|Tuesday, 11th August at 7pm||Sunday, 30th August at 12 Noon|
|This is a virtual online tour||Book Places|
At five minutes to six, on Thursday the 9th of June, 1870, an unconscious Charles Dickens began to sob as his breathing suddenly diminshed.
Fifteen minutes later, he gave a deep sigh, a tear trickled from his right eye and ran down his cheek, and his breathing stopped. Charles Dickens, England's greatest novelist, was dead.
To mark the anniversary of Dickens's death, Richard Jones was planning to conduct a tour around Dickens London, but due to the current situation, his great expectations of leading the anniversary tour have been dashed.
But technology has come to the rescue, and, thanks to the magic of ZOOM, The tour will go ahead as a virtual tour, meaning that participants will not be confined to any one part of London, but rather, they can follow Dickens from the impoverished years of his childhood, through his teenage years as a lowly clerk, reporter and then journalist, and on through his adult years as he rose to become the second most famous Victorian.
Richard Jones is the author of the acclaimed guide to the London of Charles Dickens, Walking Dickensian London, so who better to take you on a magical journey through the locations that feature in the life and works of England's greatest novelist?
For almost twenty years Richard has been filming the streets of London for various documentaries. Now, with people unable to make it to London, he is utilising that footage to enable you to walk the streets of London from your home, be it in London, Liverpool, Louisiana or Lithuania!
In fact, no matter where you are in the world, you can now explore the streets of London in glorious high definition that is so crisp and clear, it will be as though you are actually walking through the streets you will hear about.
Richard will begin the tour with a brief introduction to the Dickens, discussing the idyllic years of his childhood that were spent in Kent - the "Garden of England."
But then, just before his twelfth birthday, Dickens found himself back in London where trauma quite literally came knocking on his door and brought the idyllic years of his childhood to a sudden and abrupt halt.
His father, John, was arrested for debt, and the whole family, with the exception of Charles and his sister, moved into the Marshalsea Debtors Prison.
Richard will take you to the site of the prison, and will show you its surviving outer wall. He will tell you the story of John's time there and will explain how many of the experiences that Charles endured during this troubling period would shape him as a writer, and how, in several instances they ended up as parts of the storylines in various novels.
Charles was sent to work at a blacking factory, and Richard will take you to the site of the establishment at which he worked and tell you how one of the people who befriended him here would later be "immortalised" in one of his best loved novels.
Richard will the take you through Dickens teenage years, taking you to the grave of the schoolmaster who taught him, and who was the basis for the character Wackford Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby.
You will see the exterior of the office that Dickens went to work at when he was fifteen, and you will follow him on his first day at work as he heads off to run an errand and returns with a black eye.
And then we follow him through his early career, when he worked at Doctors Commons, before transferring to Parliament, where he began writing sketches about London life, which were published under his pseudonym "Boz."
Richard will show you the grave of the 18th century writer from whom Dickens got the inspiration for "Boz", before leading you through the dark and dismal court where was located the magazine in which those sketches first saw the light of day.
You will pay a visit to Furnival's Inn, where Dickens was living when he enjoyed his first major success with Pickwick Papers, and from here you will set out on a magical journey through some of Dickens most memorable novels as you make the acquaintance of a host of immortal characters.
Inevitably, some of the locations mentioned are no longer with us, having fallen victims to time and progress.
But worry not, because the wonder of a virtual tour is that Richard will be able to show you images of the locations as they were in Dickens day.
That is the beauty of a virtual tour, we can go anywhere and see anything we want, without being restricted by place, distance or even time.
Betwixt and between all these wondrous discoveries, Richard will regale you with fascinating facts and intriguing little snippets about Dickens life and times, that really will bring the streets of Victorian London to vivid life.
So, join Richard Jones, Blue Badge Guide and Dickensian author, for a magical online journey that really will prove the best of times in these worst of times!