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The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop (58)

The most romantic, those who have a bookish streak, the fanatics of Victorian literature and those who are particularly prone to appreciate places packed with history have an appointment in the centre of London with the Old Curiosity Shop. 

This peculiar shop is in Portsmouth Street and is one of those places with a special charm. There is controversy about whether or not this is the shop that the writer Charles Dickens based his novel of the same name on. In fact, it is not clear whether the premises, which is currently a shoe shop, actually had this name when Dickens published his story in weekly instalments for the magazine Master Humphrey’s Clock or if it was thus named later on as a consequence of the book’s success.

What is clear is that this 16th-century building is one of the only structures in the area to have miraculously survived the Great Fire of 1666 and the heavy bombing of the Blitz, which probably makes the The Old Curiosity Shop the oldest shop in the centre of London.

In any case, whether or not this shop was the place that inspired the fictional home of little Nell and her grandfather, it is well worth visiting it to be able to see its curious roof, its wooden structure and even to buy a good pair of shoes. 

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