Young actors make history come alive at Hempsted House

In the middle of a bright Saturday afternoon at Sailfest – with a backdrop of the Thames River and Fort Griswold down at the end of City Pier – a cluster of young people brought a bit of New London’s past to this very contemporary event.

The youths were dressed in period garb, and each stepped up and performed as historical figures in first-person monologues.

Mikayla Brucoli, 12, of Waterford and Malaya Coleman, 12, of Groton portrayed abolitionist sisters Martha and Mary Hempstead, respectively. Coleman spoke about fighting against slavery and for women’s rights. Brucoli reflected Martha’s similar views – and her love of the arts.

Ryder Singer-Johnson, 10, of New London and Niantic played Adam Jackson, who was born a slave. His father managed to free Adam’s mother but wasn’t able to do the same for Adam, who worked for Joshua Hempsted. As he got older, Adam did all the heavy work, with a couple of Joshua’s grandsons often helping out.

Joan Miller, 18, of Montville explained to the assembled crowd how Stephen Hempstead was best-known here for his part in the Revolutionary War. Some people called him Fighting Stephen. When the New London native first moved to St. Louis, Roman Catholicism was the only established religion there, and the lack of regard for keeping the sabbath, she said as Stephen, “was simply scandalous.” People in that Missouri city even chose to celebrate Independence Day rather than keeping the sabbath, prompting Hempstead to bring the Presbyterian church there.

These students are all part of a program that started in early May at the Hempsted Houses in New London. Connecticut Landmarks is working on a reinterpretation project at its property here, aiming to develop first-person performances based on real people who lived and worked in New London in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Aileen Novick, Connecticut Landmarks project manager, says they want to change the way visitors experience history at the New London location. They have been trying to see how visitors react and which stories intrigue them the most.

“It’s a way to bring history to life for visitors. It’s not just someone talking to you about the past but someone who supposedly lived then talking to you,” she says.

And, in the case of Sailfest, it’s a way to reach people who might not know about the Hempsted history. (A side note: While the name was spelled Hempsted during diarist Joshua’s time, family members changed it to Hempstead later on.)

The students in this program, funded through a state Department of Economic and Community Development placemaking grant, simply had to sign up to participate. They learned how to create first-person performances by teaching artist Tammy Denease, who is based in East Hartford. She knows all about historical portrayals, since she specializes in bringing to life “important yet ‘obscured’ women in history” like Bessie Coleman, who was the first internationally licensed pilot in the world, and Elizabeth Keckly, a former enslaved woman who worked at Lincoln’s White House.

The students studied up on various historical figures, reading about them in books and getting access to some first-person accounts via diary entries and letters. They discovered details about the Hempsted family and how members’ views about slavery changed radically over the course of a few generations.

The youths all decided who they wanted to play, and the result is some of what theater people call non-traditional casting.

“They picked characters who interested them, so we have two girls who are playing male characters,” Novick says. “They picked regardless of race. … We have an African-American girl who is playing Mary Hempstead, who is one of the abolitionist sisters, and a white young girl who is playing Adam Jackson, who was an enslaved man here.”

Denease says, “The kids picked the characters they identified with most. They wrote their own elevator speech, if you will, telling who they were and what their role was on that property.”

She taught the students how to get into character and helped guide their writing and performance.

Some of the participants haven’t acted before, while some, like Miller, have. Miller has done roles ranging from Marian in “The Music Man” to Maggie Saunders in “Lend Me a Tenor” at Montville High School, but, with this, she got to create the piece.

“I’ve always done a character who has been written out of a playwright’s imagination. … (Here, I’m) having to do research to figure out what that person might say and how they might speak and what kind of viewpoint they might have,” says Miller, who plans to major in English and music at Providence College.

Learning about the history of the area has been an intriguing part of the program for the participants, but they’ve appreciated other aspects, too.

“I love the acting experience, and I like meeting new people and making new friends,” Coleman says.

Singer-Johnson says, “It’s fun, and you get to learn so much. You’re with different people. You’re learning about how they think, how they think their character should work, and you’re learning about the character from those people. … I really think they should keep on doing (the program).”



London’s history is contagious

Reviews | fiction

Anyone inclined to disparagingly mutter “they don’t write ’em like that anymore� is clearly unfamiliar with the books of Salt Spring Island writer and actor C.C. Humphreys.

Humphreys is a storyteller of the old school: his novels — whether you’re considering his adult historical adventures or his young adult fantasy novels — are tightly plotted page-turners, populated with richly developed characters, within well-researched locales and periods. His books are always a treat to read, immersive and thrilling, but with a depth and skill that elevates them well above pulp.

Plague, Humphreys’ newest novel, is no exception.

