My Impressions

Saffron Hill 14
Saffron Hill 4
Saffron Hill 8

What I wrote in London

Having walked from Angel to Saffron Hill, we were very ready to see the 'Hill'. . When Dickens described it, he said had never seen such a dirty place. Again, a common theme on this expedition, it was bizarre to think that it could have been ankle deep in grime. The Hill is massively long and moves down and ends at a flight of stairs.. Many companies are in buildings on the other side of the road so rather than raucous noise you are in fact greeted with the hush of the city workers. I would go as far as to say it as the opposite of when Dickens was there. The area I narrow houses and you get a feeling for how cramped the slums could have been. The buildings tower above the street and though the blue sky penetrates the street, it feels dark and a bit dismal. 'The One Tun' is the only thing that could possibly have any connection to the story or Dickens' London. There are no handkerchiefs in evidence still as there is little to hang them from and no shops selling stolen goods. It's bizarre how little of Dickens' London still exists. So much better however and cleaner but more difficult to imagine.

Saffron Hill 12
Saffron Hill 3
Saffron Hill 9

On Reflection

This location is one of the most changed since Dickens' time. He describes it in minute and disgusting detail with ankle high mud and children hanging from window frames. It couldn't be more different on a sunny Autumn morning in 2015. Standing at the top of the small hill leading down to another small road and office block, it is lined on both sides with grey metallic buildings that the sun bounces off. The street is cluttered with smart cars, covering the clean tarmac road and instead of chaos reigning, there is a spooky quietness that pervades everywhere as city workers grind away at their desks. Looking up, the street feels more narrow and cramped which gives more of an impression of when Dickens would have seen it. 'The One Tun', the pub that doubles for The Three Cripples in Oliver Twist sticks out like a sore thumb amongst all the new buildings. It is the only building that remotely looks like it could have been around when Dickens was, with black walls inside and a weathered brick wall exterior. The Hill itself tails off at the end into stairs leading to a busy road from a city office block. I think this sums up the area as it is almost all taken over by offices. However I think it is a huge improvement of when Dickens knew it and I'm glad it has got to have forgotten its horrible past completely – probably so much so that Dickens wouldn't recognize it if he were to walk down it.

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