London: Following Charles Dickens

I wanted to walk into a Charles Dickens novel and Context Travel  generously offered to show me this part of London on their Charles Dickens walking tour

The Old Bell bar

I met my Context tour guide at The Old Bell bar on Fleet Street.  Dating back 300 years, the pub was rebuilt after the Great fire of London and is exactly what I think a pub should be.










A very rainy day did not dampen the enthusiasm of my amazing guide and we were soon off to our first stop 
The Brides Church.

Tucked behind this entrance is a shady, quiet courtyard.

As often happens while exploring a city, you can stumble upon the entrance to amazing places, small treasures tucked away from the main traffic.  

St Bride’s Church on Fleet street, also known as The Journalist’s Church, has been the location of a church for centuries.  From the long history, as described by my guide and found on the church’s web site, I learned that St. Bride’s is “know worldwide as the ‘journalists’ Church, a spiritual home to all who work in the media.”

The Brides Church is also know as the Journalists’ Church

Below this quiet oasis is remnants of Roman pavement and visitors are welcome to explore the narrow passage way with artifacts and original walls exposed.

Guides at the palaces, cathedrals and famous houses in London never fail to amaze me with the centuries of history they can share.   

We stopped at the Old Curiosity Shop only to find it closed and now selling shoes.   Over the centuries the building has listed to the side a little.  It is under a protective order so shall  remain a wonderful reminder to the story Charles Dickens wrote and Little Nell and her grandfather.

Peering in the windows you can see wood floors, low ceilings, small doorways.  


The Streets Dickens Walked
Most of the streets and alleys that Dickens wrote about have been replaced with office buildings and modern architecture.   But a few small streets or narrow lanes still remain.

I was surprised to learn Dickens spent time as a law clerk in London  and our tour visited many of the Inns of Court in London.   The heavy rain may have kept the clerks and solicitors inside.  All the courtyards were empty and quiet.   I wonder if you can see wigged and robed barristers traveling too and from at other times?



The Inns of Court in London, professional associations that English barristers join,function as offices, libraries training and sometimes dining facilities for barristers. 1


The British system is far different than that of the USA and it may take a bit-of-a-study to understand the Inn’s concept.   A tour of  the Inns alone would share a rich history of legal London.

 

Fountain Court in the center of Middle Temple


 

  • White and red roses, symbol of the two sides in the Wars of the Roses
  •  was outside one of the dining halls
Middle Temple hall
We also visited The Temple Church.   If you saw The Da Vinci Code you may recognize the Temple Church.  The 800 year old church was built by the Knights Templar.  According to church web site “the order of crusading monks were founded to protect pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem in the 12th century.”
 
The domed portion of the Temple Church is modeled after the domed Church of the Rock in Jerusalem.
The dome over the round part of the church

The round portion of the church has a wonderful group of carved stone faces, each with an original expression.

 



There is a wonderful collection of stone faces around the circular part of the church  See more photos here.


My thanks to Context Travel London for this wonderful complementary tour.  

All photos are the property of Mature Solo Travel 2016

1from Wickipdia as referenced

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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