During the walk participants from Hertfordshire and beyond were introduced to stories of dispossession hidden in Hitchin’s lost slums, ‘a squalid quarrelsome underworld of little yards’. On the journey, which started in Stevenage and finished in Hitchin, they encountered the Hertfordshire Hermit, James Lucas, who Dickens once described as a ‘reversal of the laws of human nature’ and who offered his charity (in the form of gin and cash) to poor travellers.

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