Once again, on 9th August 2018, the Tour Guides donned their historical character costumes ...

In front of the Jack Wills building, otherwise known as "The Boots Façade", Sophia Duleep Singh, a Suffragette, welcomed the Mayor and Deputy Mayor and introduced the pageant.


The guides would bring to life the characters depicted on the façade and each would explain the reason for them being there.

... while King Athelstan regaled the crowd with the story of how he became the first King of All England..

William Finny, seven times Mayor of Kingston, described his role in the design of the façade.

First to speak was Jesse Boot, who told the crowd how he had bought the building in 1909.

... before moving on to his own history of being crowned in Kingston.

King Athelstan regaled the crowd with the story of his father, Edward, son of the great Alfred ...

Next to speak was a Saxon woman called Aelflaed  who told the crowd why the emblem of Kingston shows three salmon.

Aelflaed was followed by King Henry III who made an abject apology for his father, "Bad" King John but was more positive about his own reign. He also talked about his great grandson, Edward III who is also depicted on the façade.

Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, entertained the crowd with stories of her childhood and many step-mothers.

Sophia then introduced Robert Hammond and his wife, whose coat of arms is on the façade.

Another whose coat of arms is on the façade is William Cleave and Esther, who has lived in the Cleave Alms Houses since 1669, told of how they came to be built.

Charles I kept his head while he described the charter that he had granted to Kingston.

And finally, Queen Mary talked about why  her husband King George V was mentioned on the façade.

Photographs by Carolyn Gibbs

Kingston Tour Guides is a voluntary organisation; we are funded by a grant from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

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