The Charles Dickens Museum and the Big Issue Foundation came together earlier this year to explore how we might work together. The Museum was preparing for a new exhibition – Restless Shadow: Dickens the campaigner (9th May- 29th October 2017) – highlighting Dickens’s journalism and his tireless work as a social reform campaigner. One of the issues that most concerned Dickens was homelessness and the poverty at the root of it. A partnership with the Big Issue not only made sense – it was absolutely in the spirit of Dickens. An exhibition on journalism naturally involves a lot of written material, and we were keen to bring this to life by including sound recordings of extracts of Dickens’s writing and to use a variety of voices. We invited some of our partners, including Big Issue vendors, as well as members of the Dickens family to help us make these recordings.
Marion Lloyd and Big Issue vendor Dave Martin
Exhibition openings are always wonderful occasions but imagine the delight when two of our ‘voices’ – Big Issue vendor Dave Martin and great-great-granddaughter of Dickens, Marion Lloyd – looked at each other and said ‘I know you!’
Marion explained: “Dave and I met some years ago at Hammersmith Tesco where I do my regular shopping. He has many friends who always stop and talk to him outside the store even if they don’t buy the Big Issue - there’s usually a queue! I acquired my terrier Eva last year and when she comes to Tesco with me. I always tie her up at Dave’s patch so he can keep an eye on her while I’m inside. He’s a dog-watcher for lots of local shoppers. Meeting him in the museum was an unexpected and delightful moment. And of course we are proper friends now.”
Restless Shadow: Dickens the Campaigner continues at the Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street London WC1N 2LX until 29th October 2017.
This blog takes you behind the scenes at the Charles Dickens Museum, giving fresh insight on everything from discoveries new and old in our collection, to exhibitions, events and learning initiatives.
You’ll be hearing from a variety of Museum staff and volunteers, as well as guest curators, academics, artists and Dickens enthusiasts. Why not join the debate and let us know you thoughts on the latest blog by using our hashtag #CDMBlog