Canterbury Cathedral Assistant Guides Course

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



2020 - October (1)
2020 - September (4)
2020 - August (5)
2020 - July (2)
2020 - June (1)
2020 - May (2)
2020 - March (1)
2020 - January (1)
2019 - May (4)
2019 - January (3)
2018 - November (1)
2018 - October (5)

All - 2020 (17)
All - 2019 (7)
All - 2018 (17)
All - 2017 (65)
All - 2016 (107)
All - 2015 (52)
All - 2014 (112)
All - 2013 (143)
All - 2012 (109)
All - 2011 (119)
All - 2010 (85)
All - 2009 (85)
All - 2008 (49)
All - 2007 (2)
All - 2006 (3)


Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL -Assistant Guides Course

Date: 3rd February 2011

I love Canterbury Cathedral which has surpassed Winchester and Salisbury which were my favourites until I came down to Kent.  The Cathedral is, of course, the oldest in the UK and totally steeped in history.  Not having my escape route from the English Winter and wanting to make myself useful, I applied to do the Guides Course with the great hope that I'd be able to keep up with all the information one must commit to memory.  You should see the amount of paperwork we've been given!

The course started last week and we were shown a video and then taken on an Audio Tour of the Cathedral - it was absolutely fabulous having the Cathedral to ourselves  - just the trainee Guides in this magnificent building.  Being the evening, of course we couldn't appreciate the stained glass but we are invited to go back on tours as often as we feel necessary.

Last night's session was headed 'Architecture' and I inwardly groaned.  In the brochures we'd been given, I'd tried and tried to make sense of the different styles and to commit them to memory. Well, we were in for a pleasant surprise.  Our lecturer - Robin Westbrook - introduced himself by admitting he was not an Architect - Thank Goodness thought I.  (This is a very subjective opinion but I usually find enthusiastic 'amateurs' are very often better at imparting knowledge to those of us who aren't studying the subject with a view to a degree. )  Robin was brilliant and made very clear the various centuries of Architectural additions and how they fitted into the overall picture. The hour simply sped by and  I came away from the lecture feeling that even I could  conduct a short tour of the architectural highlights of Canterbury Cathedral.

We attend one or two lectures a week up until April and then we are assessed.  My memory is not what it was when young and I'm hoping I'll be able to pass the course.  They don't let us loose straight away and maybe, if I don't hack it as a Guide, I could concentrate on one or two elements and be an Assistant.  However, if the remainder of our lectures are as good as the one last night, I think I might be able to make it.  

As you know, I love History and there's so much history over which to enthuse when one investigates Canterbury Cathedral.

Recently Michael Portillo's Railway Journeys concentrated on East Kent and one programme was devoted to Canterbury and Whitstable.  It is amazing how little damage Canterbury Cathedral sustained in World War 11.  And it was high on Hitler's Hit List.  If you've ever heard of the Baedecker Raids - this was what it was all about.  Baedecker Guides were German Travel Guides and they listed the great historic sites in the UK  Hitler worked from this and planned to hit all our main sites and undermine morale even further.  

To help protect Canterbury Cathedral, rail tracks were taken right into the Cathedral and up the Nave in order to facilitate the delivery of Sandbags.  And people manned the roof throwing off incendiaries as they hit.  Much of the stained glass had been stored at the outbreak of war.  So what you see today is almost a miracle and a tribute to the love and devotion of the people of Canterbury.

This photo was taken a few months ago just as the sun was setting and throwing light on the Martyrdom  which threw it  into stark relief.

Even if you are not religious, I defy you not to be bowled over by the beauty and grandeur of Canterbury Cathedral and it's tribute to the work of men in an age when they had so little with which to work except their manual skills and their belief in God

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL -Assistant  Guides Course

What do you think? Send your feedback to