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Tour guide and musical maestro Nigel of Bermondsey’s best local spots

Posted at 4:15 pm, August 8, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment, Food & Drink, Fun London, Outdoor London

View from The Angel : photo credit Stuart Chalmers

From Shad Thames to Southwark Park, site specific troubadour and musical storyteller Nigel of Bermondsey has done his fair share of wistful wandering. And with eyes peeled, a free heart and the open Jamiaca road, you can bet he’s found some inspiring and interesting spots to bulk out his ballads. Take note of the bard’s best bits o’ Bermondsey…

1. The Angel Pub, Bermondsey Wall East
‘This pub has fantastic views of Tower Bridge and the Thames. It is rumoured that a princess and a commodore had trysts close to here. By the pub there used to be a statue of Dr Alfred Salter, a local hero. He operated a forerunner to the NHS in Bermondsey in the early 20th Century. His statue was stolen by metal thieves last year and I am doing this walk on Saturday August 10 to raise awareness for the Salter Statues campaign to get a new one.’

2. St Saviour’s Wharf, Shad Thames
‘The river Neckinger emerges into the Thames here. Called the river Neckinger either because of the pirates who were hung by the neck until dead here (the Devil’s Neckerchief), or after the Norse river god, Necka.’

3. The Cloisters of Guy’s Hospital
‘Guy’s hospital was founded by Thomas Guy who made a killing in the South Sea Bubble, an 18th century stock market boom and bust phenomenon. (Isaac Newton lost a fortune on the same share option.) Guy built the hospital with some of the proceeds. The cloisters are part of the original buildings and in them is part of the original 12th century London Bridge.’

4. The Antique Market, Bermondsey Square
‘This Friday market used to be a place where one could legally sell stolen goods. Those shady times are long gone. Bermondsey Square is built on the site of the 10th century Cluniac abbey. In the Delfina cafe on the corner you can see the foundations which are under a glass floor.’

5. The Blue Anchor Market, Southwark Park Road
This corner boasts the best fishmonger I have come across in London. Russell stalls out from Tuesday to Saturday and as well as having fine fresh fish, he’s a fine philosopher and conversationalist. The Turkish supermarket (St James’ supermarket) has a great selection of olive oil and veg.’

Nigel of Bermondsey’s next troubadour tour, Guided By Song, takes place on August 10 from 7pm.  For just £4, the travelling trouver will guide you from  Crossbones Burial Ground, Borough, to Bermondsey, performing musical acts at the locations that inspired them. Expect some scenes of mild terror as the minstrel exposes the area’s gruesome history, the occasional supernatural fairytale and songs of heartbreaking pathos. Possibly the best way the end a summer eve, especially as the tour leads to the Thames-side Angel pub, Rotherhithe. Grab a pint, watch the sun set over the city and the water lap at the quayside – Bermondsey bliss.

Booking is advisable: email nigelofbermondsey@gmail.com.

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