A succinct introduction sets the stage. The reader is situated in London in early 1665: Charles II is on the throne, but the memories of the English Civil War are still powerful, still divisive. Meanwhile, in the shadows of the city, the plague is building strength, a threat lurking behind the human actions in the early stages of the novel.

In classic cop-crook buddy thriller style (think 48 Hours in the 17th century), we are introduced, in short order, to Captain Coke, a gentlemanly highwayman who has never fired his pistol in pursuit of his crimes, and Pitman (just Pitman, as he frequently stresses), a thief-taker, who makes the bulk of his living pursuing villains and collecting the rewards. As the novel opens, Coke arrives moments too late at the scene of what was to have been his robbery, and finds a brutal slaughter instead. Pitman, already in pursuit of Coke, assumes — naturally — that the highwayman is responsible. As the story spreads, via word of mouth and crudely printed — and mostly fictional — pamphlets, Coke becomes London’s public enemy No. 1.

The reader, of course, knows that Coke is innocent of this particular crime, and it doesn’t really come as any surprise when the thief and the thief-taker team up to track down the real killer, in the process stumbling into a conspiracy that has its roots in religious fervour and the blood of the civil war, and may topple the monarchy once and for all.

Plague is almost an embarrassment of riches, with incursions into the lowest of the London slums and onto the glamour of the stage, with scenes set in places as diverse as a squalid warehouse slum and the royal toilet. There are fights and chases, narrow escapes and brutal tortures, and, yes, there is even romance.

Why, there’s even a character named Absolute, for all the longtime Humphreys readers out there, about whom I shall not utter another word.

Don’t let the above, however, give you the impression that Plague is just entertainment, the literary equivalent of those summer blockbuster movies designed to give your brain a break and to be forgotten the moment the lights go up.

No, Plague is much deeper, much more significant, and much darker, than that.

Humphreys has set the story up well, with an implicit tension at its core: not only are Coke and Pitman on opposite sides of the legal divide, they’re on opposing sides politically and spiritually. “Captain� is not an honorific Coke adopted when he became a highwayman; rather, he became a highwayman after being a cavalier, a captain in the (defeated) royalist army of Charles I. Pitman, a member of a devout Christian sect, is a devoted Parliamentarian, more than a little uncomfortable still with the ascent of Charles II to the throne.

If all of the above makes no sense to you, or tickles only vague memories of English history, be not afraid: by plunging the reader into his richly imagined London, anchored to these two main characters, Humphreys brings the history to life. It’s not a matter of remembering dates and lineages; understanding the world of Plague involves living within it, scraping the filth of the streets off your boots, feeling the ache of hunger, and the terror of the plague as it begins to sweep through the city.


A Special Relationship: The Early History Of London And The US

The special relationship between Britain and the United States has long been invoked by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic as a unifying symbol in fighting fascism (Churchill and FDR), strengthening economic ties (Reagan and Thatcher) and justifying questionable international interventions (we don’t think we need to name these two).

Although the initial identity of the US as a nation with predominantly British ancestry explains the fundamental link between these English-speaking countries, the creation of the United States of America in 1776 by the Thirteen Colonies who declared independence from British rule reminds us that relations have not always been so amicable. Down the centuries, throughout various family feuds (the mother of all being the American Revolutionary War) and the shifting balance of power, the importance of London in the early history of the United States should not be underplayed. So let’s take a look at some of the Founding Fathers who walked London’s cobbled streets, and the Englishmen who left those streets behind to settle in America.

Captain Smith sets sail

The Yabsley Street Waste Disposal Centre just south of Blackwall DLR Station might seem like the furthest thing away from some of America’s earliest history, yet on this modern industrial site can be found the remains of the cobbled Blackwall Stairs where Captain John Smith last touched dry land before sailing across the Atlantic to found the Jamestown settlement. The expedition set sail on 20 December 1606 in three small ships, the Discovery, the Susan Constant and the Godspeed, which held a total of 104 pilgrims hoping for better lives.

The recycling yard where it all began, via Google Street View.

The recycling yard where it all began, via Google Street View.


Only 44 people survived the brutal conditions of the first year but as more pilgrims reinforced their community, Jamestown grew to be an important trading centre for the Virginia Colony. On the treacherous voyage, Smith himself survived mutiny and the threat of death to be named one of the leaders of Jamestown before embarking on further explorations of the New World for the Virginia Company of London. Unfortunately the stairwell is currently inaccessible to the public. Saint Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church near the Old Bailey memorialises Smith’s infamous voyage with a beautiful stained-glass window, as his remains were interred in its grounds after his death in 1631. You can also find a statue of the pioneer beside St Mary-le-Bow church a little further east.

