BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was perhaps the most popular author during his lifetime, and certainly remains so today.  Websites devoted to his work include Brown University (click here), and the Dickens Project (click here).  

Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England where his father was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office.  Two years thereafter, Dickens' father was transferred to London to the Somerset House.  Over the ensuing years his father moved the family several times including to a house in Bayham Street, northeast of Regent's Park (see below).  His father experienced many financial problems, and eventually in 1824 was imprisoned for four months in the Marshalsea debtor's prison in Southwark (see location below).   Charles, who was 12 at the time, discontinued his education and went to work in Warren's Shoeblacking Factory at Hungerford Market (see below).  When his father was released from prison, he had Charles leave the factory and continue his schooling, at least until 1827. After completing his formal education at age 15, Dickens became a solicitor's office clerk in 1827, followed by a shorthand reporter in the law courts (see portrait below), and later a newspaper reporter with the Morning Chronicle from 1834 to 36.  During these years he lived in Furnival's Inn by Holborn. 

Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836.  Her father, George Hogarth, was the music critic for the Morning Chronicle. In April 1837, Dickens and his family (now grown to son Charles [the first of his 10 children], Dickens's brother Fred, and wife's sister Mary) moved into a house on Doughty Street (see below) where he remained until 1839.  He then moved to a larger home in Devonshire Terrace (see below) where he stayed until 1851, before relocating again to Tavistock House by Tavistock Square.  Charles Dickens separated from Catherine in 1858 and they remained estranged until his death. In 1860 his family took up residence in a country house near Chatham.  Dickens died following a stroke on June 9,1870.  

Sources:

Rennison N. The London Blue Plaque Guide, 1999. 

Sumeray D. Discovering London Plaques, 1999.

Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.

Site of Marshalsea Prison until 1824

Click here to see the location in a 1799 map

The Dickens family lived at 141 Bayham Street in 1823 when Charles was 11 years old.  The street is shown in the lower left corner of cell D 13 in Reynolds's 1859 map. 

LOCATION OF BAYHAM STREET HOUSE IN 1859 REYNOLDS MAP

(Quarter Mile Section - D 13)

The shoe-blacking factory where Charles Dickens worked for a short while was located by Hungerford Market, shown in cell M 16 of the 1859 map at the base of Hungerford Bridge.  The bridge was not yet built when Dickens worked at the factory. 

LOCATION OF WARREN'S SHOEBLACKING FACTORY IN 1859 REYNOLDS MAP

(Quarter Mile Section - M 16)

 

Blacking Factory at Hungerford Stairs

Click here to see earlier image

Dickens and his family resided at 48 Doughty Street seen in the 1859 map at the top center of cell I 17, just above "en" in Henry Street (where Doughty Street at the north meets Johns Street at the south).

LOCATION OF DOUGHTY STREET HOUSE IN 1859 REYNOLDS MAP

(Quarter Mile Section - I 17)

 

Dickens Portrait at Age 18 in 1830

Click here to see an early portrait

House at Doughty Street in 1837-9

Click here to see earlier image

Devonshire Terrace is just east of Queens Gardens as observed in the 1859 map. Dickens and his family lived at 1 Devonshire Terrace.

LOCATION OF DEVONSHIRE TERRACE HOUSE IN 1859 REYNOLDS MAP

(Quarter Mile Section - K 6)

 

Dickens Portrait at Age 27 in 1839

Click here to see an early portrait

House at Devonshire Terrace in 1839-51

Click here to see earlier image

Dickens Photograph at Age 31 in 1843

Click here to see an early portrait

The following sites mention Charles Dickens:

Bethlehem Hospital

Cadogan Place

Campden House

Cruikshank, George

Devonshire House

Foundling Hospital

Hanover Terrace

Horsemonger Lane Gaol

Hospital for Sick Children

Middle Temple

Newgate Prison

Tavistock Square