I grew up on the books of Charles Dickens. I cried when Dora Spenlow died, and was shocked by Miss Havisham in her crumbling wedding dress and her ward Estella. Dickens created such memorable characters and his plots have always kept me on the edge of my seat or glued to the fireside.
I guess that it’s strange that I hadn’t been to the Charles Dickens Museum before, but having finished the last of his books (reviews here, here, and here) that I hadn’t read and also just finished a great biography of him (the review will be out soon), I figured it was finally time.
48 Doughty Street is one of the places that Dickens lived in, rather early on in his career. It is the place where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, as well as the house in which is sister in law Mary suddenly died at age 17, an event that shocked Charles and turned him almost hysterical with grief.
Being in a place where the man lived and worked was a strange and moving experience. It’s a beautiful house, filled with portraits of the man, his family, his books, his furnishings, and the desk that he worked at to write his beautiful books. The small details, such as locks of the authors hair, his shaving kit, are all there. I left feeling a little sad. The man whose books were one of the huge influences on my life, especially growing up, was gone. His life contained a lot of sadness, even though his books were often filled with humour, romance and social commentary. The museum have currently piped in sounds to emulate his wife’s presence, Catherine, a woman who he left (a highly controversial thing at the time) and came to almost despise.
So much life lived, and such a beautiful place. If you’d like to check it out, entry is £9, the nearest tube station is Russel Square or Holborn stations. For more details, check out the link HERE.