Reviewed by Cate Norris
The former home of one of the most interesting and superb authors of the Victorian era, has been frozen in time, and invites members of the public to explore exactly how the home would have looked almost 200 years ago, and even contains some of the families original possessions. Just a 15-minute walk from King’s Cross St Pancras underground station, and situated in Bloomsbury (western central London), the first glimpse of 48 Doughty Street – a typical, regency, London terrace, with five storeys and black gates, raised suspicions as to what this author, who brought us tales of poverty and homelessness, could have possibly known about such things.
Through touring the home and gaining deeper insight into the family that once lived there, it was apparent that Dickens had experienced first-hand the effects of debt and poverty and despite his own comforts, was acutely aware that poverty existed in his community, a fact that did not appear to sit well. Discovering that Dickens and his wife Catherine resided in this home for £80 per year, from 1837 to 1839 with the first three of their ten children (two having been born there) was fascinating but did leave me wanting to know more, such as what led to the couples’ separation and what became of their children? A particularly enjoyable aspect of the home was Dickens’ study which featured the actual desk, in the actual room, where Dickens wrote the actual books The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby!!!
I would recommend the Charles Dickens museum, particularly for those that are interested in literature, history and the Victorian era. Wondering around the home and observing how times have changed in some ways and how they are the same in others is always fascinating. Those that like Charles Dickens would definitely enjoy it and may be surprised to discover new facts about him and develop greater understanding of him and his stories.
If you are thinking about visiting, to get the most out of your visit an audio guide is available for £3, otherwise a pamphlet is provided which provides information about each room and guides are situated in most rooms and are happy to answer any questions. There is a well-stocked shop containing books, stationary, gifts and post cards and there is a café on site too. The museum claims to be fully accessible with lift access and special rates for companions, however passageways are narrow, so much so that backpacks are not allowed to be worn on backs due to tight spaces, so this may be problematic for wheelchair users. Other than that, I would recommend checking the website for events, exhibitions and special offers, it is worth planning your route as there are several tube stations nearby and look into what else can be done in the area as the tour takes about one hour.
Tickets cost: Child £4 / Adult £9
For more information or to book tickets online visit dickensmuseum.com.
Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LX