You probably learned the song “London Bridge is falling down” as a child. But did you know that the phrase “my fair lady” may refer to the Blessed Mother, to whom the victory for the battle between the very pagan Vikings and the Christians on and under London Bridge was attributed?
Did you know that Catherine of Aragon, a staunch Catholic, stayed in a tiny house on the banks of the Thames when she first came to London to marry the King, and that some 150 years later, the famous Architect Christopher Wren, who redesigned most of London’s churches after the Great Fire in 1666, would live in that same house?
“That’s the kind of thing I want to tell people,” said Joanna Bogle, host of “Walking Through Time: Catholic London,” a new five-part series on EWTN. (Airs 6:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, Nov. 17 through Nov. 21 on EWTN.) “I realized that a lot of people visit London, but they don’t stitch the history together. It’s a magnificent history. Catholics in particular need to know that this is Church history, Christian history. Everyone will tell people about Big Ben, but they won’t tell them about this!”
Bogle invites you to walk with her along the banks of the Thames as she relates Christian highlights of some 2,000 years of history, and visits sites from Chelsea to Kingston and from London Bridge through Westminster.
You’ll learn the stories of Saxons and Vikings, kings and heroes, saints and martyrs. You’ll also meet the people Joanna encounters along her journey, join in prayer in the churches, and soak up a lot of rich English history.
For example, did you know that “Westminster Cathedral is our Catholic cathedral. Westminster Abbey, where the Queen was crowned, is our great national shrine, and, of course, is Anglican. There is a good friendship between the two, with joint services on special occasions, and that’s as it should be.”
Bogle is especially enthusiastic about the great film work of the series director, Tadeusz Smiarowski, who she met in Poland while filming a walk through John Paul II’s early history for EWTN. “Tadeusz captured the mood of London: the huge crowds, the bustle of modern life, the huge mix of races and languages, and he combined it with 2,000 years of history, which can get lost. He did the hustle bustle, but he did it with sensitivity. It’s a rich mix really.”
Bogle says she would love it if American schools and youth groups would consider using this series as a teaching tool. “If they find my voice funny, [Bogle’s accent is decidedly British!], that’s all part of it! This is shaping the world you and I inherited. Why do they speak English in India? Teenagers don’t know. They might know about the exploitation of children, but they don’t know about great sacrifices made to intervene. They know about slavery, but they don’t know about William Wilberforce who eliminated slavery from the oceans of the world and liberated their ancestors.”
So take a walk through London with Joanna Bogle – you won’t be disappointed!