One of the great pleasures of going to London, (which is where I am now), is that you have the chance to walk through the past. If you love Charles Dickens, as I do, you can touch many of the places where he and his characters lived. Here are some of the places I saw on my Fleet Street walk (inspired by Richard Jones’ book, Walking Dickensian London.)
Take the tube to Blackfriars Station. When you start to walk on New Bridge Street, you’ll see an imposing building with a plaque that tells you that this used to be the site of Bridewell Palace, built by Henry VIII and which was, during Dickens’ time, a penitentiary. Dickens mentions Bridewells in Oliver Twist.
This was the center of the journalism trade in Dickens time. In January 1846, he set up the Daily News at No. 92 Fleet Street.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
A tavern that was old even in Dickens’ time, this was one of Dickens’ favorite haunts. This table was said to be the place where Dickens liked to sit and entertain his friends. If you want to know what the 19th century smelled like (horses and smoke) this is a good place to go.
A hushed place that Dickens would have known well. This is the place where the toniest of London’s barristers have their headquarters. Sit on a bench and watch the elegant lawyers walk by. Black suits and umbrellas. Of this space Dickens wrote, “Who enters here leaves noise behind.” The picture below shows a tree that perhaps Dickens would have liked.
Thanks for joining me on my tour. If you’d lie more info, check out Richard Jones’ book, Walking Dickensian London.