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Doing the talking while you’re walking

Phew! Well that was a mammoth recording session. For those who haven’t read an earlier post Technotours the recording is for some self guided walking tours of London that I’ve recorded. The previous post highlighted the difficulties of putting my words into speech both from a technical basis and also in the narration.

Not exactly Abbey Road

Happily since my first effort, I’ve upgraded the temporary recording studio, utilising a set of old NHS hospital screens and a very thick blanket. This dampens reverberation and cuts out background noise a little. Unfortunately, it does become very warm within and I happened to start recording right in the middle of a spell of very hot weather. I also found that I was unable to record during the day, due to the background noise of cars, busses, dogs barking, doorbells ringing, seagulls and even the window cleaner, so had to wait until at least 11.00 pm. Most of these outside distractions had disappeared late at night and although they were infuriating when they interrupted the flow, they were nothing to my inability at times to speak the most simple of sentences. Sometimes the harder you try the more your tongue gets tied and in some cases has a mind of its own. All told I think I recorded for five hours to get the two tours in the bag. After listening to the edit from the sound engineer, I think it was time well spent.

The two tours I’ve recorded are available on Voicemap. The first audio walking tour, Not Avenues, but alleyways takes you on a journey through the remaining alleys and courts that criss cross Fleet Street.

One of the fascinating things about historic London were the hundreds of labyrinthine Alleys and Courtyards that filled the city. Sadly many have fallen to the Developers axe, but enough remain around the area of Fleet Street that tell the fascinating story of everyday London and the people that once trod these ancient thoroughfares. Fleet Street was the major entrance and exit to the City from the South West and has a long association with the printing trade, but was also the starting point for the home of the legal profession, which continues to this day. There is also an association with writers and poets and you’ll visit the birthplace of the modern dictionary and also the place that Shakespear went when he was in need of Italian translation. You’ll tread the same streets as highwaymen, nobility, millionaires and everyday Londoners who made this area of London their home and see some of the major historical landmarks around what was the furthest extent of the City of London’s jurisdiction.

Temple Bar, Fleet Street

The second tour that takes in the less well known and visited area for an audio walking tour of London is Pimlico, Fairer than Florence which tells the story of the area adjoining well heeled Belgravia and chaotic Victoria. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the district which would eventually be known as Pimlico was no more than an agricultural area beyond the fringes of Westminster. During the nineteenth century, this area was ripe for development and in 1825 Thomas Cubitt was contracted to develop the area. He produced a grid of handsome white stucco terraces and beautiful garden squares. The area was synonymous with the aspirational middle classes and attracted artists, thinkers, scientists and politicians. For all it’s beauty and structure the area is no stranger to death, chaos and destruction, it has a relatively modern history, but is all the more interesting as the people and events are still within some peoples living memory.

St George’s Square, Pimlico

The publication of these goes to make three in total, alongside the first tour I recorded called “There’s more to Moorgate“. As with the Pimlico tour, Moorgate is probably not on the list of most visitors to London, but it abounds with history and has a fascinating story that runs from the first Roman settlement up to the early 20th century.

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