Captain Jones and the Mayflower

Across the docklands at Rotherhithe you’ll find a 16th century pub that backs directly onto the Thames. It was from The Shippe Inn that the Mayflower left her home dock in 1620 to Southampton, Dartmouth and Plymouth before sailing to the New World. It is believed that Captain Christopher Jones, who part-owned the vessel, moored the Mayflower at the public house (now suitably renamed The Mayflower) to avoid paying the official docking fees of the port authority.

The Mayflower from the river, sporting British and US flags.

The Mayflower from the river, sporting British and US flags.

Captain Jones is thought to be the only Londoner out of the 65 passengers on board the Mayflower and was also a parishioner of the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Rotherhithe. He, like John Smith, was a commercial explorer who viewed the dangerous Atlantic crossing as a business venture rather than an act of faith or ideology, so he ultimately returned to London. He is buried in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin, which is now marked by an impressive sculpture depicting Jones holding the symbolic infant of America in his arms.


In March 1617, three years before the Mayflower set sail, the sudden death of Rebecca Rolfe in Gravesend foreshadowed one of the disturbing realities of the European settlers’ colonisation of North America. Rebecca Rolfe is more widely known by her native name Pocahontas, as she was the daughter of Chief Wahunsenacawh of the Powhatan tribe who ruled over much of modern-day Virginia. She had been captured in 1613 as a teenage girl by English forces in Tsenacommacah territory during Anglo-Indian hostilities. Pocahontas was initially held for a ransom but during her captivity she converted to Christianity, taking the name Rebecca and rejecting an opportunity to return to her tribe. A year later in April 1614 she married an English tobacco planter John Rolfe and gave birth to a son, Thomas, in January 1615. The young family, which is considered to be the first recorded North American interracial marriage, was already on-board a ship returning to the New World when Rebecca became ill from what is now believed to have been flu or smallpox. She died near Gravesend where she was buried in an unmarked grave. John Rolfe continued to the Virginia colony with his son but it is interesting to note that Thomas Rolfe later returned to London and was married in 1632 at St James Church in Clerkenwell.

US by the Tower

All Hallows by the Tower, by M@.

All Hallows by the Tower, by M@.

Further along the Thames, many American tourists come to Tower Hill to see the Tower of London and Tower Bridge but often pass by All Hallows by the Tower church without realising its historical links with America. Pennsylvanians may be interested to discover that the founder of their state, William Penn, was baptized at the church in 1644 and educated there during Oliver Cromwell’s rule as Lord Protector. The church boasts another claim to American fame as the sixth President of the United States John Quincy Adams married Louisa Johnson, the London-born daughter of a US merchant, at the church in 1797 while he was gaining diplomatic experience in Europe.

Adams family in Mayfair

In the same year as Adams’ marriage, his father John Adams became the second US President at the end of George Washington’s second term. Adams Snr was no stranger to London himself. He had been sent to Britain to reinstate diplomatic ties following America’s independence. In fact, if you look away from Saarinen’s modernist beast of the outgoing US Embassy, towards the Georgian terraces on the corner of Brook and Duke Streets, Mayfair, you will see 9 Grovesnor Square where John Adams lived between 1785 and 1788. The Georgian terrace is not open to the public because it is now the official office to another political leader: this time the former British PM Tony Blair.

Franklin’s House

One of Adams’ fellow Founding Fathers had also lived in London, but before US independence. The statesman and polymath Benjamin Franklin was sent to London by the Pennsylvania Assembly as a colonial agent to appeal to the British government about the increasing influence held by the descendants of William Penn. The mission was ultimately a failure. However, it was during his residency at 36 Craven Street from 1757 to 1762 and again from 1764 to 1775 that Franklin’s politics became radicalised through his involvement at Whitehall and the discussions in the coffee houses of Covent Garden. The Georgian terrace is the only surviving Franklin residency in the UK and is now a museum called Benjamin Franklin House, which is dedicated to educating visitors about Franklin’s scientific discoveries and his life in London.

Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold

Image by kind permission of the vicar Canon Simon Butler and the PCC of Battersea Parish Church St Mary.

While most of these iconic Americans are revered in their homeland, there is one individual who stands out more for his infamous treachery rather than his patriotism. After a failed plot in September 1780 to surrender to the British Army at the height of the American Revolutionary War, General Benedict Arnold deserted his post and switched allegiance to Britain. Not surprisingly, the US did not invite Arnold to return to his homeland after they won independence. He spent his later career as a brigadier general in the British Army, living out his last years from 1796 at 62 Gloucester Place in Marylebone, which still stands to this day. He is buried in the crypt of St Mary’s Battersea and is commemorated in one of their stained-glass windows rather amusingly as the ‘Sometime General in the army of George Washington’.


