Welcome to our free-to-use Q&A hub, where students post questions and get help from other students and tutors.

Follow the trail of responses and if you have anything to add please sign up or sign in.

You can ask your own question or look at similar English Literature questions.

Why don't you try reading a little Charles Dickens? Dickens is famous for his descriptions of London.

You could even search YouTube for inspiration, for example, check out this trailer for Dickens' Great Expectations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9RUEgT9zcc

If you make notes as you watch it might help you to get inspired. Remember to think about the senses: taste, sound, sight, touch and smell.

Hope you've found this useful: if you feel you need more support why not book a lesson with me, I'd be happy to help.


First you need to get an idea of what it is you're describing - sounds obvious but it's a step most avoid!  So, if you step out of the Tardis door in London of 1870 what  hits you (hopefully not a Hackney carriage!) I'd be inclined to think about the smog, the smell, the noise. And also inclined to mention what isn't there - obviously less traffic, but also less people with a lower population. Try seeing yourself stood in the doorway and speaking out loud what you see/ hear/smell.



Creative writing is a passion of mine. Jennifer has some good points, researching and understanding the era is key. Victorian London is often portrayed as a dank and miserable place with the rich thriving and the poor being exploited.

When writing anything descriptive be sure that you are creating an image in the readers head. Mention, smells, noises, feelings. Add historical facts in to your description, for example, a large Irish population settled in London during the Victorian period so you could mention hearing foreign accents.

Or you could turn the negatives in to a positive, if it is not just a generalised paragraph that you have to write. You could focus on an event such as The Great Exhibition of 1851, that attracted visitors from far and wide, filling the city with excitement.

Hope that helps!


Do some research first. If I had this assignment I'd first hop onto YouTube and watch some clips from documentaries, period dramas, etc, that include reconstructions from the place and time. I'd recommend (although it's a bit early in the year) you find a video of the Christmas Carol (Charles Dickins) as he wrote passionately about the terrible living and working conditions of the poor in London ("are the prisons and the workhouses still in operation... I pay my taxes... And the poor should go there... And if they'd rather die they'd better do it and decrease the surplus population... " as a very broad paraphrase!!! ThThe book is free on Kindle if you're interested). Anyway, start with something like a video that's visual and engaging, and while you're watching make notes on what you see, what's different to modern day, how the people look and what they might be feeling. That's how I'd start, I'm not an English literature teacher so I don't know what they would suggest! 

Footer Graphic