Fagin’s den, the blacking factory and the writer’s house are among the sites visited on our expert’s Charles Dickens walking tour of London. Wot larks!
Start Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey
Finish Jerusalem Tavern, Farringdon
Distance 4½ miles
Time 3 hours (or considerably longer)
Let’s start at the end. On 14 June 1870, the body of Charles Dickens was lowered into Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, watched by perhaps a dozen mourners. His friend, Wilkie Collins, was among them, but there was no place for Dickens’ estranged wife, Catherine. Dickens had wanted to be buried near his home in Kent, with no fuss, but he’d lost control of his own story. He was 58 years old – and the brass lettering on his black tombstone still glows with unquenchable force.