Half the population of London was wiped out during the Black Death in 1348 and 100,000 people were killed in the capital during the Great Plague of London in 1665. Apart from World War II no other events have come close to having such a devastating effect on London during its two-thousand year history.
The arrival of plague caused utter chaos and near anarchy in the capital city. Nobody had a clue how it arrived, how to deal with it, or who it would strike down next – men or women, young or old, rich or poor. But there was one thing in which you could be sure: if the telltale signs of the “tokens” or those hideous boils known as buboes were found on your body, it was as near as certain that you would be dead within three days.
Plague arrived with a bang in medieval times in what became known as the Black Death. Every few decades since then it ran riot in London until, with one giant explosion 300 years later, it decimated the capital in the Great Plague of London before leaving, never to return again...(at least, not so far...!)
Our unique walk takes you on a fascinating, entertaining journey through these twin periods of plague and pestilence in the capital. A few of our highlights include:
* Discovering the plague pits where hundreds of the dead are buried
* Meeting flesh and blood, humorous historical characters from medieval and Stuart times including the sinister ‘Plague Doctor’
* Visiting the ancient streets and churches which Samuel Pepys and Daniel Defoe made famous in their vivid accounts of the Great Plague
* Passing the spot where the terrible Great Fire of London began
* Reveling in tales of ‘Bring out your dead’, the dreadful ‘shutting up’ of houses and bizarre plague treatments including placing a chicken on that weeping bubo!
You will also enjoy terrific views and hear stories about some of London’s most famous city landmarks during this time of plague including: The Tower of London, London Bridge, Monument and the River Thames itself.
We are convinced that once you finish our walk you will never look at the capital city in the same light again. You might also - as the narrator of Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year exclaims at the book's finale - feel grateful you are… “ALIVE”!
Photography by Anna Gordon annagordon.co.uk