Antony Robbins

Profile updated 17/08/19

Regional Qualification(s):

London

Language(s):

English

Phone Number(s):

+ 44 (0)7725 617883

Contact guide

Introduction:

I'm Antony, AKA Mr Londoner, a writer, storyteller and former director of the Museum of London. Since going freelance in 2017, I combine my love of guiding with my career as a writer and broadcaster. I provide guiding, PR, branding and research services. I also offer personal shopping services working with some of London's best stores and independent retailers. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @meetmrlondoner.

While director of communications at the Museum of London (between 2009 and 2017) I re-branded what was then a tired and overlooked visitor attraction into something more contemporary, connected and relevant to the lives of modern Londoners.

My top tours:
I love guiding in the major sites - the ones on many people's bucket list. I lead tours in London's top visitor attractions, including Westminster Abbey; Tower of London; St Paul's Cathedral and the British Museum. As a museum professional I'm uniquely placed to provide unique insights into the work of London's leading museums and galleries. My favourites includes: Cabinet War Rooms; Museum of London; Tate Galleries; Victoria and Albert Museum; Science Museum; Wallace Collection; Soane Museum; Pitzhanger Manor; Imperial War Museum; Maritime Museum; National Army Museum; Soane Museum; Jewish Museum and the RAF Museum.

Opening up secret London is my greatest passion and I'm also the one and only guide for Londonist.com, which explores lost London and the hidden city, showcasing the very best of the contemporary metropolis. My exclusive Londonist tours - see the reviews here: http://bit.ly/2GeXeTE - open doors and offer a sideways take on the capital, exploring the secret histories of Soho (in 'Sex, Death and Shopping') and Bankside (in 'the Liberty of the Clink'). I'm currently leading the Soho Music Month tours throughout June. They explore the worlds of punk, skiffle, rock'n'roll and rap and their links to London's Soho.

My additional specialisms include:
- tours of Mayfair and the West End, Soho and China Town, Bankside and the South Bank, Covent Garden and Seven Dials, Bloomsbury, the City of London; Shoreditch and Hoxton;
- 'Churchill in Four Hats' - the London life of Winston Churchill ... with a special sartorial focus:
- 'Menswear and Making' (from tailoring and shoemaking to ceramics and jewellers);
- 'Sounds and the City' - London in music - from Handel to Hendrix - from punk to rock and roll - from the Beatles to the Belle Stars;
- 'Transforming the Museum' - the role of a modern museum in a changing society.

Broadcasting:
I enjoy a regular slot discussing London's cultural offer past and present - from punk rock to Harry Potter - on BBC Radio London's Saturday Breakfast Show and on the Vanessa Feltz Show, where I'm a regular contributor. I'm often invited as a spokesperson by other media outlets.

London placemaking:
My current focus is on what I like to call London placemaking. I help some of the capital’s most vibrant neighbourhoods promote their offer, sharpen their messages and drive footfall.

Current clients and partners:
BBC Radio London; National Theatre; Bankside Hotel; Native Hotels; University of the Arts London; Goldsmiths College; Better Bankside; Museum of Soho; Shaftesbury PLC; Sister PR; Cheaney Shoes; Hearst Publishing; China Exchange; Kaplan College; University of East London; Joy Everley jewellers; MC Overalls; Joseph; Peckham Rye Tailors; The Good Life (adult learning centre); and London Tailored Tours.

In June, I ran a series of free Soho Music Month tours for my client, Soho landlord, Shaftesbury PLC. The tours included free cocktails at Soho speakeasy Cahoots and celebrated Soho's musical heritage from Beethoven to Bowie.
Read all about it here.
http://westendextra.com/article/mr-londoners-secrets

Personal Interests:

Secret and lost London; shopping; fashion; museums and galleries; photography; London at war; military history; architecture; art and street art; music; conference and incentives; food and drink.

Special Interests:

Fashion

Fashion's a passion. I'm an expert on menswear and making. I particularly love to showcase quality products made in Britain. The three-piece suit was invented in London - developed from equestrian wear, which itself evolved from military uniform.

Let me talk you through that fascinating story as we tour round Savile Row, Piccadilly and Jermyn Street - one the spiritual home of Regency dandy Beau Brummell. My specialism is small and independent artesan brands, often located in unusual and off-the-beaten-track places. I can open the doors to bespoke family tailors (like Soho's Peckham Rye), specialist shoe makers (like Joseph Cheaney and Sons); heritage workwear brands (like M.C.Overalls or Private White VC) and fashion forward and international brands (like Prada and Ozwald Boeteng).

