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Charles Dickens Museum

Walk in Dickens's footsteps and discover why he was the great social reformer of Victorian England.

Object:

Dickens's walking stick is perhaps almost as significant for his work as his pen. The author walked every day at a pace and over a distance that would leave most of us breathless and exhausted.

Walking helped him to see. It carried him out into London, his 'magic lantern'. It brought him into new worlds, face-to-face with his subjects. Walking at night put him in the role of 'houseless wanderer' and brought him into 'sympathetic relations' with those struggling on the streets.

Dickens's countless journeys on foot helped him pioneer a new form of social activism: investigative journalism that relayed in compassionate detail to an unaware public the condition of the most desperate and overlooked.

He imagined this writing as a kind of shadow 'which may go into any place…and be in all homes, and all nooks and corners, and be supposed to be cognisant of everything'. Walking could be said to be the method of this restless shadow.

Carte de Visite Portrait of Charles Dickens with walking stick, 1860s
Carte de Visite Portrait of Charles Dickens with walking stick, 1860s © Charles Dickens Museum

Events:

Twists and Turns: explore the places that inspired Oliver Twist

Wednesday 31 May, meet at Charles Dickens Museum, 2pm, approximately 90 minutes.
Cost £10 (includes entry to the museum visit the author's historic home and its temporary exhibition, Restless Shadow: Dickens the Campaigner.)

Charles Dickens wrote 'Oliver Twist' when he lived at Doughty Street, now the Charles Dickens Museum. He was in his mid-20s and it was his second novel. Guide Ben Nolan leads us through the nearby streets where Dickens wandered to discover the places, people and events that inspired 'Oliver'. Explore the neighbourhood that housed some of the worst slums in London, and see where Dickens set Fagin's den of thieves. Learn about London's criminal underbelly of pickpockets, prostitutes and murderers and see the sites of courts, prisons and executions, which all appear in 'Oliver'. Discover the place, long associated with political protest, where Oliver is accused of robbing Mr Brownlow as he browses at a bookstall. Find out how the society and politics of Dickens's London influenced his novel and lead to him becoming regarded as a great social reformer of Victorian England.

Event information and booking

Walking Dickensian London

Wednesday 31 May, meet at Charles Dickens Museum, 6pm, approximately 90 minutes.
Cost £10 (includes entry to the museum visit the author's historic home and its temporary exhibition, Restless Shadow: Dickens the Campaigner.)

Follow in Dickens's footsteps with Richard Jones, author of 'Walking Dickensian London', starting at 48 Doughty Street (now the Charles Dickens Museum), where the author lived from 1837 to 1839 and wrote 'Nicholas Nickleby' and 'Oliver Twist'. Explore the streets and alleyways where many of Dickens's greatest novels unfolded, and where his characters lived their days and nights. Uncover the places that shaped his own life, from troubled and impoverished beginnings to becoming one of the world's greatest literary figures.

Event information and booking

Visit:

Charles Dickens Museum
48 Doughty Street
Bloomsbury
London
WC1N 2LX

Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm (last admission at 4pm)

www.dickensmuseum.com

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