The Story

A Blow for the Poor

Dickens wrote The Chimes in the ‘hungry forties’ when Chartism was at its height. There were riots, rick-burnings, and there was rampant prostitution in London and the potato famine in Ireland. Dickens focused on these issues and the pressing necessity for a middle-class change of heart and the development of a social consciousness to address the so-called ‘Condition of England’. He wanted to use his second Christmas Book to strike a blow for the poor. He felt a feistier and sterner story was needed; a Christmas war song rather than a Christmas Carol.

A London Messenger

The Chimes tells the story of Toby Veck, a London messenger who,  brow-beaten by all the rich, pompous do-gooders he meets, comes to believe that he and poor people like him have no right to exist in the world. Even the bells of his local church seem to have lost their ‘fancy’ and music to him. Reading yet another newspaper story of a poor mother driven to kill herself and her infant child, he exclaims that his kind really are intruding upon the world and ‘born bad’.

Trust and Hope

Hearing him, the goblins and spirits of the chimes undertake to show the depths of despair to which his own family might sink in a world without faith; they teach him that we must trust and hope and never doubt the good in one another. He learns his lesson just in time for the chimes to ring in the New Near and return his family and friends to him.

Our production of The Chimes will be performed in two locations. Please see below for more information and tickets.

Our Cardiff Performances

St. Johns Church, Canton
7th – 16th December 2017
For tickets call 44(0)29 2030 4400 or go to

Our London Performances

St. John’s, Waterloo, London (Opposite Exit 4, Waterloo Station)
19th – 30th December (no performances 24, 25, 26 Dec)
For tickets got to our ticketsource page to purchase online