Roller derby: History is made as world’s top team Gotham Girls come to Leeds

MORE than 1,000 fans watched roller derby history being made at Leeds’ Futsal Arena on Saturday.

The world’s number one team, Gotham Girls All Stars, flew into Yorkshire from New York take on Europe’s top team, London Rollergirls’ London Brawling, for the first time.

And history was made as Gotham took their 50th win in a row, displaying exactly why they have taken the top title in club play, the WFTDA Championships, for three years consecutively . The team beat London 294 points to 56, in front of a crowd of fans from across Europe, including Copenhagen, Geneva, Toulouse and Dublin.

Yorkshire leagues were also well represented, with crowds of skaters cheering on the action from Wakey Wheeled Cats, Harrogate’s Spa Town Rollergirls and Sheffield Steel Rollergirls.

And thousands more watched the game as it was streamed live online around the world.

Leeds Roller Dolls’ A team, the Rebel Roses, played London’s second team, the Brawl Saints, before the headline game.

The home side put up a tough fight, but were outplayed 296 points to 73.

Rebel Roses skater Liz ‘Bruise Em Banshee’ Thomas was handed the Most Valuable Player award for her hard work on track.

She told the YEP: “It was fantastic to be part of roller derby history. Playing the opener for London versus Gotham was immense.”

Tickets for the game sold out in just four minutes, and the city’s own league, Leeds Roller Dolls, were partly responsible for making it happen.

Roller derby is a highly competitive sport played on quad roller skates, and Leeds was the first league to form in Yorkshire in 2007.

Leeds play their home games at the Futsal Arena, and queues started snaking their way around the building an hour and a half before the doors opened on Saturday. Huge cheers erupted as the Gotham skaters arrived at the venue, stopping to take pictures with fans and sign autographs.

Leeds Roller Dolls skater Anna ‘Bird of Pain’ Ward said: “It was so amazing to see how many people in the UK really love this sport. The passion of the crowd and excitement of the players was like nothing I’ve felt before. What a privilege to be part of it.”

You can next catch Leeds Roller Dolls in action at the Futsal Arena as part of the Northern Series tournament where they will take on Rainy City Roller Girls on Saturday, July 26. Tickets are already on sale on the Dolls’ website

Pictures: Jason Ruffell


Family: London Man, Accused in Murder of Parents, Had History of Mental …

The uncle of a 26-year-old London man, accused of murdering his own parents over the weekend, says the couple (pictured) always stood by their son, even under the most trying of circumstances.

26-year-old Jeremy Gubbels was arrested late Sunday night after his father’s body was found inside a vehicle in a parking lot in London.

Earlier that same night, his mother was found dead inside the family home on Arkona Road north east of Watford.

In his early years, Pat Gubbles — Jeremy’s uncle — says his nephew didn’t have many friends growing up, and had been dealing with mental health issues.

Gubbels says things started to get out of control by the time his nephew began abusing drugs and alcohol in his early 20s.

“He had mental health issues and it was a downward spiral for him — and Mario and Sue [his parents] did everything they could right to the very end to help him.” he told AM980.

In late 2011, Jeremy Gubbels was convicted of ransacking his parents’ home in Warwick while they were away.

Pat Gubbels says the damage was extreme, but even still — his brother and sister-in-law never turned their back on their son.

“It was quite extensive, it cost over $100,000 to repair the home. Quite often, most parents would be quite upset and wouldn’t have anything to do with that person again but they still stuck by him and other troubles he went through, they still stuck by him.”

Jeremy Gubbels was also convicted of assaulting two Sarnia jail staff while in custody. He was eventually sentenced to seven months in jail, a 10-year weapons ban and was also ordered to provide Police a DNA sample.

“They were special people.” Gubbels said, speaking of his deceased brother and sister-in-law. “What can I say? They’re very special people.”

Jeremy Gubbels is charged with two counts of first degree murder, and is scheduled to appear in court in Sarnia via video on Wednesday.

55-year-old Susan Gubbels’ body was found by the OPP around 9 p.m. Sunday at the family’s home at 5851 Arkona Road in Watford near Zion Line.

Around 10:45 p.m., the body of her husband – 54-year-old Mario Gubbels – was found in a parked vehicle near Richmond Street and Queens Avenue in downtown London.

Approximately 15 minutes later, a suspect was taken into custody nearby without incident by London Police.

Court documents obtained by The London Free Press say the time of the crimes was listed as between July 11th and 13th.

Shirley Gubbels is the couple’s sister-in-law.

