scale of what was almost beyond comprehension. The loss of a generation. The Lost Generation. Slaughter on an industrialised scale. The Great War. The war that changed everything. (The world we live in is still very much a world created by – shaped, tempered by – the Great War. This walk explores the London epicentre of all that ("all that", it's not Goodbye to All That, it's remembering, picking out, making sense of "all that." Everything from the memorials and statues – seeming to stretch out to the crack of doom – to the actual places then, the War Office; the window, where Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, looking out at a gas lamp lighter in St. James's Park, said, "the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time;" where some of the principals lived, and where most of them worked, taking decisions the consequences of which are still very much with us today. But most of all, we hear, we sense – we remember – that ghostly column, the sound of those marching feet. 

More than eight million died. Countless others were wounded. 

"Is it possible to kill so many people without knowing why?" Private Jean Dumont." 

"You know what the war was like, my friend, but who else will remember when we are dead?" Jacques Meyer. 

"Lice, rats, barbed wire, fleas, shells, bombs, dug-outs, bodies, blood, alcohol, mice, cats, artillery, filth, bullets, deaths, fire, metal. That's war. It's the Devil's work" Otto Dix. 

"The brutal subjugation of individual life to a single will, without any chance of appealing against it, could be seen here in all its stark cruelty" Ernst Junger. 

"On our return, will they believe it? Will they listen to us alone? Will they keep, at the least, the memory of death, of the countless dead?" Ernst Johannsen. 

"We can have only a vague idea of the grandeur of the dead. They have given their all" Henri Barbousse. 

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place...' John McCrae. 

"Time has done its work and, from one generation to the next, the memory has become fainter. What was once the history of individual families has become the impersonal history found on the pages of books... When everyone forgets in the end, the earth will remember. The ground will continue to bear the scars of the tragic history of these men" Anne Roze.

Meet Hilary at Embankment tube 2.30pm on Sunday 13th November 2016

About Your Guide…


Hilary, OBE, is a Historian, Soroptimist, and a professionally qualified Blue Badge and City of London Guide Let alone a Supermum! Into the bargain, she's unquenchably cheerful. With her very English eye for the idiosyncratic and her sense of humour – to say nothing of her sense of history and her command of the material – she's a star turn. And hey, where else but London Walks are you going to be guided by an OBE!

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

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