Fits and Starts of Restlessness (5’27”, 2012)
with Gary Thomas, in collaboration with Dr Heather Shore

Commissioned by Film London’s Dickens 2012 Short Production Scheme. First screened on Tuesday 7 February 2012 at BFI Southbank, at the Dickens 2ooth Birthday Event – part of the Dickens on Screen season.

The film’s title is taken from Dickens’ essay Night Walks, and his description of London has having “expiring fits and starts of restlessness”. The film takes its own night ‘walk’ and traces the path of the lost Fleet River, through the night time streets of Saffron Hill – once the site of a notorious rookery – and where Dickens located Fagin’s den in Oliver Twist.

The film was made in collaboration with Dr Heather Shore, drawing on the research for her book Artful Dodgers: Youth and Crime in Early Nineteenth Century London.




Extracts from notebook interviews with juvenile offenders undertaken on board the Euryalus prison hulk, Chatham. Held at The National Archives, Kew. Document reference HO73/16, c. 1835-1837.

Reduced Plan of the Holborn and Finsbury Division of Sewers, 1827. Held at the London Metropolitan Archives. Document reference HFCS/PR/6.

‘Entering London’ from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, 1838
Read by Ron Moody

Jennifer Lewin
Frank Prosper
Ruby Wild
Mark Williams

Tracy Bass

Martin (Teddy) Testar

Sound recording and Design
Brendan Crehan

Colm O’Rourke at Sonic Films

Camera Assistants
Kit Cook, Andrew Duffus, Sam Riley

Esther Baker, Synergy Theatre Workshop
Cathy Weatherald, Cardboard Citizens
Shira Macleod, Riverside Studios Cinema
Mick Bagnall, City of London Corporation Film Office
Paula Nessick
Michael Eaton

For Film London

Head of Production & Talent Development
Maggie Ellis

Talent Development Manager
Kevin Dolan

Talent Development Coordinator
Josic Cadoret

Made with the support of
Film London, BFI, The National Lottery and Skillset

A film by Tim Shore and Gary Thomas
In collaboration with Dr Heather Shore

© Tim Shore and Gary Thomas 2012


Fits and starts of restlessness is a proposal made to Film London’s Dickens 2012 Short Film Scheme.

The project is a collaboration between Tim Shore and Gary Thomas, and historian Dr Heather Shore, author of Artful Dodgers: Youth and Crime in Early Nineteenth-Century London (London, Boydell Press, 1999).

The title is taken from Dickens’ essay Nightwalks: “it was always the case that London, as if in imitation of individual citizens belonging to it, had expiring fits and starts of restlessness.”

Oliver Twist

This short extract from Oliver Twist, describes the artful Dodger, John Dawkins, leading Oliver to Fagin’s den in Field Lane, off Saffron Hill.

’As John Dawkins objected to their entering London before nightfall, it was nearly eleven o’clock when they reached the turnpike at Islington. They crossed from the Angel into St. John’s-road, struck down the small street which terminates at Sadler’s Wells theatre, through Exmouth-street and Coppice-row, down the little court by the side of the workhouse, across the classic ground which once bore the name of Hockley-in-the-hole, thence into Little Saffron-hill, and so into Saffron-hill the Great, along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace, directing Oliver to follow close at his heels.’

We decided to retrace the route and record our journey. Some place names survive while others have disappeared.

Field Research

Walking from Angel to Saffron Hill, Monday 29 August 2011

D12 001 Angel looking towards St John Street
D12 002 Angel looking down City Road
D12 003 Angel looking up City Road
D12 004 St John Street
D12 005 St John Street looking back up to Angel
D12 006 St John Street looking across to Chadwell Street
D12 007 Chadwell Street
D12 008 Chadwell Street
D12 009 Chadwell Street
D12 010 Chadwell Street
D12 011 Chadwell Street looking towards Arlington Way
D12 012 Arlington Way
D12 013 Arlington Way
D12 014 Arlington Way looking across to ‘The Shakespears Head’ Public House
D12 015 An alley off Arlington Way to the left of ‘The Shakespears Head’ Public House
D12 016 Arlington Way looking towards Rosebery Avenue with the Sadlers Wells Theatre to the left
D12 017 Rosebery Avenue
D12 018 Rosebery Avenue, New River Head to right (former Thames Water Headquarters)
D12 019 Rosebery Avenue
D12 020 Rosebery Avenue, in front of New River Head (front elevation)
D12 021 Looking down Rosebery Avenue
D12 022 Rosebery Avenue looking left towards Garnault Place
D12 023 Rosebery Avenue
D12 024 Garnault Place
D12 025 Garnault Place looking across to Exmouth Market
D12 026 Exmouth Market
D12 027 Exmouth Market, turning into Vineyard Mews
D12 028 Turning left into Vineyard Mews
D12 029 Turning right into Vineyard Walk
D12 030 Vineyard Walk looking towards Farringdon Road
D12 031 Vineyard Walk looking across Farringdon Road to Topham Street
D12 032 Looking up Farrindgon Road
D12 033 Looking down Farringdon Road
D12 034 Farringdon Road looking across to Baker’s Row
D12 035 Farringdon Road, Baker’s Row and ‘The Eagle’ Public House to the right
D12 036 Baker’s Row
D12 037 Baker’s Row
D12 038 Baker’s Row
D12 039 Junction of Baker’s Row and Warner Street
D12 040 Warner Street looking towards
D12 041 Warner Street looking towards junction with Back Hill (right) and Ray Street (left)
D12 042 Ray Street and Herbal Hill to right
D12 043 Herbal Hill
D12 044 Herbal Hill
D12 045 Looking up Herbal Hill
D12 046 Looking up Herbal Hill towards Clerkenwell Road
D12 047 Looking back down Herbal Hill towards Ray Street
D12 048 Herbal Hill, looking across Clerkenwell Road to Saffron Hill
D12 049 Clerkenwell Road looking right to Saffron Hill
D12 050 Junction of Clerkenwell Road with Saffron Hill
D12 051 Looking up Saffron Hill
D12 052 Saffron Hill
D12 053 Junction of Saffron Hill with Hatton Wall looking right to ‘The Hat and Tun’ Public House
D12 054 Saffron Hill looking towards junction with St Cross Street
D12 055 Junction of Saffron Hill with St Cross Street
D12 056 Looking across St Cross Street towards Saffron Hill
D12 057 (detour) Junction of Hatton Garden with St Cross Street
D12 058 (detour) Hatton Garden
D12 059 Saffron Hill
D12 060 Saffron Hill looking towards Greville Street
D12 061 Junction of Saffron Hill and Greville Street
D12 062 (detour) ‘The Bleeding Hart’ Public House, Greville Street
D12 063 Looking down Saffron Hill
D12 064 Looking down Saffron Hill
D12 065 Looking down Saffron Hill
D12 066 Looking down Saffron Hill