Tour Locations | Charles Dickens from Furnival's Inn to Doughty Street
We're going to turn left here, but before you, do so stop and have a quick look at the statue in the middle of the intersection ahead. That's Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, on horseback.
Now let's turn left and walk away from the statue.
[3 SECOND PAUSE]
The street you're walking on is called Hatton Garden, and it is famous as the centre of the diamond and jewellery trade in London. You can see how built up this area is now. It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like when this neighbourhood was full of gardens. This land was once owned by the very powerful Bishop of Ely and became famous for the strawberries grown in his gardens. The nearby Ely Place is still home to a Strawberry Fayre every summer – a tradition that dates back to the middle ages. In Tudor times, this area became the property of Sir Christopher Hatton. He was very wealthy and famously gave financial backing to the round-the-world voyage of Sir Francis Drake, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. By the 19th century, the Hatton family had died out and the area had been sold off, piece by piece, to developers. By the time Charles Dickens knew this area, many of the surrounding streets had become dangerous slums. It was the small streets around Hatton Garden that Dickens used for many of his scenes in Oliver Twist. In the late 19th century, the inventor Hiram Maxim lived in Hatton Garden – he was a prolific inventor, but is best remembered today for his most deadly invention: the machine gun.
Keep walking straight.