Last Updated on 24. March 2021

In today’s episode of Meet the Londoner we catch up with Mike from London Historians. As fan of London’s history and special places in the City, I have been a member of Mike’s organization for over 3 years now.

Mike Paterson from London Historians

Mike, please introduce yourself briefly

Mike Paterson, Historian. Originally from Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). Moved to London in 1980.

Where in London do you live?

Brentford, a suburb west of London quite near Heathrow.

When did you start London Historians and what was the motivation to do so?

2010. There was at that time no membership organisation to cover London’s history in its entirety. I had just left my job in the software industry and got this idea to start London Historians.

How many members do you currently have?

700, but we also have a huge following on social media – 40,000+.

Are you open for German members, too?

Yes, of course. We have about 10 German members, some in London, some in Germany. Also, France, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia. Several dozen members from North America, both USA and Canada, plus some from Australia.

What are the benefits of becoming a member?

Exclusive monthly newsletter, discounts, or exclusivity to all LH events. Special offers and discounts to other organisations. Competitions and prizes. Access to fellow members who may help with specific research issues.

How much does the membership cost?

£39 per annum.

Mike about London

What’s a must-see sight in London?

St Paul’s.

3 words to describe London

Historic, exciting, busy.

Which is your favourite building in London?

55 Broadway (1929) because it’s an underground station (St James’s Park), an art deco office building and it has some shops. Some call it London’s first skyscraper. It was the headquarters of London Transport until recently but will soon become a hotel so the public can get inside for the first time. Designed by in my opinion the best London architect of the 20th Century, Charles Holden.

Where do you go for a nice lunch?

Simpson’s Tavern off Cornhill in the City of London; Brasserie Zedel near Piccadilly Circus; Gordon’s Wine Bar near Embankment.

Favourite café?

Maison Bertaux in Soho. There are some nice cafes in the crypts of churches e.g., St Martin in the Fields by Trafalgar Square and St Mary le Bow in Cheapside in the City.

A place/area/spot to find quiet and peace in busy London?

Apart from the popular tourist ones, virtually any church. For outdoors, Postman’s Park near St Paul’s but London has many other public parks, from tiny to huge.

Fun stuff about Mike Paterson

Gin and Tonic or Pimm’s?

G & T.

Milk in first or last?

First for tea, last for coffee.

Favourite Tube line?

Piccadilly. It passes through so many important and interesting parts of London, e.g. Kensington, Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, King’s Cross and, of course, it serves Heathrow Airport. Unfortunately, its trains are very old (1973), but should be replaced soon.

If you could time travel, which area would you travel to?

Edwardian era for old and new. Cars, phones, telegraph but still many horses. The Underground. The start of big department stores. London was the biggest most prosperous city in the world. Huge print industry for newspapers, books, magazines. Sport and leisure, theatres and cinema. Adult education, literacy, and a vibrant intellectual  and Bohemian scene. But not forgetting terrible poverty also. Overall, though, a very exciting time.

Best advice you were given?

It is easier to apologise than to ask permission.

London Historians on Social Media

Are you thinking about becoming a member of the London Historians? Then you can find all the information and the link for registration on the LH website. There is a dedicated Facebook group from the London Historians and you can also follow Mike on Twitter.

Dear Mike, thank you so much for London Historians! I’m happy to be part of the group and look forward to more visits and informative newsletters.

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