London questions answered

Everything you wanted to know about London, walking, history, pubs and more. Thank you for submitting more than 200 questions for this massive Q&A. There was a huge range of topics from London history, gentrification, favourite walks, historic pubs, lost rivers, London books and so much more including walks outside London and why I make YouTube videos. Part 2 of this video will be uploaded soon.
Some Questions answered in this video:

have you considered going on a walk spanning
more than one day?

I also love reading fiction books that have London as their main setting,
I’d like to know which ones are your favourites and why.
I’m currently reading The Rivers of London Saga and I’m loving it.
Thanks for your wonderful videos.

Would love to hear your thoughts on Wood Green
and Green Lanes managing to avoid some of the gentrification
that neighbouring areas have faced in the last few years

If you had to make a life or death decision on which type
of last walk to take, would it be in the city or the country?

Have you ever had any ghostly experiences on your treks
as you visit many ancient places?

Any plans to complete The London Loop in 2023?
Favourite section of the loop and why?

Hi John. I’m a London cabbie and love your videos.
Have you a favourite place in London to walk?

Have you considered doing a lost river walk WITH Ben Aaronovitch
if he is interested.

Ben Aaronovitch and John Rogers, Wanstead Tap, Sept 2021
Ben Aaronovitch

Have you ever done a walk, got home and thought
well I wouldn’t do that again !.

You’ve explored some of the major “place making” new developments
in some of your videos – North Greenwich, Olympic Village,
Barking Riverside being some. Can you think of any that have come
before them that you would mark down as a success?

East Village Stratford
East Village Stratford

I am really curious to learn from whom you inherited
your clearly infinite curiosity and passion for history from?

What part of London has surprised you most,
or specifically where were you when you turned a corner
and were just awestruck.

Hi John love your videos. As you’ve done an Oxford video
would you consider doing a Cambridge one?

You once told me you’re considering walking the length of the New River.
It’s a huge task. Do you think you’ll ever do it?

What’s the lifespan of your walking boots

Which river would you be the deity of?

Do you enjoy every bit of the walk or are there parts you want to
hurry through? Or is it possible to find something to like anywhere?

I’m just enquiring if you were aware of the Friends of West Ham Park’s
campaign to stop the City of London Corporation developing the old
plant nursery site, next to the park, with a block of flats?

while making your videos over the last several years,
what ways do you feel this process has enriched your life?

John, what motivates you to keep making the videos you do
and how much planning/time does it take to make your videos?

Hello John What is your inspiration for the path you have followed ?

What are some of your favourite/most memorable pubs
that you have visited on your walks around the Herts, Essex
and North London area?

Waterside Inn Ware

Do you think Psychogeography could have a part to play in Archaeology?
Maybe a different way of looking at past environments.

would love to see you
walk the river darent from maybe Dartford to Sevenoaks one day.

Hayes and Harlington has changed a lot since your last visit.
New Crossrail. So many new developments.

Thanks for your great videos. I love them and London.
I’m going to the Natural History Museum soon with a mate
and wanted to know if you could recommend a good pub as
I don’t know this area too well. Thanks for any advice

Is there such a thing as PUB ETIQUETTE?

2021 – A Year of Great Walks

It barely needs to be stated that 2021 was another strange year – let’s leave that aspect there. But it was another great year of walks for me personally – a year that has seen my YouTube channel grow to over 40,000 subscribers (something I thought would never happen).

Winter walks

Back in January I finally made a video of my walk through London’s Little Italy that I started documenting and researching nearly 20 years ago when I lived at the Angel and formed part of a chapter in my book This Other London (which was re-printed in paperback again this year finding new readers). Then came a series of walks tracing and uncovering local lost rivers – The Alders Brook (more overlooked and neglected than lost), the Walthamstow branch of the Philley Brook (Fillebrook) which was one of my highlights of the year, and the Higham Hill Brook.

Continuing the riverine theme, it was fantastic to walk along the West bank of the River Roding with the brilliant Paul Powlesland, from Ilford to the new Barking moorings that Paul and the River Roding Trust created. It was so heartening to see all the great work that the Friends of the River Roding have done cleaning and clearing that bank of the river, restoring an ancient footpath along the riverbank.

Paul Powlesland
Paul Powlesland & Jenny at the end of their epic River Roding walk
River Lea Walk

Places of transition

As Spring slowly started to emerge I explored some of the changing areas of London around Hackney Wick, Stratford and Greenwich Peninsula. These are some of the themes I dig into in my next book which should be published in 2022. I also took a trip out to the western edge of London to visit the medieval village of Harmondsworth, which is threatened by the planned expansion of Heathrow airport.

