Dickensland: The Curious History of Dickens's London

Lee Jackson's new book - Dickensland: The Curious History of Dickens's London - 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 ...

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The Dictionary of Victorian London is a website created by Lee Jackson, which launched in 2001. The site contains several thousand pages of primary sources which reveal the social history of Victorian London, including nineteenth century journalism, diaries, social investigation, guidebooks, cartoons and much more, which can be searched by keyword or through browsing the menu system. The site, although no longer updated with new material, continues to be popular with students, writers and researchers and anyone interested in how life was lived in the Victorian capital.

visit The Dictionary of Victorian London ...


About the author

Lee Jackson is an author and historian with an abiding interest in the social history and geography of Victorian London.

His non-fiction book Dirty Old London (Yale, 2014) was described by The Times as 'a tightly argued, meticulously researched history of sanitation that reads like a novel'; and by the New York Times as 'utterly engrossing'. His subsequent book Palaces of Pleasure (Yale, 2019) discussed the Victorians' invention of mass entertainment, and was described by The Times as 'a lively and superbly researched history'.

Lee completed a PhD at Royal Holloway University, in conjunction with the Dickens Museum, in 2021. A book based on this research, entitled Dickensland: The Curious History of Dickens's London, is now available.

He is also the creator of this website The Dictionary of Victorian London, a massive compilation of primary sources charting the social history of the nineteenth century metropolis.



Victorian London Ebooks

The Victorian London Ebooks collection of digitised texts for Kindle, including some very rare items unavailable elsewhere:

14. The Last of the Climbing Boys, by George Elson (1900)

   The memoirs of a Victorian chimney-sweep, a rare working-class autobiography ...

13.  The Doom of the Great City, by William Delisle Hay (1880)

    The first modern tale of urban apocalypse, in which Victorian London is overwhelmed by killer fog ...

12. Mord Em'ly, by William Pett Ridge (1901)

    'Mord Em'ly' [Maud Emily] is one of the great anti-heroines of Victorian literature - read about girls, gangs and salvation in turn-of-the-century South London ...

11. Adventures of an American Girl in Victorian London,
  by Elizabeth L. Banks (1894) 
[orig. title: 'Campaigns of Curiosity']

An American lady journalist goes undercover to find out what
     life is like for servants and other lowly employees ...

10. Dust, Mud, Soot & Soil: The Worst Jobs in Victorian London [discontinued - see 'Dirty Old London' in print books]

9. The Wilds of London, by James Greenwood (1874)

    Another tour of London's dark underbelly, from a detailed first-hand description of life as a convict, in Newgate and Portland, to the midnight burial of a suicide.

8. The Diary of a Murder, by Lee Jackson (2011)

    A murder-mystery set in 1860s Islington - the death of a housewife - the diary of her husband. But who is her killer?

7. The Journal of a Disappointed Man, by W.N.P. Barbellion (1919)

One of English literature's great overlooked diarists, a fascinating slice of Edwardian life, composed by a writer with a fine wit and waspish sense of humour.

6. Twice Round the Clock, by George Augustus Sala (1859)

A 24-hour tour of the metropolis, beginning at 4am in Billingsgate, and moving around the city with each passing hour.

5. The Seven Curses of London, by James Greenwood (1869)

A voyage through the low life of London, including prostitution, baby-farming and rat-baiting.

4. Daily Life in Victorian London : an Extraordinary Anthology, edited by Lee Jackson (2011)

BESTSELLER! Over 17,000 copies sold of this entertaining anthology of the mundane and the astonishing. Discover how your ancestors really lived.

3. Curiosities of London Life, by Charles Manby Smith (1853)

A journalist explores the nooks and corners of the capital, from the rise of the pie-shop, to the dastardly trade of dog-stealing.

2. London and Londoners in the 1850s and 1860s, by Alfred Rosling Bennett (1924)

A brilliant, idiosyncratic memoir of life in the mid-century, full of fascinating details.

1. The Hooligan Nights, by Clarence Rook (1899)

A 'true story' of a young criminal on the streets of 1890s Lambeth, in his own words.

TWITTER et al.

Access my twitter feed at @victorianlondon. Several thousand photographs of London are visible on my Flickr account. You may also enjoy the archived files of The Cat's Meat Shop (2007-2017), which also contains several hundred items on Victorian London topics.

Twitter and other distractions

Access my twitter feed at @victorianlondon. Several thousand photographs of London are visible on my Flickr account. You may also enjoy the archived files of The Cat's Meat Shop (2007-2017), which also contains several hundred items on Victorian London topics.

Books by Lee Jackson