• LOCATION 1 | Charles Dickens from Furnival's Inn to Doughty Street

    Chancery Lane station

    Hello, my name is Lucinda Dickens Hawksley. I'm an author and a great great great granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens. Today, I'm going to take you on a tour of the London that Charles Dickens knew. We'll be travelling from his first adult home to the house in which he and Catherine lived in their early marriage.

    Before you start walking, take a moment to look around you. You should be standing outside Chancery Lane station, at the silver dragon statue. This dragon, often erroneously called a Gryphon, is the symbol of the City of London – that’s City with a capital “C”. The statue refers to St George, the dragon-slaying patron saint of England. The dragon holds the City’s coat of arms.

    The City is also known as the “Square Mile". Today, as it was in Dickens’s day, it's at the heart of financial and legal London. We are going to walk to where Dickens lived as a young man. Chancery Lane is mentioned in several Dickens novels, most notably in Bleak House, but also in Sketches by Boz and Pickwick Papers – which were written while he was living here.

    The black-and-white “half-timbered” building across the road on your right is Staple Inn. It gives an idea of what London would have looked like before the Great Fire of London, which happened in 1666. Staple Inn was built in 1585. Dickens saw this building every day when he lived here as a young man, at the time when he was beginning his career as a journalist. Today, the word “inn” usually means a “pub”, but this was an Inn of Court, a boarding school for young lawyers.

    Now, if you are standing looking at the the black-and-white building across the road, you need to walk towards your left. Keep walking straight on this major road, which is called High Holborn. I'll tell you how this will work as we move. Let's go.

    VoiceMap uses your location to play commentary automatically. You can put your phone away, and focus on the surroundings. There might be silence now and again, but just keep walking until I say otherwise.

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Charles Dickens from Furnival's Inn to Doughty Street