Open City Documentary Festival

24th–30th
April 2024
across London
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The Ring of Steel: A Walking Tour Around the City of London

This walking tour seeks to reveal the hidden structures of the ‘Ring of Steel’ – a security installation around the City of London’s financial district that mirrors the boundary line of the ancient Roman structures of the London Wall. First introduced to counter the IRA bombing campaign of the early 1990s, the ‘Ring of Steel’ acts as a heavily surveilled invisible boundary to protect the financial centre of London.

We will meander through the streets of the Square Mile passing by sentry boxes and carefully designed bollards, one-way roads and heavily fortified flower planting – all hidden systems of so-called fortress urbanism. We will notice how public streets have shifted to private space, trace the introduction of CCTV cameras into urban space, and probably be chased away by private security guards. Contemporary defense blends with the brick and stone of the Roman Wall in a complex manifestation of urban security that is easily revealed once you know what to look for…

Ticket holders will receive full details of the meeting point by email.

In Partnership with UCL Urban Laboratory

Henrietta Williams is an artist and researcher. Her practice explores urbanist theories; particularly considering ideas around fortress urbanism, security, and surveillance. Her projects have been widely exhibited and published in the UK and internationally, most notably at the V&A Museum in London and on the front page of the Guardian. She is now working towards a funded PhD by design at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she also teaches with a particular focus on moving image practice that critically engages with the urban landscape.