“They were just lovely,” said Shirley. “They were the nicest people you could ever meet, and she (Susan) was so much fun, always laughing and joking. I lost my son last year in September, and she was here the whole week and got me through it with other people, too. My friends who’ve met Sue and Mario over the years just love them, and we always camped together when the kids were young.”

The OPP says autopsies are expected to take place later this week.

The couple leaves behind one daughter, Amanda Gubbels.

Lambton County OPP say they’re not searching for any other suspects in this case, and there is no risk to the public.


Slain parents ‘never gave up’ on son

Just two weeks ago, Jeremy Gubbels was hanging out with relatives at a family reunion in London.

Now, the 26-year-old Londoner is charged with killing his parents in a double homicide that ended with police finding his mother dead in their rural home in Lambton County and his father’s body in a vehicle parked in a London parking lot.

Members of the extended Gubbels family are left searching for answers.

They’re trying to reconcile the fresh memories of Jeremy Gubbels posing for photos with relatives in the sunshine at the reunion on the first weekend in July with the charges he now faces.

“Jeremy was a challenge kid — he has had mental problems and issues for a while,” Pat Gubbels said Tuesday about his nephew.

Jeremy Gubbels is accused of killing his mother Susan Gubbels, 55, and his father Mario Gubbels, 54. He’s scheduled to appear by video in a Sarnia court Wednesday.

Pat Gubbels said his nephew faced challenges from a young age.

“He had difficulties growing up. He wasn’t as socially accepted as well as maybe some other kids.”

Jeremy Gubbels was living in a quiet north London townhouse complex before he was arrested Sunday night.

Neighbours said Tuesday Gubbels kept mostly to himself and they were shocked when a half-dozen police cruisers pulled up outside his home Sunday.

Gubbels didn’t appear to have a job, said a neighbour who didn’t want to be identified.

Pat Gubbels said his nephew had been in and out of custody as an adult and also received treatment for his mental illness. He lived for a while in a London halfway house.

Despite his brushes with the law, his parents never gave up on him, his uncle said.

“It’s something that they ­handled with the support of the rest of the family. We all ­understood.”

Mario Gubbels worked in a Strathroy factory and had recently worked for a local farmer. Susan Gubbels was a well-known Bank of Montreal employee in Strathroy and Watford.

They had two children: Jeremy and his sister Amanda.

Warwick residents who knew the couple said they were community-minded, members of the Rotary Club and well-respected.

Their love for their son was severely tested three years ago when he trashed their home on Arkona Rd. while they were away.

Jeremy Gubbels punched 20 to 30 holes in the walls, shattered glass and ripped out a toilet.

The judge at his trial said the damage estimated at $100,000 was the worst she had seen in her time on the bench.

She said the case highlighted the horrible toll drug abuse can take.

The judge noted Gubbels’ parents continued to support him and didn’t want him charged.

He was sentenced to seven months in jail for ransacking the home and assaulting two Sarnia jail guards.

Pat Gubbels said he’s shifting his focus to his niece Amanda.

“My niece is alone right now — her brother is gone to jail and her parents are gone. I really need to be there to help her and support her.”

And though Pat Gubbels is deeply saddened and disturbed by the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law, he said he realizes his nephew will need help and support.

“My brother (Mario) explained to me once how he would never give up on his son, so I don’t think I can give up on him. I’m going to try and help him, too.

And Pat Gubbels said he’s sure one thing.

“Mario and Sue died loving their son. They never gave up on him.”​


A London man accused of murdering his parents has had a troubled past since …

A London man accused of murdering his parents has had a troubled past since he was a child, his uncle says

“Jeremy was a challenge kid — he has had mental problems and issues for a while,” Pat Gubbels said of his nephew Jeremy Gubbels.

“He had difficulties growing up. He wasn’t as socially accepted as well as maybe some other kids.”

Jeremy Gubbels, 26, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his parents Susan and Mario.

The body of Susan Gubbels was found Sunday evening in the couple’s rural home near Watford. Her husband’s body was found 60 km away in a vehicle parked in a downtown London parking lot.

The couple stood by their son even when he turned against them and trashed their home, Pat Gubbels said.

Susan and Mario Gubbels weren’t at home three years ago when Jeremy Gubbels punched 20 to 30 holes in the walls, broke glass and ripped out a toilet.

The judge at his trial said the damage was the worst she had seen in her time on the bench.

Despite the damage estimated at $100,000, Gubbels’ parents continued to support him and didn’t want him charged, Justice Deborah Austin said.

Jeremy Gubbels’ behaviour demonstrated the horrible effects drug abuse can have on other people, Austin said.

Gubbels was sentenced to nearly seven months in jail for ransacking the home and assaulting two Sarnia jail guards.

