Ghosts of Fleet Street
Immerse yourself in the dark history of Fleet Street on this blood-chilling night tour led by young London historian Dr Matthew Green with actors, musicians, and twitching corpses hidden along the route.
- Free tankards of ale in some of London’s most haunted taverns.
In 1495, an eccentric octopus-loving Walloon called Wynkyn de Worde set up a creaking printing press at the sign of the sun in St Bride’s Churchyard. 250 years later, Fleet Street had blossomed into the nerve-centre of the world’s biggest and most influential mass media, churning out hundreds of newspapers each week. By the 20th century, every major UK newspaper had its headquarters on Fleet Street. And its ancient taverns were packed with hacks and inkies.
Fleet Street came to be associated with knowledge, enlightenment, and democracy. It has been hailed as the “Palladium of English Liberty”.
But it has a dark side. The story of the mass media is one of mass murder.
Beginning at Stationers’ Hall and finishing with a pint in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, this musical, dramatised tour will take you through 600 years of bribery, gossip, and booze on the blood-soaked Street of Shame. You’ll meet the ghosts of Fleet Street denizens including Samuel Johnson, Hodge the Cat, Daniel Defoe, Kitty Fisher, the Rhinoceros of Ludgate Hill and Rebekah Brooke.
Dr Matthew Green
In 2009, Dr Matthew Green completed a PhD in the history of the mass media at Oxford University. Unmoved by the prospect of a cloistered academic life he turned to popular history and now writes for the Guardian and Telegraph, appears on BBC TV and radio, teaches a wide range of historical subjects, and gives sell-out talks at the Idler Academy, 5x15, Port Eliot and elsewhere. He is currently writing a book on 17th and 18th-century coffeehouses.