Spring is here, and with it birdsong, blossom and even the occasional balmy day. The clocks have sprung forward, the days are getting longer, and we can look forward to all the joys and ease that the warmer weather promises (as well as some enticing Summer Schools; see below). But as we enjoy the turn of the season, we should spare a thought for poor Toby Veck of Charles Dickens’s The Chimes, who is shivering in the winter rain of mid-nineteenth century London. To see how Dickens brings Toby’s troubles into vivid life, and by doing this comments on the situation of the urban poor of his time, follow this link.