By popular demand (OK, so a few people who have come on my Dickens walks have asked…), references for the Dickens essays I quote from and the contemporary work I mention on my Dickens walks (summaries of those here and here) as follows:
The first is The Streets – Night from Sketches by Boz, a collection he published in the early part of his career in 1836. Full transcript can be found here on Lee Jackson’s excellent The Dictionary of Victorian London website (follow Lee on Twitter, he’s a hoot and you’ll learn loads – particularly about the Victorians’ toilet habits… ), alternative link here.
The second is Night Walks published in 1861 as part of a series of literary sketches under the banner The Uncommercial Traveller, transcript here.
The contemporary work I reference at the Simpson’s stop in Ball Court (to illustrate the role of the chop house as a place for harvesting useful gossip in Victorian London) is a wonderful book by Lynn Shepherd called Tom-All-Alone’s (you can also follow Lynn on Twitter, equally informative and fun as Lee but talks less about Victorian toilets. Not at all, in fact…).
I’m no literary critic so won’t even attempt a review of the book further than to say three things: i) It’s a rollicking good detective story on the classic theme of the put-upon gumshoe who finds out too much for his client’s liking, but all set in Victorian London; ii) The meticulously researched evocation of Victorian London’s soft and seedy underbelly is quite superb; iii) Buy it.