27.03.2015
13:39

Charles Dickens Museum

Address:

48 Doughty Street, WC1N 2LX

Phone:

020-7405 2127

Website:

www.dickensmuseum.com

Opening times:

Mon–Sun 10:00–17:00

How to get there:

Tube: Russell Square

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Limited disabled access, shop

The novelist Charles Dickens (1812–70), his wife Catherine and their infant son Charles, came to live at this late 18th-century house in March 1837, and stayed until the end of 1839. Here, two daughters, Mary and Kate, were added to the family, and Dickens established his fame as a writer with the publication of Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. The house, saved from demolition by the Dickens Fellowship in 1922, is a place of pilgrimage, and holds an enormous collection of Dickens memorabilia, including portraits of the novelist, his family and friends, personal relics, for example his snuff-box and cigar-cutter, autograph letters and manuscripts, and a comprehensive Dickens library. The clutter of a literary shrine does not entirely destroy the atmosphere of the family house it once was.

The Dining Room on the ground floor was where Dickens held the dinner parties in which he delighted. It contains a Spanish mahogany sideboard, which Dickens bought in 1839, and the grandfather clock which belonged to Moses Pickwick, a coach proprietor of Bath, whose name Dickens took for his famous character. Throughout the house are items of furniture from Gad’s Hill Place, Rochester, Dickens’ last home, including the Hall clock and, on the first floor, in the Study, the desk which he used at the end of his life. It was in this room that Pickwick Papers was completed and Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby written, and the table is the one at which he was writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood the day before he died. The museum also has Millais’ drawing of Dickens on his deathbed, Dickens’ china monkey (which accompanied him wherever he went), the Goldbeater’s Arm sign from 2 Manette Street, Soho, mentioned in A Tale of Two Cities, and the velvet-covered reading desk designed by Dickens and used by him for his public readings on his extensive tours of England and America.

The Drawing Room is decorated and arranged as it would have been in Dickens’ day, and on the second floor is the bedroom of his beloved sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, who died here on 7th May 1837, aged seventeen. The basement contains the still room, wash house and wine cellar and also the Library of Dickens’ work which also shows a video of Dickens’ life and career.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

FULL LISTING of CURRENT EXHIBITIONS in London from Apollo Magazine »

Emily Barber recommends five major London museums »

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