Useful Information

We are delighted to welcome the delegates of the New Chaucer Society Congress to London and do hope you have an enjoyable and productive stay. Below is some general information that may be useful during your visit.

Registration:

This is in the lobby of the Arts 2 building at Queen Mary, Mile End. There is a noticeboard where you can leave notes for delegates in the Octagon room. There will be a campus map in your registration pack, or you can consult the online map here:
www.qmul.ac.uk/docs/about/26065.pdf

PowerPoint and internet access:

All classrooms at Queen Mary are equipped with the necessary AV requirement and the entire campus is WiFi enabled. Presenters using power point should bring their presentations on a memory stick; you may also wish to store your presentation online ‘in the cloud’. Please make sure the presentation is PC-compatible as all computers on campus are PCs and the network will not allow connections to external computers.

There are two main ways to connect to WiFi at the Congress – either via the eduroam network or via the Guest network.
Eduroam: Queen Mary participates in eduroam (education roaming), a secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community that allows students and researchers to obtain internet connectivity across campus by simply opening their laptops. Do note that eduroam has to be installed prior to arrival to guarantee free and immediate internet access on campus. Many institutions provide technical assistance on how to install eduroam.
Guest network:
1. From your Device\PC\Mac enable your Wi-Fi and search for QM-College-Wi-Fi
2. Connect to the ‘QM-Events-Wi-Fi’
3. You will be presented with the page requesting your password:
4. PASSWORD: ZhuY3201
5. A final page will be shown advising ‘Network access is enabled, Please close page and continue to use the Wi-Fi

Around London, hotels offer free WiFi and many cafés and pubs have WiFi hotspots. The is also WiFi on the tube while the train is in the station.

Family room:

For the first time, New Chaucer Congress includes a family room. This room is in the Bancroft building, room G07. You can think of it as a lactation or feeding room, but also as a rendezvous room for partners and kids, a place to chill out with a tired child, a place to leave stuff like toys, buggies. We need to be clear that it's not a special facility in any way - i.e. no sink, no special equipment - but the idea is to give a place where you can feel more comfortable; especially too, where partners or baby-sitters can wait without feeling out-of place at the conference. The room does have chairs, electrical sockets and wifi. Contact Alexandra Gillespie about this room. There is also a Facebook group, coordinated by Alexandra, to share advice and babysitting.

Quiet space and meeting rooms:

We have several spaces around campus for you to withdraw to. The Senior Common Room (SCR) in the Queen’s Building will be open for people to sit and talk. Please feel free to use the following rooms for meetings or quiet time:
Arts Two – rooms 2.18 and 3.17
Bancroft – rooms 1.01.1, 1.01.2, 1.02.6, 1.08

Computer room:

There will be a computer room on campus available to delegates.

Climate and Clothing:

The weather is forecast to be mild (20C) but changeable, with showers and sun. The British summer is rarely cold but rarely dry. It’s best to bring a mini umbrella or a light rainproof jacket.

Credit Cards:

Credit Cards are widely accepted throughout London. The major cards in England are MASTERCARD and VISA, and AMERICAN EXPRESS is also widely accepted. Cash can be obtained at every bank branch as well as in all ATMs throughout the city. There are several ATMS at and around the Queen Mary campus, including one at The Curve on Westfield Way and another on Mile End Road near the People’s Palace.

Currency Exchange:

The British pound sterling is at a low against the US dollar and the Euro, due to the unprecedented political and constitutional crisis in the UK. Rates have been fluctuating recently. You can change currency at the airport, at post offices, at banks, and in some larger shops (such as Marks & Spencer), although it is now usually cheaper to withdraw cash from an ATM.

Shopping and Tax free:

London is a great city for shopping, and it would be impossible to summarise the opportunities for shopping. The mainstream shopping area of the city is at Oxford Street and Regent Street (Oxford Circus tube); this includes large fashion retailers, the boutiques around Carnaby Street, and Selfridges department store. The huge shopping mall at Westfield Stratford is very close to Queen Mary (Stratford tube). Other areas for fun shopping include Covent Garden (Covent Garden tube) for smaller stylish clothing boutiques; Borough Market (London Bridge tube) for gourmet food in a historic setting; Spitalfields Market and Shoreditch/Brick Lane (Liverpool Street tube) for hipster crafts, dining, clothes, design. Value Added Tax (VAT) is included on most goods at the rate of 20% and can be claimed back by non-EU tourists spending over about £75 in any one shop: see http://www.visitlondon.com/traveller-information/essential-information/money/tax-free?ref=nav, for forms, which need to be stamped.

Exercise:

There are splendid running/jogging tracks alongside the Regent’s Canal and through the Mile End Park (on the green bridge near the tube station). The campus gym at QMUL Is the QMotion gym, 15 Godward Square: it is £6.50 for a day pass (see https://www.qmsu.org/qmotion/). There is a better-equipped gym at Soho Gym at Bow Wharf (221 Grove Road), which does an unlimited one-month membership for £49.99; £5 one-off trial tickets are available on the Soho Gyms website.

