Oliver Twist is one of Dickens best loved stories and its storyline of little orphan Oliver coming to London, meeting the Artful Dodger, being introduced to Fagin and undergoing numerous trails and tribulations, before it all comes good in the end, is one of literatures best known tales.
And, even though close on a hundred and eighty years have passed since Dickens pitched Oliver into the criminal underworld of early 19th century London, it is still possible to walk the streets that feature in the book and recognise many of the landmarks that provided the backcloth against which so many of Oliver's adventures were played out.
So, introductions over, we set off to meet with Oliver Twist as he arrives on the outskirts of London and, having made the aquaintence of "...one of the queerest-looking boys" he had ever seen, traispses into the City en route to the abode a "'spectable old gentleman...wot'll give you lodgings for nothink, and never ask for the change..."
The queer looking boy, of course, is Jack Dawkins, better known as "The Artful Dodger" and the "'spectable old gentleman" to whom he is referring is is Fagin.
As we follow their route into London, you will hear how Dickens imbued Oliver with feelings of abandonment were based on a similar trauma that he had experienced in his own childhood. You will also learn about the good natured boy who befriended young Dickens and whose kindness was repaid by the author using his surname for the leader of the pickpockets in Oliver Tiwst.
Soon we enjoy a magnificent view of the mighty dome of St Paul's Cathedral away in the distance. It is a chilling to think that this is still, more or less, the very vista that Dickens himself would have perceived as he paced out Dodger's and Oliver's journey into London.
Ducking in and out of the warren of alleyways, along which "...the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace, directing Oliver to follow at his heels...", we push our way through the narrow thoroughfares - the dirtiest and most wretched that Oliver had ever seen - to arrive at the site Field Lane, one of 19th Century London's most notorious rookeries, where Oliver will come face to face with Fagin.
And, thus, standing on the very site of Fagin's den of iniquity, we can immerse ourselves in the London of Oliver Twist and make our way through the alleyways and courts that are featured in the book.