Review: CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle Summer Solstice Midnight Walk

To celebrate the Summer Solstice the Largactyl Shuffle met on the 23rd June to do a midnight walk from Tate Modern to Maudsley Hospital in Denmark Hill.

On the evening about 30 of us assembled under the rain which is becoming a bit of a hallmark of Largactyl walks this year!

Here are some photos from the walk …

Setting off with umbrellas and waterproofs our first stop on the route was on Southwark bridge road to hear about different types of night workers and the challenges they face.

We then stopped at the gates of the Crossbones Cemetery on Redcross Way, the unconsecrated burial site and memorial to sex workers. There we had a very evocative talk on Charles Dickens ghost stories and the fact that Dickens himself was a prolific night walker.

Onwards we went to the grounds of St George Martyr church where underneath the trees by the flickering candlelight we heard stories about historical courts.

Then it was on to our next stop on the middle of the roundabout in Elephant and Castle.
There next to the colourful lights by the Faraday Memorial we took part in some hearty group singing of an old song, ‘While London Sleeps’ by Harry Dacre, a graphic account of poverty in 19th Century London.

Next on Walworth road we stopped by the NHS building on to learn more about the life of another famous night walker, Florence Nightingale and the contribution of herself and Mary Seacole to the Crimian war.

Arriving at CoolTan Arts we had coffee and cakes while listening to a talk describing the history of the word lunacy.

Resuming the walk and persevering bravely onwards our next stop was at New Church Road to hear about the meaning of Summer Solstice celebrations.

Moving on to Camberwell Green for our last talk we stopped at our very own Gingko tree and the new CoolTan Arts Bench. Here we heard about the weirdest remedies for insomnia, these included rubbing dormouse fat on you feet and eating fried lettuce!

We finished the evening at Maudsley hospital for a much needed sit-down and hot drinks.

One of our walkers said of the night: - “I think the walk was a very special experience, meeting friendly new people and being guided around hidden places of London that I hadn’t seen or thought about before.
I usually rush through the streets of London, but at this walk I got to stop and think properly about the environment around me. Despite the rain and damp it was a very heart-warming night!”.

Well done everybody that bravely took part in the wettest summer solstice walk CoolTan has ever done!

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