On May 17th, 13 Rotarians and wives embarked on a trip to the East End.

Alighting at Aldgate East, the party was completed by the arrival of Simon and Catrina Dodds and Dennis and Geraldine Thompson.

And so on to the Lahore Kebab House in Commercial Road, where a feast of Pakistani food was provided. The onion bhajis were to die for. So much so that an extra plate was ordered for Simon Dodds. We then staggered slowly down the aptly named Christian Street to Wiltons Music Hall in Graces Alley.

Wiltons opened at the back of the Prince of Denmark public house in 1859. Many well known stars of the Victorian era appeared there, including George Leybourne, better known as Champagne Charlie. We had an excellent tour of Wiltons, guided by the bar manager on his last day working there, after which several of us tasted the local porter.

It was then back to Aldgate East station to meet Ed Glinert, well known expert on the history of the East End, and author of several books on the subject. We were shown a whole host of interesting places during the walk, including the recording studios where Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded, the only building in Western Europe which has been a church, a synagogue, and now a mosque, the Georgian houses of Spitalfields and of course Brick Lane. We heard about Jack the Ripper and the Kray twins. The walk finished at the Blind Beggar pub, where Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell back in 1966.

After a swift drink in the Blind Beggar it was back to Victoria and home. Dennis Thompson, showing true British grit and determination decided to walk back to London bridge station with Geraldine.


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