Dickens was an insomniac. By night, he pounded the pavements of London, walking his characters into being as the rest of the city slept. He and his stories are as much a part of London as red buses and Big Ben.
In this anniversary year, I want to get to know him better. I’d like to say I’m going to read all his books, but we know that’s a lie. As well as reading the odd bit, I am going to re-watch my favourite BBC adaptations, and enjoy the atmospheric sets and fabulous costumes. I’ve already visited the fantastic exhibition at the Museum of London, which maps out the big themes of Dickens’ stories and life and how they intersect with the city: home and hearth, progress, childhood and death. I’d like to go back with the nine year old, who has already been captivated by his magical stories.
But my biggest project will be to follow in his footsteps. I want to see the city, our city, how he saw it, by walking the streets, visiting the places he visited, finding the places he wrote about. I shall take photos, drink coffee and imagine his characters into being. Want to join me?