“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.