Bleak House starts with a one-word sentence: “London”. Charles Dickens probably considered starting “Hard Times” with a similar one-word sentence: “Manchester”, except that he hedged his bets by calling his mythical Northern city “Coketown”.
Nevertheless the great novelist spent much time in Manchester, appearing at The Athenaeum and Free Trade Hall, and hanging loose with Harrison Ainsworth. To mark his 200th birthday we remember the best of times, the worst of times.
* The walk is being promoted by the Manchester Literature Festival and includes a visit to the Portico Library.