Lost Battlefields of London

Every now and then someone sends me an email to say they have a great idea or subject for the Bald Explorer. Sadly, I am not always able to follow up these ideas because the location is too far away or the cost to make such a show, for me at the moment, too prohibitive. On other occasions, I get in touch with someone I happened to have spotted either on a website or via Twitter that takes my fancy.

Robert Bard is one such person I am meeting up this week to discuss a possible collaboration on an episode about the lost battlefields of London. His book, Lost Battlefields of London, I believe recently published, gives a terrific insight to numerous key places where fatal disputes have played out between the Crown and aggressor over the years from the Roman era to the First World War.

Robert obviously has a healthy interest in death, destruction and conflict in our capital city, having written a number of books the subject, including a search for the plague pits, lost graveyards, the Tyburn Tree (the site at Marble Arch where many a felon was hanged, often dragged from Newgate Prison on a hurdle and later disemboweled and hacked to pieces and distributed either around London or the country), and other places of execution.

Looking at his profile on Amazon, it tells us: Robert Bard PhD was born in London, 1956. The author attended University of Liverpool, then preferring something glamorous to work, he became an airline pilot. After a number of years discovering that it was actually hard work, he went into the family confectionery manufacturing company where he remained until 1990.

He has also written a number of local history books about the towns close to where he lives in North London.

I have yet to tackle a Bald Explorer episode in the capital city. There is so much to explore it has been a difficult decision to know where to start. Filming on such busy streets is also a problem, especially when it comes to recording sound. Having tried to shoot a few pieces here in the past, I have been surprised by the deafening noises from pedestrians, trains, buses, taxis and aeroplanes. That is not to say it is impossible – there are plenty of TV shows that are based in the great city and they do not have problems.

Stories obviously abound and it is knowing which to concentrate on within the limited 45 minute format that the Bald Explorer series takes. With the help of an expert on hand to guide me to the sites of old battles, I am sure we shall manage. I am fascinated to see where, for example, Wat Tyler was beheaded at the end of the Peasants Revolt of 1381, the bloody battle for London Bridge took place during the rebellion of Jack Cade in 1450 and learn more about the plundering and burning of Newgate Prison during the Gordon Riots of 1780.

London’s Lost Battlefields is a great introduction to gory events that took place on the Capital’s streets (not really forgotten) but often lost from our minds as we rush about trying to get from important meeting to new exhibition when visiting London. Many of the original buildings have disappeared or have been rebuilt over the past 2000 years and so you need to bring your imagination with you as you follow in the footsteps and picture the struggles that went on in our glorious and impressive past. It is a super book and has some cracking photographs too to help you explore these macabre sites.

You can purchase Robert Bard’s book, London’s Lost Battlefields by following this link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Londons-Lost-Battlefields-Robert-Bard/dp/1781552487/ref=la_B0034Q983W_1_1/279-3321448-2869943?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384156505&sr=1-1

9 Replies to “Lost Battlefields of London”

  1. Hi Richard, Just a thought…You may have considered it already – but have you ever thought about covering Leicestershire on your Bald Explorer show?

    Leicester itself has put in it’s final bid for Capital of Culture 2017 so will be trying it’s best to raise its profile, Maybe they would be willing to give you some funding for filming. There should be enough history there for you…and in the surrounding area,

    You will already know about the much-publicised and amazing discovery of Richard III’s remains and the nearby Bosworth Battlefield which saw the birth of the end of the Plantagenets and the birth of Tudor dynasty. There is also the forthcoming funeral of Richard (not to mention the slanging match with York over the the poor man’s remains).

    I believe some more Roman remains have also be found recently somewhere though I need to look into it a bit more…….Also don’t forget the decent cheeses and Melton Mowbray pies that come from the county of Leicestershire. That should keep the foodies happy! (I’m NOT from Leicestershire by the way!)

    Angela 😉

    1. I think it is an excellent idea, Angela. I will investigate further. The greater the distance from places I can stay for free during the production period is what limits my filming. Because we are self-funded, I have to go where it will not cost an arm and a leg. However, if there is some funding or donations available then, this sort of project is more than possible. Thanks for watching and commenting.

  2. Leicester Uni & Freelearn are doing a free on-line course called ‘England in the Time of Richard III’. They are advertising it at the moment. The university seem eager to promote themselves and the topic of Richard III so I would try them. Sometimes universities offer cheap accommodation in the summer too so they may be willing to help. 🙂

  3. hi richard i have just found your site,its of intrest to me about sussex as its full of history plus my ancestry goes right back there.I wondered if you are liable to visit more hall in sussex as i have ancester born there why i dont know, did he own it or son of a servant.Also wenham hall suffol wonder if my ancester richard wenham owned it.Any ways i would so dearly love to see these places.I am going to go through your site now to see whats what
    regards shirley

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