Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner.” — Michael Gildersleve — 13th January 2014.

Mike Gildersleve gave us  an inter­est­ing meander through his early days in London. From the outset, he said it would be pro­voc­at­ive.  Indeed, it was as  he developed the theme that London means North London.  Mind you he may be biased as he was born in Hampstead, in the hos­pital not on the heath.   To any sens­it­ive soul from the mean streets of South London , this was a start­ling concept that North London is London.  The Romans settled in London arriv­ing with their army and ele­phants on the south side and waded across the Thames to set up camp on Corn Hill, the highest point  which is now part of the city square mile.   London became a walled set­tle­ment on the north side.     First the Romans and now the bankers!!

He added that the under­ground system had approx­im­ately 270 sta­tions of which only 35 were south side.  The Monopoly board has only one main fea­ture on the south side which is Old Kent Road.   Further, there are only 2 main rail ter­mini on the south side.

We had a lin­guistic tour of London with some examples of the  local accents and lazy  pro­nun­ci­ations.    Rhyming slang was covered giving mem­bers examples for our inter­pret­a­tions.  It appears the ori­gin­a­tion of rhym­ing slang was for vil­lains to speak to each other without the ‘Old Bill’ know­ing.  Amazing, that our mem­bers were so know­ledge­able!

Mike told us about his short career as a bus driver in London describ­ing his driv­ing test on the skid pad, fun with the pre-selector gear­box and how chew­ing gum helps you with revers­ing the red London bus.  We fin­ished with a quiz which again showed the mem­bers’ know­ledge of ‘The Smoke’.

An inter­est­ing enjoy­able start to the week.