Field Lane 2
Field Lane 6
Field Lane 12

What I wrote in London

Field Lane is a difficult location to suss out as it is said to be at the lower end of Saffron Hill or further towards Holborn Viaduct. The last part of Saffron Hill now is a glass office complex with stairs leading to the street above at the end. From the One Tun to the end there is little to see but the glass offices and dozy office workers lingering having the odd nifty fag. However the street is very narrow and again gives the impression of claustrophobia and closeness of space that people would have had to live in. Before you get to the glass building, there are a couple of dark brick buildings with small windows – these give the best impression of how it might have been when Dickens was there. Dodger is said to have opened a darkened door to get into Fagin's den and there are several dodgy doors that might have led to the blackened and soot covered rooms of Fagin and the boys. I could still imagine them in the cramped room on the top floor, working on more ways of stealing and 'drinking and smoking like old men'!

Field Lane 7
Field Lane 4
Field Lane 10

On Reflection

Reading Dickens' description of Field Lane, it doesn’t feel like a place you would want to visit, with pickpockets on every corner and streets filled with children, mud and mire. However the truth now, I am glad to report, couldn't be further from the truth. It is a clean and almost deserted end of Saffron Hill so its difficult to get a feel for how it might have been. In the glass office complex that takes over most the final part of Saffron Hill, there is very little to see. The odd office worker, traffic cone, the odd bin truck but nothing to suggest the history. People walk down the road past the One Tun without giving the area a second glance and you would have no idea of its history by passing by. The only impression of the Dickensian era you can see is two dark terracotta buildings which reach to the sky and make you feel decidedly hemmed in. I could imagine Fagin's den being housed in one of these but probably are now inhabited by design companies or such like. As in many of the locations in Oliver Twist, using your imagination is very important as so many locations have changed completely and this case is in the best way possible.

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