Explore the City's Ancient Alleyways in the Footsteps of Charles Dickens
Cross over the road here. Do you see the Victorian Gothic structure opposite you? That's Leadenhall Market. We're going inside there, and it's the last location on our tour for the day, so I'll tell you about it while you make your way inside.
There has been a market here since 1377, but the present building was constructed in 1888 by Horace Jones, who also designed Tower Bridge. Note the ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, with sculptures of silver dragons, the emblem of the City of London. This is the perfect setting for Dickensian films. For the film of 'Bleak House', the whole market building was filled with smoke to recreate the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London.
Dickens himself would not have known this building as he died in 1870. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral in, as he put it, "an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner," he was laid to rest in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: "To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England's most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, 9 June 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."
Our walk ends here. I hope you have enjoyed trying to imagine London as it was in Victorian times. I also hope you will feel inspired to read or reread some of Dickens's extraordinary novels with their larger than life characters. I personally was forced to read him as a young boy and accordingly hated him. Later I began to appreciate the richness and humanity of his writing, especially as I walked all over London exploring places connected with his life and works. That's all from me for today. Goodbye