On a recent overground walk of the Circle Line route with a group of students, we asked them one question at each stop. A simple quiz like this can help students get more from an urban trail by encouraging observation, discussion, connections and learning points throughout the walk.
1. Liverpool street: What does the Kinderstransport statue commemorate?
This can prompt a discussion about migration, refugees and displacement and the impact of war on families.
2. Aldgate: What are the other gates of the ancient city of London?
London was a small walled city with gates, who was being kept out or in?
3. Tower Hill: What major event happened in Cable street just East of here in 1936?
Part of a rich history of street protest and anti-racist activism.
4. Monument: What event does this Monument commemorate?
How did this traumatic event change the city?
5. Cannon street: What is Walbrook?
Being aware of the underground waterways which still exist.
6. Mansion House: Who is based in the Mansion House?
The government of the City is a little different to that of Greater London, is it democratic?
7. Blackfriars: Who were the black friars?
Why did Henry VIII dissolve the monasteries? What is the origin of the cappucino?
8. Temple: Which major universities have campuses nearby?
One led to a discussion of the contribution of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins to discovering the structure of DNA. The other is where John Kennedy, David Attenborough and Mick Jagger all studied.
9. Embankment: Charing Cross station is here. What other main line stations are on, or close to, the Circle line?
Also an opportunity to try the riddle of the sphinx and see ‘Cleopatra’s needle’, an ancient Egyptian obelisk from 1450BC, presented to the United Kingdom by Egypt/Sudan in 1819 and brought to London in 1877. Not all antiquities in London were gifts…
10. Westminster: How many MPs are elected to the House of Commons?
A chance to discuss how MPs are elected, how long for, and how they contribute to forming a government.
11. St. James’ Park: We’d better behave…whose headquarters is near here?
This gave rise to more than one sensible answer. The one I was thinking of has already moved once in its history while keeping the same name. This can also lead to a discussion of the use of place names as metonyms such as Downing street, Westminster, the White House, Hollywood, Wall street etc…
12. Victoria: Who was she and when did she die?
An era which only ended a little over a century ago.
13. Sloane square: Site of which famous London theatre?
Dedicated to new work by innovative writers. ‘Look Back in Anger’ premiered here in 1956, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ in 1973 and many others.
14. South Kensington: Which foreign leader had his headquarters near here in World War 2?
This explains some of the strong cultural connections in this area including in the name of a local school.
15. Gloucester road: Which great science university is nearby?
An opportunity to talk about Prince Albert and Albertopolis and the Great Exhibition of 1851.
16. High street Kensington: What’s the name of the big house shared by dukes, duchesses, a prince and a princess?
A multi-occupied royal palace.
17. Notting Hill Gate: Which borough are we in and which borough are we heading for?
With q.22 this can lead to a discussion of the names of the 32 London borough and how they relate to those of the many areas within them – it’s not always straightforward.
18. Bayswater: What’s the local ice rink called?
It’s surprising how many people guessed ‘Lea Valley’
19. Paddington: London’s very own canal district?
London’s network of canals is still used.
20. Edgware road: Who originally built this long straight road?
There was also evidence of their presence near the old London wall at Tower Hill.
21. Baker street: Home of which fictional detective?
And also of a popular university with NewVIc students.
22. Great Portland street: Which London borough are we entering?
We’re about to leave the borough with the most Circle line stations.
23. Euston square: Another great university nearby?
And a major London hospital.
24. King’s Cross St.Pancras: A seriously big book collection nearby?
It gets a copy of every book published in English.
25. Farringdon: Which future Russian leader edited the journal ‘Iskra’ (‘Spark’) in nearby Clerkenwell in 1902/03?
14 years later he was involved in the October revolution.
26. Barbican: What is London’s meat market called?
London also has specialist wholesale markets for fish, fruit and vegetables and flowers.
27. Moorgate: What is the Guildhall and what does the prime minister do there once a year in November?
We did the walk soon after one of these events and it was very topical.
Walking the Circle Line (November 2015)
Learning by walking about (November 2015)
This alternative Circle line of the emotions was borrowed from: