Monday, 4 December 2017

In & Around #London: Bob Cratchit's Commute Cornhill to Camden #AChristmasCarol


Monday is mute on The Daily Constitutional (well, almost mute) – because Monday is the day when we post five images captured in and around London by London Walks Guides and London Walkers.

Today, however, I'm posting a great many more than my usual five London pics. 

In honour of the season, today is The In & Around London Christmas Carol Special!




Last week on Twitter I posed the question: Which is the best of all movie or TV versions of A Christmas Carol. You can join in the poll here…






As a follow up to that poll, here's a photoblog from a speculative version of Bob Cratchit's commute from Cornhill to Camden…





DC Editor Adam writes…

Last Christmas, in honour of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's impoverished clerk in A Christmas Carol, I attempted to trace his footsteps on his journey home from Scrooge's Cornhill office to his humble abode in Camden Town.






No details of his journey are listed in the text of A Christmas Carol, so here's the route I planned before setting off…







And here's the route I ended up following…






It's probably not as direct a route as that Bob himself would have chosen, but I tailored it to go through my beloved Clerkenwell.

On the way I snapped a few piccies of Bob Cratchit's London Christmas past, present and yet to come. I hope you enjoy them. Happy Christmas!



Christmas Present: Bob would have known the Royal Exchange…


… and the Mansion House (without cranes, buses and vans, of course)…




… here's a more contemporary view




Xmas Yet To Come… 1 Poultry, which replaced the English Gothic splendour of the old Mappin & Webb building. 



Mappin & Webb had yet to set up shop at Poultry in 1843 (when A Christmas Carol was published) but was already a going concern having been founded in Sheffield in 1775.




The view from London Wall looking toward Camden Town… slightly (ahem) obscured in the 21st Century


St Paul's – part of Bob's Xmas Present surrounded by the architecture & transport of his Xmas Yet To Come




Xmas past… 18th century headstones in Postman's Park (which we visit on the Shakespeare & Dickens walk on Sundays)


Little Britain – and we nod to Great Expectations as we pass




St Bartholomew-the-Great… and its literary neighbour…







Given Dickens's subject matter, was it a coincidence that I should happen upon the HQ of Save the Children in St John's Lane EC1 along the route of my Bob Cratchit stroll?

Or was it my own version of a Christmas visitation?




It's Save The Children's Christmas Jumper Day on the 15th December 2017. Here's how to join in…




For information on how to volunteer and donate to Save The Children, visit their website here: www.savethechildren.org.uk




Onward to Clerkenwell Green…


Past AND Present – a father explains to his daughter what these weird red cupboards are all about on Clerkenwell Green



Spirit of Xmas Past: Do you recognise this place?

Scrooge: Recognise it?! I was apprenticed here!

My own Christmas past… 34 Clerkenwell Close (pictured above) is the first office in which I worked in London. The building is a former ink factory and it was from here that I first explored London on foot, stumbling upon so many Dickens locations in my lunch hour wanders that golden hindsight tells me that every day was a literary fireworks display.

This is where I fell in love with London and I will find any excuse to pass through this most wonderful of London neighbourhoods.

A tree grows in Clerkenwell

Scrooge asks: Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons? On the right of the shot above stood Clerkenwell Prison – or The House of Detention. Torn down in 1890, the vaults still exist, beneath what was the playground of the Hugh Myddleton School, now flats. In the 1860s, the prison looked like this…


Next, my route went via…



… and past George Gilbert Scott's St Pancras hotel…



… via the British Library…



This excellent British Library film looks at The Origins of A Christmas Carol


On to Somers Town…  



… and St Mary's Church, a building personally familiar to the young Dickens, who lived at Cranleigh Street…



… in conditions far from affluent. The plaque was unveiled in 2013 by actor Simon Callow. 




All told it was a walk of some 3.7 miles. So Bob's commute was at least 7 miles on foot every day.




And that was my tribute to the heroic Bob Cratchit. Here's the route again…






… and here's another link to Save the Children.



If any of you Daily Constitutionalists & London Walkers end up doing your own version of Bob's walk, do drop me a line at the usual address, send me your pics, or leave a comment below…

Merry Christmas!




From the London Walks Podcast Archive… A Christmas Carol. Listen here…









Christmas 2017 With London Walks…


On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks: 

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square



Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm





A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.



1 comment:

  1. I love reading about Adam's rambles. This one was particularly evocative. The photos of the Dickensian locations are wonderful

    ReplyDelete