His uncle said Jeremy Gubbels had been in and out of custody over the years and lived in a London halfway house for a while.

His parents never gave up on their son, Pat Gubbels said.

“They have always hung onto the hope that someday that they would get him back. They always loved him to the very end.”


Things To Do In London This Weekend: 19-20 July 2014

All weekend


THAMES FORESHORE: The City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS), featuring the Thames Discovery Programme, celebrates Fun on the Foreshore with two days of free events and activities at the Tower of London, including a rare opportunity to visit Tower Beach. Don’t forget to check out the Secrets of the Thames Foreshore before you go. Part of Festival of Archaeology. Free, just turn up (get there early as numbers on the beach are restricted for safety reasons), 19-20 July, 11am-4pm

DANCE PERFORMANCE: Spontaneous Combustion is an annual dance and performance festival at Arebyte in Hackney Wick, with outdoor performances taking place in the surrounding Hackney and Bethnal Green area. Free workshops allow the public to try out different dance styles. Free, just turn up, 19-20 July

STREET PARTY: Known by many as the go-to street food market at lunchtime, Whitecross Street near Old Street is taken over by a street party this weekend. There’s a Mad Hatters Tea Party, Radio Roadshow, live spray can art, kids activity zone and more. See full programme here. Free, just turn up, Saturday and Sunday, 12pm-6pm

BEACH LAUNCH: The Print House Bar in Stratford unveils its sandy beach, complete with deck chairs, palm trees, a tiki bar and barbecue this weekend. Free, just turn up, launch this weekend, beach open all summer.

LAMBETH COUNTRY SHOW: A traditional country fair comes to Brockwell Park, with home grown vegetables, jams and chutneys, sheep dog and owl displays. But this country show has a South London twist, with live music, zumba dancing and football sessions. See the full line-up here. Free but donations welcome.  Saturday and Sunday, 11am-7pm

Saturday 19 July

Try out street food at KERB Saturdays.

Try out street food at KERB Saturdays.

ZOO HISTORY: As the first scientific zoo in the world, London Zoo is full of history. Learn all about it, from the many listed buildings to the story of the real Winnie the Pooh bear on a history tour. Various prices, prebook, 10am

DOG SHOW: North London Vintage Market returns to Crouch End with the usual retro bargains and a dog show event in aid of North London Hospice. £1.50, just turn up, 10am-5pm (dog show 2pm)

SUBLIME FESTIVAL: St Martin-in-the-Fields and The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square host Sounds Sublime choral music festival. Performers come from across the UK, from gospel choirs and jazz quintets to Renaissance consorts and opera duos. Free, book for some events, 10.30am-5.30pm

BUS GARAGE OPEN DAY: The latest TfL bus garage to throw open its doors to the public is Walworth. Take a trip on vintage buses, ride through a bus wash and go on a behind the scenes tour. All events are under cover, so don’t let the Great British Weather put you off! Free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

MUSIC FESTIVAL: The Ship Pub in Kennington hosts Kennington Music Festival Family Fun Day. From 11am, keep the kids busy with a  bouncy castle, face painting, and an arts and crafts tent. At 2pm, the live music starts, with a BBQ and outside bar. Free, just turn up, 11am-3am

VINTAGE SUITCASES: Pop Up Vintage Fairs is also going for a summer festival theme at Old Spitalfields Market this month, with vintage suitcases filled with fashion bargains. Free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

STREET FOOD: Every month, KERB Saturdays street food rocks up to Granary Square in King’s Cross. This month, it hosts the London heat of the British Street Food Awards. Turn up, try the food, then vote for your favourite. Free (pay for food), just turn up, 11am-6pm

LAST CHANCE: Today is the last day of the Subnature exhibition at Grant Museum of Zoology. The exhibition features artworks based on digitally altered fish bones, including prints and sculptures. Free, just turn up, 1pm-5pm

ART HISTORY: The National Gallery’s A Longer Look series takes on Sebastiano del Piombo’s Raising of Lazarus today. Led by Rebecca Lyons, participants are encouraged to spend longer looking at just one painting, finding things that are often missed on first glance. Aimed at people with some existing knowledge of art history. £30/£24, prebook, 10.30am

FOODIE TOUR: The Floating Cinema adopts a foodie theme. Food writer Richard Johnson leads a tour around Camden and King’s Cross exploring the new generation of international mobile menus to be found on the streets of London. £15/£13, prebook, 12pm-2pm

WEST END CINEMAS: From music halls to pubs, there are many buildings in the West End which once housed cinemas. This walk explores some of them from the outside, including some which had stage facilities as well as a projection room, and a surviving 1920s foyer. £20/£7.50, prebook, 2.30pm

