London-based community workshops

Join us for a free community workshop on Dickens’s Shorthand Secrets!

Charles Dickens’s novels are world famous. But, more than 150 years after his death, several texts in his hand remain unread. This is because they are written in Dickens’s own version of shorthand, in which letters and words are replaced by symbols.

Researchers and members of the public – the ‘Dickens Decoders’ – are working together to decipher these texts for the very first time. What does the shorthand tell us about Dickens’s life and career and what mysteries remain to be discovered?

Come along to this in-person workshop at the Charles Dickens Museum, London, for adults over 60 if you are interested in Dickens, puzzles, word games, or code-breaking. We’re particularly keen to involve people who have had previous shorthand training (in any system), even if you haven’t used this skill for many years.

In the session you’ll find out more about the shorthand system that Dickens used and why it is so difficult to decode, before tackling a real Dickens shorthand manuscript. There will also be time to view a display on the topic and share your own experiences of shorthand.

Join us to:

  • Find out more about the shorthand system that Dickens used and why it is so difficult to decode.
  • Test your decoding skills by tackling a Dickens shorthand manuscript.
  • Share your own experiences of shorthand.
  • Understand more about Dickens’s life and work.

What’s involved?

  • No prior knowledge of Dickens or the Museum is needed.
  • You will be able to attend the workshops in person at the Museum in London.
  • You will be 60+.
  • You will be happy to share your thoughts on and experiences of shorthand.

The workshop will include an opportunity to visit the Museum after the workshop finishes at 3 pm.

Free refreshments including lunch will be provided.

Dates: Thursday 11 July or Friday 26 July 2024

Time: 11 am – 3 pm (including lunch)

Location: Charles Dickens Museum, 48-49 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LX, UK

For more information and to book your place contact: or call 020 7405 2127  and press option three for the learning team.