Fascinating chats

It was a great pleasure to visit the fantastic Maud Milton in her studio at Trinity Buoy Wharf where she creates the wonderful mosiac roundels that can be found at some of the London Overgrond Stations. And mentioning the Overground reminds me of the walk I did with Iain Sinclair along the Thames estuary at Tilbury talking about his new book The Gold Machine. We also discussed this onstage over two nights at the essential Wanstead Tap where I’d also had the enormous honour of doing a sold-out three-night run of talks in May.

River Walks & Old Haunts

I did more river walks throughout the year – the lost rivers of The Peck and the Hackney Brook, the urban watercourses of The Rom, the Wandle (with the brilliant Prof Kate Spencer), the River Pinn, and the Dollis Brook. There were also walks exploring some of my old stomping grounds around Canonbury and Camden.

Out to the Sea

Some of my highlights were walks along estuaries out to the sea – first walking the final section of the Essex Way following the Stour out to Harwich, then drifting the final stretch of the Thames Estuary to the Wakering Stairs looking out along the treacherous Broomway at sunset. On the final weekend of October I managed to get out to Orford Ness coming back on the last boat til Spring 2022. What an experience that was.

The Broomway at Wakering Stairs

Group Walks

2021 was also a year of group walks – always a great experience for me. Firstly it was some Leytonstone Town Centre strolls in the summer for Waltham Forest Council. I also created a series of audio guided walks around notable cemeteries for a wonderful organisation called Advantages of Age and then we met up for a group walk around Nunhead and Camberwell Cemeteries.


Another personal highlight was going down to St. Leonards-on-Sea to spend the day with visionary filmmaker Andrew Kötting and ending our jaunt around the town with a trip to the place where his seminal travelogue Gallivant began (the film that inspired me to start making films).

City stories

In the dark midwinter days I’ve found great comfort revisiting some of the locations that I started exploring and researching in the early days of this blog, recording wanders around the territory of Bunhill Fields, St Luke’s and City Road, and then a couple of days before Christmas, linking together a series of resonant points around Fleet Street.

I’m a little taken aback, to be honest, when I look back over these journeys across the year as a whole, and it makes me excited about the year ahead.

Street View Interview

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by comedian Dave Green for his Street View Interview YouTube series. It’s a great idea and was a lot of fun to do – an interesting way to revisit places that have played a part in my life while sitting on Dave’s bed in Leytonstone.

Inside the new YouTube Space – Kings Cross London

YouTube Space London

YouTube Space London

Wednesday evening I went for a look around the new YouTube Space in Kings Cross. There were mini cheeseburgers with halloumi and bottles London Pride laid on. I did an icebreaking exercise with a charming fella who produces a fashion channel full-time and then got chatting to a lad who does tech reviews, a young lady who makes cooking videos and another who does a Disney Channel.

IMG_0749 YouTube Space LondonIMG_0753 IMG_0732
Everybody seemed impressed by the space which easily outstripped the facilities we had at the small production company I used to work for where TV shows had been made. About a third of the people walked around vlogging with their cameras on selfie sticks which when you think about it makes far more sense than me talking to my camera while walking along the Pymmes Brook through Edmonton.

I started my main YouTube channel 10 years ago this October with a video called Deep Topography with Nick Papadimitriou. When I started working at the TV company the following year the telly people didn’t get it when I told them to start uploading their content to Youtube. How things have changed in those 10 years.

Film talk – making London Overground, 10 years on YouTube etc.

I don’t usually make videos like this – just talking to the camera, I much prefer to be out shooting on the hoof. But since I’m imprisoned in my box room finishing the London Overground film for the premiere in the East End Film Festival it seemed like the natural thing to do. I did try and record it by the river at Chelsea Harbour, but being battered by the wind muddled my brain.

I ended up reflecting (again) that I’ve been on YouTube for 10 years now – an eternity for a website just 11 years old. The first video I uploaded was an excerpt from a walk I’d done with Nick Papadimitriou in 2005 following the northwest Middlesex main drainage scheme – Deep Topography with Nick Papadimitriou. There is a direct link between that video and the London Overground film (as explained above) so it’s apt to be finishing the film this year.


Talking about London Overground film on Soho Radio

Went in to the wonderful Soho Radio on Wednesday morning to talk about my London Overground film with Ben Ramble and Holly Horne on their show Free Seed on Soho.

It was a suitably rambling chat (you can listen to the entire episode above) where I went on about YouTube for too long, but then it is integral to my development as a film-maker and also as a writer. I’d also recently realised that I’ve been on YouTube for 10 years now which is a bit of a landmark when you consider that the platform is just over 10 years old itself. We touched on the work-in-progress screening at Close-Up the week before where we screened 20 minutes of footage and discussed the film and book with Iain Sinclair.

Iain Sinclair John Rogers

The morning after the Close-Up screening I went out to do one of the final shoots with Iain picking up the Overground trail at St. Mary’s Church Battersea where William Blake got married Catherine Boucher in 1782.

The finished film will premiere in the East End Film Festival which runs from 23rd June – 3rd July.