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Wednesday, August 1, 2012
To celebrate this year being the 150th anniversary of the Peabody Housing Association being founded a new cycle tour has been created which is the perfect excuse to get on your bike for a couple of hours to explore London's history.
The route starts at 80 Eaton Square, where philanthropist George Peabody spent the last months of his life.
It then wends its way past historical Peabody estates as well as the odd pub.
Along the way you will pass plenty of cafes, shops and street markets before the tour ends at Westminster Abbey, where Peabody's funeral was held in 1869.
Many places you see are part of the legacy left by Peabody, whose donations to good causes during his lifetime are estimated to be the equivalent of £60 million in today's money.
Information on getting started on the cycle tour can be found at www.peabody150.org.uk, where you can either print off a map of the route or download it to a smartphone.
On this page we highlight a few of the places of interest you can see while on the tour. Also, watch the video above.
80 Eaton Square
During the last month of his life, George Peabody lived here with his friend, Curtis Miranda Lampson.
American-born Peabody had arrived in London 32 years before and lived at various addresses, including Cork Street and Regent Street.
Since Peabody's death in 1869, Eaton Square has been home to a number of famous people, including Tory Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, former 007 Sean Connery and Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.
All the way along at this location in Pimlico, you can see Peabody architecture, both old and new. The picture here shows the 2011 new build on the left with older buildings opposite.
On the wall of Block N there is a memorial to 67 men who died on active service in the First World War.
During the Second World War, the estate received a visit from Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who came to see the damage caused during an air raid.
Another of the sights on the cycle tour of Westminster, this street is part of the Millbank estate, which was originally constructed between 1850 and 1860.
It was built on surplus marshland that had been bought for Millbank Penitentiary, which at one time served as a holding facility for convicted prisoners before they were transported to Australia.
The estate was owned by the Crown until Peabody acquired it in 2011.
Abbey Orchard Street
In medieval times, the orchard of Westminster Abbey stood here, but by the 19th century, the area was an unhealthy maze of narrow alleys.
The small dwellings were overcrowded, crime was rife, and police entered at their peril. Peabody cleared the area and built this estate in 1882.
When George Peabody died in 1869, the Dean of Westminster felt he should be buried in Westminster Abbey.
Vast crowds lined the streets, and Prime Minister William Gladstone was in attendance.
Having been interred for a month at the Abbey, his body was taken back to his native America.
A floor plaque now marks the spot where his body was temporarily laid to rest.