Night walking through London with Charles Dickens

“Some year ago, a temporary inability to sleep, referable to a distressing impression, caused me to walk about the streets all night, for a series of several nights”

Night Walks by Charles Dickens

It was a much different world when Charles Dickens walked the streets of London over one hundred and fifty years ago.

Or was it?

A short film that’s being shown to visitors after they have wandered through the Dickens and London exhibition at the Museum of London might just have them thinking that there are more similarities between now and then than one would think.

In the film The Houseless Shadow, director William Raban followed Dickens lead and wandered the city streets late at night, capturing the homeless, street entertainers, amorous couples, and drunks falling out of pubs. Marrying the images to Dickens’ writing,  the film’s final cut shows the many subtle similarities between now and then.

Raban’s short film is, however, just one the many ways that Dicken’s life and work is being brought into the digital age during his bicentennial year.

For example, the Museum of London has also developed the Dickens’ Dark London App that takes users on a journey through the darker side of Charles Dickens’ London.

Done in the form of a graphic novel, with illlustrations by David Foldvari and the text read by Sherlock Holmes actor Mark Strong, the first installment, featuring the infamous Seven Dials slum, quickly pulls you into Victorian London.  The first installment, or edition, is free. Subsequent ones will be released monthly and cost £1.49


Night walking with Dickens takes on another dimension with graphic designer Kent Lyons Dickens Newspapers iPad App.  Featuring the ‘Night Walks’ magazine column that Dickens wrote about walking city while suffering from insomnia, this free interactive App can be read like a book.

But the minute you tilt the iPad to landscape format, high-res photos and short videos pop up showing exactly what these areas of London look like today.  So far only one edition is available with five more being planned.

It’s definitely all about Dickens this year.


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