Electricity current:

Remember, you’ll need to bring adaptors for your electrical goods: every socket uses a three-pin plug, 230 voltage.

Pharmacies, emergency and medical help:

Pharmacy
Nearby pharmacies include Chrischem, 578 Mile End Road; Forward Pharmacy, 648 Mile End Road; Boots, 426 Bethnal Green Road.
Emergencies
The emergency number (when there is a risk to life, or if a crime is being committed) for the Emergency Services (Fire, Police, Ambulance) is 999. The non-emergency number is 111. The nearest hospital Accident and Emergency department is at The Royal London Hospital, opposite Whitechapel tube station.

Telephones and mobile phones:

The code for United Kingdom from overseas is +44. Direct long-distance calls can be made to Europe and the USA by dialling 00 plus the country code, and the number you wish to reach. There are major mobile phone operators all over the city: O2, EE, Vodafone are some of the largest: they will be able to sell you a pay-as you-go SIM card.

Tipping and tax:

VAT is invariably included in advertised prices. Tipping is a contentious issue amongst the British, with no uniform practice: many restaurants will include an ‘optional’ 12.5% charge on the bill. If this is not on the bill, it’s normal to make a 10% to 15% tip in a restaurant. Tips may be given in taxis, usually by rounding up. It’s not normal to tip in a bar where there is no table service.

Transportation:

London is served by six airports. You should allow a journey time of at least 70 minutes to any London airport (apart from London City) from Mile End. 

Licensed taxi (‘Black cab’ with a Hackney Carriage License) services are abundant in London, but are expensive for longer journeys; a black cab to Queen Mary will cost in the region of £65 (one-way) from Heathrow, or £110 (one-way) from Gatwick. Not all black cabs accept credit cards. We cannot recommend taking unlicensed minicabs.

For planning your travel around London, we recommend using the Transport for London (TfL) web service available at www.tfl.gov.uk or the Google Maps app. Fares on buses, tubes, and overground trains are paid either by Oyster card or with a ‘contactless’ debit/credit card; cash tickets for the tube and for trains can be bought at ticket machines at stations, but cash is no longer accepted on London buses. Therefore the most convenient way of getting around if you do not have a contactless credit/debit card is to acquire an Oyster card on your first trip on the underground (usually when you arrive at the airport).

There is also the Santander cycle scheme. Cycling can be a great way to get around, but if you cycle in London, remember that we drive on the left! Details here: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/santander-cycles

Tourist information:

See www.visitlondon.com

We will provide guides to Canterbury in your Congress pack.

Food and drink:

Pubs:
Spending hours sitting and drinking in a pub is still a normal way of passing the time for many Londoners. Beer and cider (which is always alcoholic) are served in pint or half-pint measures. All of the following pubs are within a 10 minute walk from Queen Mary; all serve food
The Coborn Arms, 8 Coborn Rd, Bow, London E3 2DA
The Victoria, 110 Grove Rd, London E3 5TH
The Lord Tredegar, Lichfield Rd, Bow, London E3 5AT
The Morgan Arms, 43 Morgan St, Bow, London E3 5AA

Cafés:
The Sugar Cube, 383A Mile End Road, small booth selling coffee, pastries, crepes and milkshakes near Starbucks
The Coffee Room, 6A Grove Rd, London EX 5AX; great coffee and cake in a cute cafe
Also The Pizza Room, next door, run by the same Italian team
The Pavilion, on the corner of Old Ford Rd in Victoria Park, London E9 7DE (by the lake in Victoria Park: good coffee and food)
The ubiquitous Starbucks and Costa are available for coffee and snacks, on the Mile End Road near Mile End tube station.

Some tips for dining:

There are hundreds of restaurants in London, and excellent street markets like at Borough Market and Maltby Street Market, for street food. There are several supermarkets near Queen Mary, including the Cooperative and Sainsbury’s on Mile End Rd. Within the East End, the curry houses (many of them halal) and all-night bagel/beigel bakeries (on Brick Lane, about 25 minute walk, a short taxi ride) are worth visiting. Almost all restaurants in London will have a vegetarian option and there are many excellent specialist vegan and gluten-free restaurants around the city.

Here are just a few local tips for good value local food:
Ariana, 2 Midlothian Rd, London E3 4SE (Iranian café/restaurant in Mile End park)
The Greedy Cow, 2 Grove Rd, London E3 5AX (range of burgers)
The Orange Room, 63 Burdett Rd, London E3 4TN (Lebanese café)
Verdi’s, 237 Mile End Rd, London E1 4AA (Italian restaurant)

For up-scale dining in the East End, Bistrotheque is usually excellent and a short walk from Queen Mary; Merchant’s Tavern in Old Street in really lovely; Jago off Brick Lane may be thought pretentious but the food is quite good in a distinct setting; Blixen in Spitalfields is great, good value for an elegant dinner.

Contacts:

The Local Organising Committee is chaired by Anthony Bale (a.bale@bbk.ac.uk) and Lawrence Warner (lawrence.warner@kcl.ac.uk). Please contact us if you have any questions.
The other members of the Local Organising Committee are Julia Boffey, Tony Edwards, and Sarah Salih.