I bought this book because I enjoyed the author's book, Death, Disection and the destitute. Having also enjoyed the Dickens exhibiton at the Museum of London I thought this would be an interesting book looking at workhouses and the poor of the Victorian era. Unfortunately it is more biography than history and I found myself a bit bored. Rather than taking things directly relevant to Dickens and then widening them out into generalisations about life for that period, Richardson did the reverse. She took generalisations about shops and streets and then tried to apply them to the very specific Dickens related houses, shops and streets that she focused in on. This led to rather a lot of supposition, "perhaps in this instance it was like this" "perhaps Dickens when he was here was aware or did this".
It provides but a scant portrait of life in early 19th century London. It is definitely more of a biography of Dickens' early years than it is a history of the period. Unfortunately, because the information directly about Dickens is so scare the whole book comes across as just a little vague. Unlike the exhibition at the Museum of London this is definitely for fans of Dickens and not just for people interested in the period and things that he wrote about....Continua