November in London 
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London lights up in the dark

It's November, it might be dark as we leave work, but London lights up in a whole new way this time of year.

And we also commemorate a lighting up of the deepest depths of London too.

It was 4th November 1890 when the city saw the opening of London’s first deep level underground line.  The City & South London Electric Railway was opened by the Price of Wales, who traveled the three miles from Monument under the Thames to Stockwell.  The journey took 12 minutes and was a landmark in London’s history.

At this stage in the Tube's life there were other underground systems that used steam, but this line was the first electric version, avoiding the hell like conditions of the steam and smoke of other lines. 

Interestingly it was also considered revolutionary in its customer service approach. One newspaper reported:

“The nuisance of ticket buying is done away with.  An impatient traveller on one side of a square hole and an unsympathetic clerk on the other will never be seen at the City and Stockwell stations. A turnstile will do all the work; and there is to be only one fare – two pence.” 

Even the Prince on opening hoped "its success would grow and allow many working men to commute into the city".  I’m sure he would never have dreamed of the contactless ease of tapping through the barriers that millions of London commuters ‘enjoy’ today. Although the cut price fares are long gone.

And it was eventually those bargain fares lost that brought the company to its knees.  The CSLER went bankrupt in 1913 and this landmark line was swallowed up by the Underground group (eventually the London Underground).  This line forms part of today’s much longer Northern Line. 

 
Watching London Light Up This month

The Lord Mayors Show
 â€“ This 800 year old spectacular event takes place on the 8th November, ending with a spectacular Fireworks display on the Thames at 5:15. More info at lordmayorsshow.london

Christmas Lights 
London will well and truly light up this month, as two of its biggest shopping roads close down for the big switch on.  Oxford Street turns on Thursday 6th November. Regent's Street will be switched on Sunday 16th November.
 
Meet the Londoner 
Who are you and what do you do?
 
My name is Yannick and I’m an independent London Tour Guide In Search of Lost Time(s). An expat from Luxembourg, I moved to the London eight years ago and I’ve been exploring the hidden of the Big Smoke ever since. From secret gardens to art deco buildings, London is filled to the brim with delights – big and small – and the aim of my tours is to share these with my visitors.
 
What’s your top London tourist attraction?
My top tourist attraction in London has to be the British Museum. I’m a volunteer tour guide at there, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the BM. I’m fascinated with the ‘Behemoth of Bloomsbury’ and my enthusiasm for the place has never failed me yet. From well-known artefacts to modern art, visit the museum for a humbling experience. 
 
What’s your biggest London secret?
 
London is a town filled with secrets. As a tour guide, it’s always difficult to pick city’s biggest secret – the pressure! the stress! – so instead I’ve decided to share one of my recent discoveries with you. Pop into the basement kitchen of the Town House, a shop turned art gallery, where you will find Spitalfields’ most atmospheric café. Offering a delicious array of homemade cakes (go for lemon cream-filled pastries), this is wonderful space for a ‘homey’ catch-up!
 

Where can we find you?
 
From ‘Art Deco in Bloomsbury’ to ‘Macarons & Mews’, I currently offer a selection of five walks. While my public tours are listed on EventBrite, contact me directly (yannick.pucci@gmail.com) for a private tour. You can also find me blogging at In Search of Lost Time(s) as well as on Twitter (@ypldn) where I am always up for a chat
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