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Sweeny Todd of Fleet Street

Hen and Chicken Court is a narrow, confined dead-end alleyway that leads off Fleet Street; one of several such passages and corridors that have grown up over the centuries around this area of London known for its printing and publishing industries. Now I'm no detective, but I am guessing that originally it was a place that sold.... poultry. However it went on to become notorious as the premises of Sweeny Todd's barber shop. The story of Sweeny Todd was one of the most popular and enduring Victorian melodramas that has gone on to achieve the status of urban legend. The story goes that Sweeny Todd slit the throats of his clients as they relaxed in the barber chair, dropping their corpses throu

Dickens at Marshalsea Prison

Tucked away along the length of a narrow alleyway near St George the Martyr church by Borough tube station is a wall with a gruesome and fascinating past. It is all that remains of the Marshalsea, one of the most notorious debtors prisons that existed in Borough in various forms for over 500 years. It was made famous by Charles Dickens who described the atrocious conditions with forensic accuracy in his novel Little Dorrit, but also featured in other novels, The Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. He knew of it because his father John, notorious for living above his means, found himself incarcerated there for a few months in 1824 when he couldn't pay his baker's bill of £3500 (in today's

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