Charles Dickens’ London: A Photo Tour

 @MarkJohansonIBT
on February 07 2012 2:05 PM
  • The Dickens Tour
    Tour guide Jean Hayne of London Walks gives a Charles Dickens tour in London. REUTERS
  • The Dickens Tour
    Tour guide Jean Hayne of London Walks gives a Charles Dickens tour in London. REUTERS
  • Charles Dickens Residence
    A plaque marks the principal residence of Charles Dickens in London. REUTERS
  • Items of Charles Dickens
    Items of Charles Dickens are displayed at the Dickens museum at his former residence in London. REUTERS
  • Dickens' Desk
    The desk where Charles Dickens wrote "Great Expectations" and "Our Mutual Friend" is displayed at the Museum of London. REUTERS
  • The alley of Hen and Chickens Court
    The alley of Hen and Chickens Court is where the fictional character the mad demon barber Sweeney Todd, who was referenced by Charles Dickens, had his shop and where his victims had their throats cut before their bodies were dropped into a a basement and made into meat pies. REUTERS
  • St. Andrew's Church
    St. Andrew's church is pictured in London. The Charles Dickens' characters Oliver Twist and Bill Sykes pass by the church on their way to Hyde Park Corner, looking up at the clock, which was "hard upon seven." REUTERS
  • St. Dunstan-in-the-West Church
    The two figures striking the clock at St. Dunstan-in-the-West Church were those whose chimes awoke the Charles Dickens' character Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol." REUTERS
  • Borough Market
    Farmers' produce is displayed at Borough Market, an area familiar to Charles Dickens and mentioned in The Pickwick Papers, London. REUTERS
  • Clothing
    Georgian era costumes are displayed at the Museum of London. The month of February marks an international celebration of the life and work of Charles Dickens on the bicentenary of his birth, which falls on 7 February 2012. REUTERS
  • The Central Criminal Court in England
    The Central Criminal Court in England, also known as Old Bailey for the street on which it stands, appears in the book "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens as the courthouse where Charles Darnay is put on trial for treason. REUTERS
  • The George Pub
    The George pub was frequented by Charles Dickens and other literary giants. REUTERS
  • Southwark Cathedral
    Southwark Cathedral is highlighted against dark clouds near Borough Market in London, which features prominently in Charles Dickens' books. REUTERS
  • Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub
    The front of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub, one of London's oldest pubs and one of Charles Dickens favourites, alluded to in A Tale of Two Cities, in London. REUTERS
  • Former Prison where Charles Dickens' Father was Jailed
    A plaque marks the site of a former prison where Charles Dickens' father was jailed for debt in London. His father's incarceration led Dickens into a difficult childhood, which is reflected in many of his novels, where children suffer or are orphaned. REUTERS
  • Marshalsea Prison
    A wall that is the last remaining structure of the former Marshalsea Prison is seen in London, where Charles Dickens' father was jailed for debt. REUTERS
  • Rules Restaurant
    Rules restaurant is the oldest in London and at the height of his fame Charles Dickens had a table reserved with a view over the blacking factory where he used to work as a boy, in London. REUTERS
  • Rules Restaurant
    Rules restaurant is the oldest in London and at the height of his fame Charles Dickens had a table reserved with a view over the blacking factory where he used to work as a boy. REUTERS
  • Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub
    Patrons drink at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub, one of London's oldest pubs and one of Charles Dickens favorites, alluded to in "A Tale of Two Cities." REUTERS
  • Prince Henry's Room on Fleet Street
    Prince Henry's Room on Fleet Street was formerly an inn frequented by Charles Dickens as a young man. REUTERS
  • Staple Inn
    Staple Inn pre-dates the Great Fire of London and behind it stands Staple Inn Square, which Charles Dickens often mentioned for it's tranquility. REUTERS
  • Fleet Street
    New and old buildings stand side by side on Fleet Street in London, a favorite haunt of Charles Dickens. REUTERS
  • The Grave of Charles Dickens
    The grave of Charles Dickens is marked in Westminster Abbey, where he was buried against his will. REUTERS
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Britain marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of celebrated novelist Charles Dickens on Tuesday.

Although the works of some authors might seem dated after the passage of so much time, Dickens remains as relevant and engaging as ever through such characters as Oliver Twist and Scrooge, who still manage to speak through the ages to a new generation fed up with social injustice and burdened by financial troubles.

Dickens' creations have penetrated the English language and character and there are interesting parallels with our own times. For example, Little Dorrit revolves around speculation and financial chaos, which should resonated with readers today living through the Great Recession.

Or as Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities began:

It was the best of times / it was the worst of times / it was the age of wisdom / it was the age of foolishness / it was the epoch of belief / it was the epoch of incredulity / it was the season of Light / it was the season of Darkness / it was the spring of hope / it was the winter of despair / we had everything before us / we had nothing before us.

Dickens was one of the first to depict the industrialized city - a place that millions of us still live. He wrote about life in the modern city with its criminals, urchins, lawyers, bankers, clerks, and dreamers.

The novelist grew up poor and, though he gained wealth and fame in his mid-20s, poverty and fear permeate his writing.

In honor of Dickens' birthday, Prince Charles laid a wreath at his grave in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abby. Actor Ralph Fiennes read some passages from Bleak House, considered to be one of Dickens finest works, about the rich Lady Dedlock and an orphan named Esther Summerson.

There were also prayers for the poor and marginalized, and for writers, artists, and journalists chronicling modern society.

Dickens had requested to be buried at Rochester Cathedral in his beloved Kent in southeast England, but a public outcry led to him being placed in Westminster Abby.

A similar service commemorating his birthday took place in his birthplace Portsmouth, where a prepared message from Prince Charles called Dickens one of the greatest writers of the English language, who used his creative genius to campaign passionately for social justice.

The word Dickensian instantly conjures up a vivid picture of Victorian life with all its contrasts and intrigue, and his characterization is as fresh today as it was on the day it was written.

In honor of the special occasion, here's a photo tour of Charles Dickens' London as he knew it. Press Start to begin the journey.

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