EAST END CONCERT: Grand Union’s world singers, musicians and Youth Orchestra celebrate the richness and diversity of music in East London with songs and melodies from around the world. Free (donations welcome), prebook, 7.30pm

MACABRE: Bloomsbury Ballroom is transformed into a big top for The Dark Circus Party. The strict dress code is Opulence, Glamour and Fantasy, allowing guests to emerge themselves further into the world of circus. £25, prebook, 9pm

STUDIO 54: The spirit of Studio 54 lives on at Disco 54 at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, with live acts, live music and a sequins-and-disco dress code. £6/£8, prebook, 9pm

POLICE OPEN DAY: Various Met police units will be at Imber Court in Esher for an open day with plenty of family activites. Quiz officers from the mounted police, helicopter and marine units, meet a sniffer dog. The Territorial Support Group will also be in attendance, not doing crowd control for once. Free, just turn up, 11am-4pm

Sunday 20 July

Greenwich Cultural Festival

Greenwich Cultural Festival

SUMMER STREETS: Regent Street’s traffic-free Sundays continue today. The VA Museum has a fashion pop-up with shopping opportunities and specially curated fashion workshops. A 100m catwalk is installed as the street is turned into a Mile of Style for people to strut their stuff. Free, just turn up, all day

ANTIQUES FAIR: Adams Antiques Fair returns to the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria with over 140 traders from across the UK and Europe selling their stock. £4, prebook, 10am-4.30pm

VINTAGE THRIFT: The Round Chapel Performing Arts Centre in Hackney Downs hosts Dusty Fingers, a vintage market with over 45 stalls, prices as low as £5 and a live DJ. £1, just turn up, 11am-3pm

THEATRE OPEN DAY: Opera Holland Park Theatre has a free open day for families, with workshops and theatre performances. Learn how to apply stage make up or have a go at conducting the orchestra. Free, just turn up, 12pm-5pm

WORLD CULTURE: Greenwich World Cultural Festival takes place in the grounds of Eltham Palace, with dance, theatre, music, art and circus from across the globe, including a vintage ballroom and pop-up performances throughout the afternoon. Free, just turn up, 12.30pm-4.30pm

FAMILY DAY: Keats House in Hampstead has a family day with a holiday theme. Free, just turn up, 1pm

CONCERT: Hear classic quartets for strings by Haydn, Shostakovich and Schumann played by young players in a Maiastra concert, organised by the Aidan Woodcock Charitable Trust, at Omnibus, 1 Northside, Clapham Common. Free (donations welcome), just turn up, 4.30pm

MONTY PYTHON: If you didn’t manage to bag yourself tickets to the live Monty Python shows, look on the bright side of life (sorry!), as Rich Mix in Shoreditch screens the final O2 show live. £13.50/£16.50, prebook, 7pm

POP-UP CIRCUS: The roaming performance pops up at Rich Mix in Shoreditch tonight to perform The Story of The Moon. It celebrates the 45th anniversary of the moon landing through music, theatre, film and art. £10/£8, prebook, 8pm

Come and Feast with us

Feast food festival returns to Tobacco Dock at the end of July with top London restaurants, street food and food traders all tempting you with their delicious fare. There’ll be plenty to sip and savour too, plus music, masterclasses and and nice places to hang out.

Get two tickets for the price of one! To redeem this offer, visit and enter the code LONDONIST when booking.​

Terms Conditions: Available on Standard tickets only for any session from 31 July until 3 August. Not available with any other offer.

Feast runs from Thursday 31 July to Sunday 3 August at Tobacco Dock, Wapping. Londonist is proud (hungry and thirsty) media partner to Feast 2014.

Other good stuff

Catch up on all latest features, see what we like in theatre and arts and browse more things to do in London.

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Van Doos make history at Buckingham Palace

LONDON, England – O Canada, you do put on a fine military show.

A piece of Canadian history was reprised Monday when soldiers from the Royal 22nd Regiment stood guard outside two Royal residences in the heart of London.

The men from the Quebec-based unit marched to their posts at Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace respectively to begin six days guarding the British Royal Family, to the cheers of thousands of tourists thronging the capital.

Their task came as recognition of the regiment’s centenary and repeated an assignment last undertaken in April 1940 at the personal request of His Majesty King George VI.

“This is a historic moment for the Royal 22nd Regiment. It is the second time since the regiment’s founding that we have the honour and privilege of performing this important official task,” said Maj.-Gen. (retired) Alain Forand, the unit’s honorary regimental colonel, ahead of Monday’s duties.

“This return to the old world is part of the commemorative activities of the Royal 22nd Regiment highlighting the events that marked the regimental and military history of Canada.”

