Charles Dickens and the Pea-Souper Project

We have added over 100 beautiful colour illustrations relating to Charles Dickens and the Pea-Souper. Create fun video animations that tell the story of how fossil fuels contributed to the dense fog that covered London during the 19th century.

To get you started, here is an example script and video.

Script:

Good day to you! My name is the Pea-Souper. Some people call me London Ivy or London Particular but Pea-Souper is the name that’s stuck. 

Apparently it’s because I look like pea soup— a tad rude if you ask me! I was created from fumes of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas mixing with the city fog. I’ve been ruining the planet for years and been made out to be a villain but it’s not my fault!

I am humanity’s creation, born from a complete disregard for the environment. Through coal burning and waste dumping, pollution has ruined our planet and it’s only getting worse. Let’s step back in time, all the way to the Victorian era, to see how it all began…

During the peak of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, England’s production lines skyrocketed thanks to the advance in machines and chemicals. It was also a time when the smoke billowing out from factories and houses ruled the skies. 

In order to have light, heat, food, and hot water, people needed fires in their homes. To light these fires, people mostly used coal as it was cheap but it caused a lot of mess and not to mention, smoke. But what was a home without a fire? After all, the fireplace provided warmth, comfort and a place for the family to gather.

All this pollution caused fogs so big that, to Londoners, the world seemed as if a dark filter had been placed over it. Not only did smog blacken the city but it caused accidents and an increase in crime and disease. People found it more difficult to breathe and the bad air made people weaker and sicker. *Coughs* Excuse me!

The Victorian writer Charles Dickens captured just how filthy England was in his books, writing about polluted rivers and thick smog plaguing the cities. He spoke out about social issues like poverty and pollution and even published an article on the dangers of burning coal. 

In his novels, filthy London was at the forefront and fog became a frightening thing. In Hard Times, Dickens described the smoke coming out of the chimneys like a ‘serpent’ above the city that never ‘uncoiled’. Even the rivers were dirtied by the factories, running ‘purple with ill-smelling dye!’ And to think, the vile Victorians drank from these! 

Pollution was causing havoc during Dickens’s lifetime but today, we face far greater dangers than just pea-coloured fog. Weather conditions are growing more extreme, the planet’s temperature is warming and the sea level is rising. Life on earth is on the brink of extinction.  

But there are changes you could make to help save our planet. Release your inner Dickens and write to your MP to make sure they’re actively championing a cleaner and greener future. Or perhaps you could take action. Reduce your meat intake, turn off lights and electrics when they’re not in use, take public transport when you can, and help create homes for insects and wildlife so they can thrive! 

Dear me, I’ve got myself all worked up and now my tummy’s rumbling! Pea soup, anyone?

And here’s a video that was created in conjunction with the the Dickens Museum in London to give you some inspiration.