Although Ian Bevan spent 30 years as an IT manager his great interest remained history which he studied along with law at university.
So when he had a major heart operation 16 years ago he thought it was time to ease up at work and pursue his other interests.
Before long he was taking the year-long training course to be a City of London guide, studying at weekly sessions and researching the fascinating history of the capital for his exams.
This year he will be celebrating 10 years as a guide during which time he has researched many areas of London from its villages to its history and developed a series of talks on various aspects.
He will be delivering one of the most popular at the March meeting of Dorking U3A when he tells members about the Inns of Court, which form the heart of legal London.
Ian said: “This is one of my most popular talks probably because people think of it as a secret part of London. The Inns are guarded by large gates and it looks as though it should be private, but anyone can wander round.
“When I began to research the history it was amazing – so many famous people, so many interesting legal issues and so much history.”
It is just one of almost 20 subjects that Ian covers in a variety of walks around the capital. They include Westminster and Whitehall: a history of scandal and intrigue, Georgian Westminster, the City of London in Literature to Life in Roman London.
He is also something of an expert on the Crystal Palace. He still lives near the site in south London and has long been involved with both the museum there and the organisation that worked to gather information about the building and those who remembered it.
“Whenever I delivered a talk about the Crystal Palace I asked how many people remembered the fire that destroyed it,” he said. “Initially almost every hand would go up. Now it might just be one person.”
Ian is married to Penny and they have two children, Sian, 38 and Alisdair, aged 34.
His talk is on Wednesday 9 March at the Christian Centre, Dorking at 2.30pm.