On a bright London morning, Forand was on hand for the march off along with a host of other serving and former Canadian Forces members.

Known colloquially as the Van Doos (a tortured, anglicized mangling of “vingt-deux,” French for twenty-two), the regiment has 42 battle honours that perfectly encapsulate the military history of Canada through the 20th century and beyond.

How did this exclusively Francophone formation with its distinctive red-plumed bearskin headdress come about?

On Oct. 21, 1914, the Government of Canada authorized the recruiting and formation of a French speaking battalion to fight in Europe.

The 22nd (French-Canadian) Battalion was formed and its efforts in the First World War were deemed so conspicuous that in 1921 it received special recognition from the House of Windsor to become the Royal 22e Regiment (R22eR).

“Wherever they are called upon to serve, the members of the Royal 22nd Regiment make Canadians proud. They are the faithful guardians of freedom and equality: values dear to Canada,” observed Lieut.-Gen. Marquis Hainse, Canadian Army commander.

History proves him right on every count.

The Van Doos fought through the First World War and Second World War. They were then sent to Korea in 1951 and a series of UN peace keeping missions from Bosnia to East Timor followed.

Most recently the regiment could be found in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

For Lieut. Karl Brodeur of Magog, Que., the Royal tour of duty is welcomed as a chance for Canada to renew a proud role of primacy on one of the biggest stages of all.

He is one of 70 who have made the trip across the Atlantic as part of the Ceremonial Guard.

“You just have to look at all the thousands and thousands of tourists out there waiting to see us,” Brodeur said, gesturing outside Wellington Barracks as he readied to go on parade, “to realize what a distinction this is both for us and for Canada.

“This is such a great honour, not just for the Van Doos of today, but for all who have ever served over the past century.

“We are proud to honour their sacrifice.”

Mai oui to that.



* The Royal 22nd Regiment is one of the three Regular Force infantry regiments of the Canadian Armed Forces.

* As a Francophone Regiment, it has served as a model for the entire Canadian Armed Forces in the use of French as a language of work. In line with the recommendations of a Royal Commission convened by the Government of Canada, the “Van Doos” model spread throughout the Public Service and into the private sector, allowing many French-language speakers to pursue their careers in French.

* During their stay in Europe, the Royal 22nd Regiment delegation will visit the historic sites of the Ypres and Passchendale battlefields in Belgium, the Champs Élysées and the Vimy Ridge battlefield in France.


Canadians making history at Buckingham Palace

One of Canada’s most storied regiments is standing guard at Buckingham Palace for the first time in more than 70 years.

Approximately 70 members of the Ceremonial Guard of the Royal 22e Regiment, affectionately known as the Van Doos, took part in the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace Monday morning. The regiment will also mount the guard on July 16 and 18 at St. James’s Palace and the Tower of London.

The last time the Van Doos stood guard outside Buckingham Palace was for one week in the spring of 1940 at the request of King George VI, Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.

“It was a first for the King’s Guard Sentinels to receive commands, not only from a non-British unit, but also in French,” says a statement from the Department of National Defence.

The honour is part of the regiment’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

“It’s an honour not only for the Van Doos, it’s an honour for the Canadian Army and for the Canadian Forces because there were about 12,000 spectators today, there will be about the same this afternoon and in the days to come,” Maj.-Gen. (retired) Alain Forand, regimental colonel for the Royal 22e Regiment, told CTV News Channel from London.

“It’s the Canadian Army that is put on display through the Van Doos doing that particular function.”

Queen Elizabeth II, who now serves as the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, met with soldiers for about an hour on Sunday and even conversed with them in French, Forand said.

“It was really fantastic. It was something that all of the soldiers will never forget,” he said, adding that 75 per cent of the soldiers who have travelled to Europe served in Afghanistan.

Canada’s High Commission in the United Kingdom tweeted photos from Buckingham Palace on Monday.

The Royal 22e Regiment is the Canadian Army’s largest, with three regular force battalions, two primary reserve battalions, and a band.

The regiment served in both World Wars, in Korea and in all United Nations missions that Canada has been a part of.

“We’re very proud of our French Canadian heritage. If we speak French in the Canadian Forces in great part it’s due to the Royal 22e Regiment,” Forand said. “So the soldiers know what they represent, they know that those that preceded them established a statute of excellence that they are maintaining.”

While overseas, the regiment’s delegation will also visit the battlefields of Ypres and Passchendale in Belgium from July 20 to 22, as well as Vimy Ridge in France from July 23 to 26.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to all members of the Royal 22e Régiment past and present on this great occasion,” Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement.

“This commemorative event honours the bravery, dedication, and professionalism of 100 years of the Royal 22e Régiment.”