We also explore the influence on fashion of our royal family including Princess Diana, Meghan Markle - now the Duchess of Sussex - and of course Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Making and craft is coming back to the capital. We could, for example, pay a visit to independent Soho jeweller Joy Everley and see the latest in gold and silver jewellery, much of which is made here in the capital. Or, instead, we could head to the Goodlife Centre in Bankside and see tradional skills like woodworking, framemaking, needlework being taught to a new generation.

Shopping

The more I do this job, the more I understand how much people love shops and shopping. London has some of the best retailers in the world but keeping ahead of the game is tough in a digital age. London is is also world-famous for its market, that's where I shop.

The capital's offer can however be bewildering. I love the opportunity to share my passion for quality and luxury products and London craft. I can show you the very best shops in London. Join me in some of London's best cheese shops, wine merchants, bespoke tailors, hat makers, boot makers or vintage boutiques. My own specialism is menswear and making. I can talk you through that fascinating story as we tour round Savile Row, Piccadilly and Jermyn Street.

I love the big names like Gucci, Prada and Paul Smith. My true passion however is for small and independent artesan brands. I can open the doors to bespoke family tailors (like Soho's Peckham Rye); specialist shoe makers (like Joseph Cheaney and Sons); heritage workwear brands (like M.C.Overalls, Private White VC or Thomas Farthing) and fashion forward brands (like Billionaire Boys Club). I have advised a number of private clients in my capacity as stylist and personal shopper.

Making and craft is coming back to the capital. We could pay a visit to independent Soho jeweller Joy Everley to see the latest in gold and silver jewellery, much of which is made here in the capital. One of my favourite shops is We Built This City - a new take on the tradional tourist shop. This one sells quality art and design from London makers.

We could visit London's best department stores - my favourite's are Liberty and Selfridges. I am also an avid street art and watch collector. I can advise on the purchase of new and vintage watches. My favourite brands are Rolex, IWC and Patek Phillipe and I know all the best places to find rare time pieces.

If your passion is for vintage clothing, antiques or found objects I can help there too. I know all the best vintage shops and charity shops. I can can advise on styling an original outfit on a shoe-string or sourcing quirky and original objects for the home or garden.

London Areas in Depth

I love the quirky, the hidden and the lost. My tours open up the closed doors of the secret city. I am an expert on London's most vibrant neighbourhoods. My favourites are Soho; Chinatown; Covent Garden and the too-often-overlooked Bankside (in the the heart of Southwark just over the river). I've been running successful 'Secret City' tours here for Londonist.com for the past two years. See reviews on listings site Funzing.com.

My most popular tour is 'Sex, Death and Shopping' - a secret history of Soho. Join me to discover the Soho of Austin Powers; the 1960s peacock fashion of Carnaby Street or the traditional tailors and heritage menswear of the Newburgh Quarter. My Soho Music tours are especially popular. Soho was the birthplace of rock'n'roll legends including David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, the Who and the Rolling Stones. John Lennon and the Beatles loved Soho's clubs. Perhaps, instead, you'd enjoy the food and drink of Chinatown or the dark history of the Seven Dials - the ancient part of Covent Garden. This is a fascinating - and almost hidden neighbourhood - one tourists don't tend to discover for themselves.

If William Shakepeare, Charles Dickens or 'Father of the English language' Geoffrey Chaucer is your thing, we could head to Bankside together. We could discover how this brilliant neighbourhood invented the drag queen. Join me on one of my bike tours to explore these historic streets.

Britain Today

Come with me to explore both contemporary culture and discover how the Britain of Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare has changed, especially in the late 20th and early 21st century. From human relationships and conflict to the pill and the bomb ... through to climate change and #MeToo ...

Along the way we'll discuss queer histories and (LGBTQ) gay rights, immigration and diversity, crime and security and - naturally - Brexit. What are the biggest challenges facing Britain and how is the metropolis responding? What is the future of the monarchy and the royal family? Does the birth of new royal baby Archie help bring the nation together? These are just some of the topics I lecture on at the University of East London; Goldsmiths College and University College London.

Military

Join me on visits to the Cabinet War Rooms and Winston Churchill Museum, National Army Museum, RAF Museum and the Guards Museum. As we reflect on the the 80th anniversary of the start of WW2, I'm currently exploring Winston Churchill's London. Churchill was a brilliant wartime leader, a workaholic and an unlikely style icon.

My father was an army officer during WW2. That's why military history remains a special and personal interest for me. I'm also fascinated by how London endured the conflicts of WW1 and WW2, the scars of which can still be seen today if you know where to look.

