Lee Jackson: Dickensland: The Curious History of Dickens’s London
The intriguing history of Dickens’s London, showing how tourists have reimagined and reinvented the Dickensian metropolis for more than 150 years
Tourists have sought out the landmarks, streets, and alleys of Charles Dickens’s London ever since the death of the world-renowned author. Late Victorians and Edwardians were obsessed with tracking down the locations—dubbed “Dickensland”—that famously featured in his novels. But his fans were faced with a city that was undergoing rapid redevelopment, where literary shrines were far from sacred. Over the following century, sites connected with Dickens were demolished, relocated, and reimagined.
Lee Jackson traces the fascinating history of Dickensian tourism, exploring both real Victorian London and a fictional city shaped by fandom, tourism, and heritage entrepreneurs. Beginning with the late nineteenth century, Jackson investigates key sites of literary pilgrimage and their relationship with Dickens and his work, revealing hidden, reinvented, and even faked locations. From vanishing coaching inns to submerged riverside stairs, hidden burial grounds to apocryphal shops, Dickensland charts the curious history of an imaginary world.
Jackson has a doctorate from Royal Holloway University of London and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Dickens Museum. He is the creator of The Dictionary of Victorian London, a widely-used free educational resource, established in 2001, that brings together digitised primary sources relating to the social history of Victorian London
Jackson has written novels, anthologies and non-fiction books, all of which focus upon the Victorian capital including in 2015, Dirty Old London a history of dirt, filth and pollution, described by the Guardian as “rich in wonderful contemporary details gleaned from newspapers and archives … a vivid account of the enormous challenges faced by a city expanding at an unprecedented rate”.