2. CHARLES DICKENS'S LONDON
Charles Dickens and London are almost interchangeable, and they complement each other perfectly.
Dickens first set eyes upon the city of which he was destined to become the undisputed chronicler as a small boy, and it would be in the streets of the bustling Victorian metropolis that his genius was forged. It would be to those streets he would return time and time again in search of inspiration for the plot of a novel or short story.
And, following his death in 1870, it was to London that his body was returned, it being deemed that the only fitting burial place for England's greatest novelist was Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
Quite simply, London permeates the pages of his works, and he is, therefore, the perfect guide to lead us through the thoroughfares of days gone by.
Edgar's Guide to Charles Dickens's London will take you on an enchanting journey through the novelist's life and works, and will enable you to look upon buildings that have changed little, if at all, since Dickens knew them.
Highlights of Edgar's Guide to Charles Dickens's London.
- The former home of John Forster, Dickens’ greatest friend and primary biographer.
- The wonderful Old Curiosity Shop, a true time-capsule of bygone London.
- The location where Pip first lodged when he arrived in London in Great Expectations.
- An inner sanctum that has changed little, if at all, since Dickens wrote of it, “You can read on its gates ‘who enters here leaves noise behind’.”
- A pre-fire building that Dickens visited as a boy, and to which he sent his most autobiographical character, David Copperfield.
- Two ancient giants who have been going about an onerous task, day in and day out, since 1683.
- A truly atmospheric old pub that Dickens featured in A Tale Of Two Cities.
- The actual office building where Dickens worked as a clerk at the age of fifteen.
- The grave of the 18th-century author who was one of Dickens’s childhood favourites, and from whom he derived his original pseudonym ‘Boz’.
- One of the oldest pubs in London, that is still much as it was when Dickens supped within its atmospheric old walls.
Follow in the Footsteps of Dickens.
One minute you will be following the young Dickens as he sets of for a memorable encounter that will leave him with a black eye, the next you are following the mature Dickens as he delves into the gaslit lanes of an area of which he wrote "You can read on its gates 'who enters here leaves noise behind.'"
It is these encounters with the past that make this guide such an enjoyable and informative experience. And, to be honest, so evocative were Dickens' descriptions of the places you will visit, there isn't a great deal that Edgar could add to them!
So, let Charles Dickens be your guide to the streets of his London, and prepare yourselves for a journey of true discovery that will leave you wanting to know more about the man, his city, and his times.
As with all Edgar's walking guides, this one has been paced out to ensure that you experience as much as possible. From the picturesque cloisters, square and avenues of the Inns of Court, to the bustling vibrancy of Fleet Street, and on into the nether world of shadow in which Dickens based Fagin's lair in Oliver Twist.
The directions have been walked over and over again to make sure that the directions are spot on, and the route has been laid out to ensure that every corner turned, every vista encountered offers you something new and awe-inspiring to look upon.
If there is one London institution that Dickens felt truly at home in, it is the pub. And so it would be remiss of us to allow you to explore London and not ensure that you have a goodly smattering of historic hostelries to visit and quench your thirst within. From Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a genuine literary landmark, to Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, London's most hidden pub, and on to several other inns and taverns beside, Edgar will be the perfect host to introduce you to these wonderful places.
A Novel in its Own Right.
Of course, Edgar's ethos is to ensure that you get so much more than a standard guidebook, and, consequently, the walk will provide a detailed history of the life, times and works of Charles Dickens, so much so, that you can actually sit at home and read it as if it is a novel in its own right!
Never Out of Date.
Adam and Richard walk the routes regularly to ensure they are accurate, and when, inevitably, something does change, it will be updated on the PDF that comes with the walk, and you will be notified that an updated version is available.
Join a Host of Immortal Characters.
So join Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Pip, Scrooge, Mr Pickwick, Sam Weller, and many, many more, and let them show you the London that formed the backcloth against which their adventures were played out.
And, as you sit and relax at the final venue - or, for that matter, as you absorb the ambience at the bars of any of the pubs you choose to stop off at - why not raise a glass to Dickens and his characters (not forgetting Edgar), and let out the joyous exclamation: God Bless Us Every One!