I lead a special WW2 Blitz tour, where we discover the realities of civilian life in London in an era of total war. This is very personal for me because it's the story of my own family. My mother and aunt lived through the nightly bombing of London as teenagers. See some of the last bomb sites in the capital - testament to a conflict that is now slipping out of living memory.

Many visitors enjoy the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. We can get pole position to see the drama of this key historic event and. We'll also learn about the Royal Family and their own special place in British military history. Find out about life in the London Blitz. Perhaps you'd like to join me to visit the Beefeaters (Yeoman Warders) at the Tower of London. To become a Beefeater requires at least 20 years of military service - with an unblemished record.

Industrial Heritage

Join me to explore London's industrial heritage. Bankside, just over the river at London Bridge, has it all. It was the chaotic home of various 'smelly industries' from railways and boiler-making to tanneries, breweries and vinegar works. The neighbourhood is home to the 'Low Line'. Inspired by New York's High Line, this is Bankside's own industrial trail of railway viaducts and engineering works The city was instrumental to the industrial revolution and the lives of our greatest engineers, including Bazalgette; Brunel; Telford and Greathead - the Victorian engineer who helped devise the cutting-edge technology to tunnel out the London Underground.

Alternatively, explore the story of the Crossrail railway line - the largest (if somewhat delayed) engineering project in Europe. The digging required has produced some astounding archaeology along the way.

Our industrial heritage often sits side by side with our latest street art. If Banksy; Ben Eine; Jimmy C; Fanakapan; SR.X; Stik Zabou; Artista or JXC is your thing ... come along and we'll discover their work in Shoreditch and Hoxton in East London. We can do this on foot or as part of a bicyle tour.
Alternatively, we could look at London's 'post-industrial revolution' and explore the potential a carbon-neutral capital - and the challenges London faces in becoming a truly green city. How will London respond to the challenge of more electric vehicles and the eventual arrival of driverless cars?

Museums

As a former museum director, I know our best museums and galleries inside out. They include the British Museum; Tate Modern; Tate Britain; Museum of London; Victoria and Albert Museum; Imperial War Museum; Cabinet War Rooms and Winston Churchill Museum. Join me to learn all about how museums are changing. No longer stuffy places with things in glass cases, London's modern museums think much more about the needs of their audiences. They are are now places to learn, dance, eat, drink, flirt ... or discover life drawing for the first time.

Come with me for an in-depth exploration of the museum world's immersive approach to both their content and their audiences. Modern museums are also exploring the potential of technologies like artificial and augmented reality. These are evolving technologies: they have the potential to re-define how we think of a museum.

Music

Fashion goes hand-in-hand with music. I've been running the official Soho Music Month tours for the past two years. Come and explore the London world of the Beatles; Jimi Hendrix; Mick Jagger and the Stones; the Who - and Paul McCartney and the Beatles. Or perhaps instead your taste is for the Jam; the Clash; Madness or the Sex Pistols. More contemporary offerings include an exploration of the Soho of rap and hip-hop. Perhaps Professor Green or Tinchy Stryder is more your thing. I can tell that story too.

Castles & Palaces

Discover our brilliant castles, palaces and royal residences - and some of the dark history behind them. Learn about the role played by Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St James' Palace - today our most senior royal palace. Explore the grim history of the spooky Tower of London and learn about our lost palaces like Nonesuch and Richmond.

Discover the lives of our royals from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II. Find out exactly how that most ancient of institutions - the royal family - is changing with new blood. It began in our own times with the altogether more human approach of the then Lady Diana Spencer. Diana's legacy of course is her family. William and Harry and their wives and children. The former Catherine Middleton and Meghan Markle are now royal duchesses. They inject fresh new vigour, style and informality into British public life ... and are changing the face of the royals forever.

Conferences & Incentives

I'm a regular speaker on the conference circuit and a sesnior commentator on culture. Topics I cover include the role in contemporary society of museums and galleries. I also explore the worlds of communications, public affairs and digital engagement. This year - unknown to many - London was awarded national park status. I frequently speak on the the future of 'the green city'.

Environment

Discover the countryside in the heart of the city by bike. We can explore London's secret spaces - canals, reservoirs, nature reserves and lost rivers. All are precious havens for wildlife - creatures both great and small. Join me for a tour on one of my Brompton fold-up cycles. These sturdy and well-designed little bikes are easy and fun to ride. They are made in London, of course. My bikes are clean and regularly serviced and crash helmets can be supplied.

Driver Guide:

No