Walking the Secret Alignments of London

A walk linking together Bunhill Fields, Bunhill Row, Old Street, St Luke’s, and City Road. Taking in the burial places of William Blake, Daniel Defoe and Hawksmoor’s obelisk on St Luke’s Church.

Why do I always end up around the edge of the city in December and January? I associate this area with being freezing cold and it being a kind of gloomy cloudy day like the day I shot this video just before Christmas 2021. It was the perfect weather for this particular walk linking together series of really intriguing locations with great stories to tell. This is really the best type of walk in many ways. Obviously I love my river walks, I love all walks really, but there’s something about unlocking the secrets of the city which is just magical. There’s something about the city fringe, the nature of it, the stories it contains which is really potent and really resonant because of the things that were pushed outside the city walls. I headed north of Liverpool Street into once what would have been fenland and marshland where the River Walbrook rises, a place of dissenters and outlaws and outcasts, a place of pleasure and play. These are all things encountered on the walk.

psychogeographic alignments of London map from Lud Heat by Iain Sinclair
psychogeographic alignments of London from Lud Heat by Iain Sinclair
Grave of William Blake in Bunhill Fields, London
Bunhill Fields

The Route:
This walk starts near Liverpool Street on the edge of the City of London and heads along Worship Street to Finsbury Barracks, home of the Honourable Artillery Company. Next to the Barracks we find Bunhill Fields an old burial ground were numerous religious dissenters were buried including Daniel Defoe and William Blake. We walk along Bunhill Row where John Milton lived and wrote both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.The secret alignments of the City lead us to Old Street believed to have been a Roman road between Silchester and Colchester built along an even older trackway. Here we find St Luke’s Church designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.
Our route takes us past Ironmonger Row Baths to Peerless Street once the site of a notorious pool that became a Ducking Pond and later a bath house with a library. We then emerge on City Road and our walk ends at The Eagle pub in Shepherdess Walk which is mentioned in the nursery rhyme, Pop Goes the Weasel.

Bunhill Fields

Read – Secrets of the City with Iain Sinclair