This is the tale of two London tour guides, Debbie Pearson and Julie Chandler. It tells how they met and started to work together; how they became acquainted with Florence Nightingale; and how they came to form a business partnership and write their first book.
Debbie and Julie are London tour guides, and had met through their guiding activities.
Debbie qualified in 1999 as a City of London tour guide – specialising in the financial district of London, also known as the “Square Mile”. Upon qualification as a City Guide, Debbie became a member of the City of London Guide Lecturers Association. At that time, Debbie had a full-time job in the City of London, and her guiding usually took place on the weekends. She also gave evening lectures for the Knowledge of the City lecture series, the brainchild of a former City Guide tutor. And after a few years, she became involved in organising these lectures herself.
Julie started her guiding journey by studying to become a City of Westminster tour guide – qualifying in 2008. She followed this up by taking her City Guide examinations in 2009. In 2010 Julie left financial services, took a part time job at the Museum of London and created her own company, London Town Tours.
When Debbie’s job became part time, she took another guiding course, and qualified as a City of Westminster tour guide in 2011. That was also the year that Julie was elected as Chair of the City of Westminster Guide Lecturers Association, serving a three year term of office. Debbie joined the committee in 2012 and worked alongside Julie for two years.
The guiding courses for the City of London and City of Westminster award qualifications for guides who specialise in a specific area of London – in other words, Local London Guiding. Julie decided to expand her horizons, and took on the significant challenge of studying for the Blue Badge guiding qualification – an internationally recognised qualification that equips tourist guides to guide anywhere in London, and within a day’s journey of the capital. She completed this training in 2014.
Julie is also an accomplished speaker, and amongst many other engagements, gave talks for the Knowledge of the City lectures organised by Debbie.
By this time, Julie and Debbie had been friends for some while, and during the course of their many conversations, they discovered they had both worked for the same bank over a number of years.
In 2017 Julie had received a request to lead a Financial Walk in the City of London. It was for a large group of students, and two guides were needed. Julie asked Debbie to become the second guide, and the walk was a great success. The same university asked Julie to lead the walk the following year, and Julie again asked Debbie to join her.
As a guide, you frequently work on your own. But as shown above, there are plenty of opportunities to work in teams.