Subject: British Blue Badge Guides/Original London Walks
In April a Ziner wrote about being disturbed that an Original London Walks guide was not a Blue Badge guide. A Blue Badge guides undergoes an intensive 18-month training course, costing, currently, the equivalent of nearly $4,000 dollars, followed by several comprehensive, stringent examinations. There are about 2,000 Blue Badge guides in Britain, about 1000 of them in London alone. Once licensed, these largely self-employed guides are the only guides (other than in-house) allowed to guide their groups in, for instance, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Pauls. Windsor and Kensington Palaces; also many British tourist coach companies hire only Blue Badge guides. There are also official City of London guides, who certify under a different training, for London only; some are also Blue Badge guides. Original London Walks Company does not restrict its guides to those with Blue Badge or City of London certification, though many of its guides are one or both of these. Just because a London Walks guide is not one of these type of guides does not mean he/she is not perfectly qualified to lead his walk---many have particular specialities such as theatre, law, nature, history, even Jack-the-Ripper, that well qualify them to lead their walks; we have found all superb. Hope this clears up any questions about what a Blue Badge guide is.

Cheers Bill Baltimore