After three years when the annual DF conference has been held on-line, the 2023 conference will be held in London over the period Wednesday 26th July to Saturday 29th July. The principal venue will be the Old Hall, Barnard’s Inn, now part of Gresham College, off High Holborn in London. Barnard’s was, of course, the building where Pip lodged with Herbert Pocket when he first came to London. He described how he ‘found Barnard to be a disembodied spirit, or a fiction, and his inn the dingiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed together in a rank corner as a club for Tom-cats.’ Given the location in one of the ancient Inns of Court, the theme of the conference will be Dickens, Law, and Disorder’. 

The conference banquet will be held at the Garrick Club. Click here for the programme and booking form.

Provisional timetable for talks:


Barnard’s Inn

09.30 – Welcome and admin

0945 – 10.15 1st lecture – Professor Cathy Waters: “A Special Correspondent for Posterity”: Dickens, Journalism, and Public Executions

10.15 – 10.45 2nd lecture –Dr Tony Williams: ”This ain’t the Shop for Justice”: Crime and Policing in Dickens’s London

10.45 – 11.00 Questions

11.00 – 11.30 Tea/coffee

11.30 – 12.00 3rd lecture – Donald Rumbelow: Spy. Agent Provocateur. A Dickens Detective?

12.00 - 12.30 4th lecture – Michael Eaton: On Duty With the Conductor – Dickens Watches the Detectives

12.30 – 12.45 Questions

12.45 – 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 – 14.30 5th lecture –Dr Franziska Quabeck: Gentlemen of the Law

14.30 – 15.00 6th lecture - Lucinda Hawksley: ‘He Must Have Law and Lawyers’ – Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, From a Family Perspective

15.00 – 15.30 7th lecture – Melissa Rampelli: The Woman Detective in Bleak House

15.30 – 15.45 Questions

15.45 – 16.15 Tea/coffee

16.15 – 17.00 Entertainment – The Dickens Declaimers present Bardell versus Pickwick

17.30 onwards – conviviality at the Citte of Yorke public House, 22 High Holborn. A private room has been reserved for delegates from 17.30.


Barnard’s Inn

09.30 – 10.00 8th lecture - Angela Buckley: ‘The Most Celebrated and Horrible of the Great Crimes’: Dickens and the Mannings Murder

10.00 – 10.30 9th lecture – Dr Emily Bell: Thoughts on the Punishment of Death: Dickens and Basil Montagu

10.30 – 10.45 Questions

10.45 – 11.15 Tea/coffee

11.15 – 11.45 10th lecture - Dr Christine Corton: Divorce and the Dickenses

11.45 – 12.15 11th lecture – Deborah Siddoway: The Skeleton in the Cupboard: Our Mutual Friend and Dickens’s Disillusionment with Divorce Law Reform

12.15 – 12.30 Questions

12.30 – 13.45 LUNCH

13.45 – 14.15 12th lecture – Professor Jerry White: The Marshalsea

14.15 – 14.45 13th lecture - Dr Jeremy Parrott: Dickens and censorship

14.45 – 15.45 14th lecture – Professor Malcolm Andrews: Dickens, Disorder, and the Imagination

15.45 – 16.00 Questions

16.00 Tea/coffee



Optional trip to Rochester and Gad’s Hill. Meet at Embankment underground station (Circle, District, Northern and Bakerloo lines) at 09.30.



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