Cindy and this writer had been eyeballing a tiny cemetery on Tooley Street for days. Every time the tour coach passed by the area in traffic heading to our hotel, we would catch a glimpse of a few tombstones along a bricked wall. The small Potters Field Park, near the crossroads of Tooley Street and the Tower Bridge, looked like perfect cemetery to explore during our visit to London, England.
The tour spent a busy day in London visiting some of the historic and legendary sites such as the Tower of London. After we finished the Jack the Ripper tour, we knew we would have to act fast if we planned to visit the graveyard tucked away in the gardens.
The tour group had walked about 11 hours that day and our feet were killing us. We decided to call a taxi at the hotel and ride to Potters Field. We would ask the driver to wait while we took a few pictures, then jump back in the cab and head back to the hotel. Raquel, another girl on the tour, was anxious to make the adventure with us.
The hotel desk clerk rang up a cab and it quickly arrived within 15 minutes. We climbed in the back seat and gave our instructions to the Potters Fields Park.
“We need to go to Potters Field on Tooley Street—just on the other side of the Tower Bridge,” Cindy instructed.
“Potter’s Field?” the puzzled driver asked in an accent, not known to be English, “Is that a pub?”
“Cemetery” I sounded from the back seat, “You know…graveyard…..dead people.”
“What is cemetery?” he asked, “I don’t’ know cemetery. Is it a pub?”
“NO!” Raquel shouted from the seat next to him, “Cemetery!”
“You want to go to London Bridge?” he asked driving around in a circle and ending up back where we started from.
“No! The Tower Bridge!” I was getting frustrated.
Then observing the dashboard, we discovered there was no cab meter. The gents from the front desk of the hotel had simply called a fellow comrade to pick us up in an effort for him to make a few extra dollars.
We repeated our destination one more time—slowly. Again, we asked the driver to take us to Tooley Street on the other side of the Tower Bridge—wait 5 minutes while we snapped photos of the tombstones—and then drive us back to the hotel.
He suddenly pulled over to the curb and told us we needed to get out of the taxi so he could go pick up another fare. We were baffled. We had hired him to take us to our destination and he had yet to do his job. We stormed out of the vehicle—slamming the door hard. We refused to pay him—even when he threatened to call the police.
The three midnight explorers walked down a dark street hoping we were going in the right direction. We spied a ‘real’ cabbie, with the “knowledge”, and he quickly showed us the way to go. We were only a few blocks away from Potters Field Park. .
We walked about three blocks and found what we were searching for. English Delftware was produced on the site in the 17th century and thus the name—Potters Field Park. Opening up the park revealed other details that had been hidden for years such as the remains of old grave stones. We entered the park and began photographing the tombstones lined up along a bricked wall. Ten minutes later, we were ready to head back to the hotel. We walked across the street to a pub to see if we could find the history of the lonely Potters Field. They didn’t even know it existed—even with the sign posted directly across from their pub.
Amused, we decided to walk the rest of the way back to the hotel. The highlight of the walk was crossing the magnificent Tower Bridge adorned with gargoyles, symbols, and royal shields. We could even see the Tower of London Castle dimly lit, and holding the historic energies secure in its dungeons.
“This was worth the walk,” I declared.
“It’s like an extra bonus to the tour,” Raquel was delighted.
Always the guide and never the guided, I had to agree. We made it back safely to the hotel long after the rest of our tour group was fast asleep. We laughed about the evening and vowed to always take on these misguided adventures whenever they are available! After all, life is just one wild and crazy ride!