Young Explorers: Hallway

Entrance Hall

Entrance Hall © Charles Dickens Museum

Throughout his life, Charles enjoyed taking long, rambling walks through the city’s streets for hours at a time. Charles was a very observant man and this helped to inspire his writing. He described the places and people he saw in vivid detail in his novels and journalism.  

Charles wrote many scenes of London life and London people which were published in newspapers and journals. Here’s one from Sketches by Boz, describing a bustling day in London, with the city coming to life.

Play the audio file below and while it is playing, close your eyes and try to imagine the scene as vividly as possible.

Below, is the text you just heard. Have a go at reading it out loud yourself to your family and friends. Use your voice and actions to try to make the scene as vivid as you can. 

“The shops are now completely opened, and apprentices and shopmen are busily engaged in cleaning and decking the windows for the day. The bakers’ shops in town are filled with servants and children waiting for the drawing of the first batch of rolls – an operation which was performed a full hour ago in the suburbs: for the early clerk population of Somers and Camden Towns, Islington, and Pentonville, are fast pouring into the city, or directing their steps towards Chancery Lane and the Inns of Court. Middle-aged men, whose salaries have by no means increased in the same proportion as their families, plod steadily along, apparently with no object in view but the counting house; knowing by sight almost everybody they meet or overtake, for they have seen them every morning (Sundays excepted) during the last twenty years, but speaking to no one.”

Why not try writing your own description of what it is like where you live first thing in the morning? You can sit near the window by yourself or you can go for a little walk with a grown-up. Keep your eyes, ears and nose open! Record what you see, hear and smell!

We’d love to hear from you if you’d like to share your descriptions! Ask a grown up to email them to us at:

Charles and Catherine often took some very special things with them when they left the house. Click here to try this quiz  with your family to find out more!

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