Past challenges

‘Travelling’ part I

Thank you for bearing with us regarding the transcript for ‘Anecdote’ parts I and II. In this case, one mystery has led to several others, and as ever we’re extremely grateful for the efforts of the Dickens Decoders in transcribing the text and identifying possible source texts! We’ll be blogging about these discoveries and releasing a transcript in the next fortnight.

In the meantime, our #SolveItDickens challenge for August 2022 is the first part of ‘Travelling’: a shorthand dictation exercise from the notebooks of Dickens’s shorthand pupil, Arthur Stone, at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Figure 1: The first page of a shorthand exercise titled ‘Travelling’.
Image © The Free Library of Philadelphia [ref: cdc5890009]

Use our ‘Resources’ to help you decipher the text and look out for context clues (e.g. the number written in line 5). Remember that it is unlikely that you will be able to solve the whole text, but even one new symbol can be useful. Anyone who successfully describes a new symbol with be credited as its discoverer on our Roll of Honour.

Please complete the entry form and email us ( and your solutions by 2 September 2022. We will publish the results on 16 September 2022.

Entry forms

The entry form is available in .docx and .pdf formats for your convenience. Please let us know if you require an alternative format.