Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Searching for Dickens in London
At the weekend, Jon and I were in London, so we decided to do some walking and find some Dickens (and other literary-related) sites. We met up with Simon and Hannah and got the tube to Chancery Lane; from there we walked to Fleet Street and found Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Wine Office Court. Dickens frequently visited this pub and it features in my favourite novel of his: A Tale of Two Cities. Other famous writers also visited this pub, such as Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr Samuel Johnson. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in its present form was built in 1667, after the original building burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
We enjoyed the atmosphere in the dark, underground bar where we ate lunch. The food was ok and the conversation was fun. We debated what to do next and decided to try and visit some of the places on a walk I had found online. We felt it was too cold and late in the afternoon to attempt the whole route, so we agreed to wander Fleet Street and see what we could find.
This challenge proved a lot harder than we first thought! Looking for Dr Johnson's house (in order to find the statue of his cat), we walked in circles for quite a while before discovering the exact location of Gough Square. It took us forever to find 185 Fleet Street, too! We were also disappointed to find that Prince Henry's Room is closed for the time being. Fortunately, we found St Dunstan's Church relatively easily, with its two giants who strike the bells every quarter of an hour.
Eventually, we felt too frozen to continue our search and instead popped into a cafe that boasted the best hot chocolate ever. My friends say the boast is quite valid as the hot chocolate was superb, but I tried the mocha instead, and was not disappointed. Having warmed up, I had a text from my mate James, so we decided to meet him in the George Inn in Southwark. This is another pub that Dickens visited, and is mentioned in Little Dorrit. :)
After some drinks and lots of fun times, we noticed that it was time to go. We hope to visit again soon, see more Dickens-related sites and meet up with our lovely friends again!