Charles Dickens Museum

Charles Dickens is the quintessential London Victorian author.  Much of how we imagine Victorian London to be is conjured up in the pages of his novels. Come with me and visit the house where he created those stories, the Charles Dickens Museum.

48 Doughty Street

Even the name Doughty Street somehow sounds  Dickensian. Step inside to hear the story of a man who was the son of a man thrown into debtors prison and ended up as the grandest literary lion in town.  48 Doughty Street is home the Dickens moved into with his new young wife, it is easy imagine the young Dickens family noisily occupying the house.

Charles Dickens Museum

Charles Dickens’ Desk

The thing that you want to see most of all in an authors house is where they did their writing.  You need to be able to envision them scribbling away furiously or staring into space seeking inspiration.  What the Dickens did they do before they had Twitter to procrastinate with?!  Feast your eyes on the desk where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby.

Charles Dickens desk and chair
If only my desk looked like this!

Elsewhere the house is furnished with period pieces but not those that the great man would have used.  No matter the spirit of his age is evoked brilliantly.  The dining room the table is set for a dinner party with each place setting having a picture of the guest, meanwhile hidden speakers provide a background babble of Victorian street noise.

Charles Dickens dinner table set with plates depicting fellow diners
Guess whose coming to dinner!

Shadows of Dickens invite us to climb the stairs to explore the house. Once upstairs the rooms are furnished as you would expect but that walls are adorned with quotes from Dickens.  Everywhere there are piles of books that invite you read them on the cover.

Dickens shadow invites visitors to discover the Charles Dickens Museum
This way please, Madam!

My image of Charles Dickens has always been of a rather portly man.  His court dress is on display at the Charles Dickens Museum and shows him to have actually cut rather a dashing figure.

Christmas at the Charles Dickens Museum

Charles Dickens pretty much invented Christmas as we know it. Christmas isn’t Christmas without at least one rendition of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.  Come Christmas the Charles Dickens House is decorated in high Victorian style.  Stepping across the threshold of 48 Doughty Street in December is to enter Christmas past.  Sprigs of holly and candles are everywhere you look.  The drawing room boasts a magnificent Christmas tree.  Presents containing toys for the Dickens children crowd around the base of the tree. Check the museum website for details of special Christmas events both online and in real life.

Christmas Dickens House

 Dickens Christmas by Candlelight

Covid means that in 2020 the Candlelit tours will be via Zoom.

For the full Dickensian Christmas experience you can visit in the evening when flickering candle light illuminates your way.   Even as I walked along the Bloomsbury Streets before getting to the candlelit house it felt as if I’d entered a time warp and that Mr Dickens might walk around the next corner.  

Technicolour Dickens: The Living Image of Charles Dickens until 25th April 2021

Charles Dickens didn’t just write good prose he was also very good at publicity. He embraced the new fangled technology of photography and as a result we know exactly what he looked like. This exhibition looks at the many ways he was depicted, from black and white drawings, full blown portraits right through to modern digital interpretations.

How to get to the Charles Dickens Museum and other essential information

The Charles Dickens Museum has a delightful cafe which can be visited even if you are not seeing the rest of the house, it is one of my favourite London Museum Cafe’s. Nearby you can find the Foundling Museum, London’s first childrens charity and public art gallery. If you enjoy visiting houses check out my post about London’s Historic Houses.

Suitcases and Sandcastles
Wander Mum
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19 Comments

  1. May 11, 2017 / 8:57 am

    That looks like a brilliant place to visit. Definitely one to take Freya to when she’s older. I love seeing where people write, maybe I should include that in Behind The Book? (I like his taste in front door colour too :))

    • Catherine
      Author
      May 11, 2017 / 9:06 am

      That would be a brilliant part of Behind the Book. Norfolk has such a vibrant literary past and present

  2. Clare Thomson
    May 12, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    I must go here, Catherine! I do love seeing writers’ desks – it’s always inspiring. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

  3. Wherejogoes
    May 12, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    So inspiring to be able to visit the house and see the actual desk. Who wouldn’t love a nose around Dickens house? #FarawayFiles

  4. May 13, 2017 / 11:00 am

    I had no idea this existed! Must pop in soon. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  5. May 14, 2017 / 10:05 am

    Enjoyed your tour of the Charles Dickens museum. Have meant to visit it, during previous visits to London, but it is still pending. Next time perhaps #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Well worth adding to your list!

  6. May 14, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    What a neat museum. Definitely looks worth a visit!

  7. May 18, 2017 / 8:59 am

    I think I’d love to see it at Christmas! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  8. October 10, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    How are visiting houses of other great men disappointments? This house definitely looks lovely, although I can’t imagine Charles Dickens eating off of a plate with his image on it haha #CityTripping

    • Catherine
      Author
      October 10, 2017 / 2:11 pm

      Sometimes they are just shells with no feeling of the famous former resident

  9. October 10, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    Ooh, I remember going there almost 10 years ago! I love that they’ve upkept it so well, although I suppose a decade is nothing in the scheme of the building’s life! #CityTripping

    • Catherine
      Author
      October 10, 2017 / 9:48 pm

      It is beautifully kept and the cafe is especially fine!

  10. October 12, 2017 / 9:39 am

    I’ve been here once, a few years ago, with work. It was part of the celebrations around Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday . Prince Charles and Camillia were visiting! It was a bit surreal but I really must go back and have a proper nose! Thanks for linking #citytripping

  11. October 12, 2017 / 2:54 pm

    Will put it on my “to do” list for our next visit to London! #citytripping

  12. October 12, 2017 / 4:52 pm

    i just love this! Definitely going to check it out! #citytripping

    • Catherine
      Author
      October 12, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      Lots of good bookshops nearby too

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