More than anyone else, Charles Dickens invented the British Christmas with A Christmas Carol, his story about Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. It was first published in 1843 and has been adapted for stage and screen many times. No surprise then that there are four museums in the United Kingdom dedicated to Charles Dickens (including one in London), more than any other British writer.
Entrance to Charles Dickens Museum in London. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.
One of the recent major films to feature works by Charles Dickens was The Man Who Invented Christmas, which opened in 2017 and stared Dan Stevens (from Downton Abbey) as Charles Dickens. An exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum London displayed the costumes from the film, which also stars Christopher Plummer (Ebenezer Scrooge), Donald Sumpter (Jacob Marley), Jonathan Pryce (Dickens’ father John), Ger Ryan (Elizabeth Dickens), and Simon Callow as illustrator John Leech.
The Charles Dickens Museum London at 48 Doughty Street has a new exhibition, To Be Read At Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts and the Supernatural. The exhibition will draw on the museum’s collections of original Dickens material to “examine Dickens’s interest in the paranormal, his ‘hankering after ghosts,’ and how he became a master ghost storyteller, publishing over 20 spooky tales.” It runs from 5th October 2022 until 5th March 2023.
Christmas Sketches: Ghost of an Idea: Unwrapping ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Photo Credit: © Charles Dickens Museum London.
Dining room table at Charles Dickens Museum in London. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.
London Blue Badge Tourist Guides are often asked to do literary and Dickens-themed tours highlighting places that inspired our most famous novelist. Dickens made his name with The Pickwick Papers and went on to write other novels such as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and Bleak House. His stories are often haunted by the debtor’s prison where his father was sent. The young Charles was sent to work at a factory in Charing Cross – an experience he hated – in order to help the family finances. After achieving fame and fortune, Charles Dickens died at the age of fifty-eight and was buried in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey.
There are four museums in the United Kingdom dedicated to Charles Dickens, more than any other British writer:
• The Charles Dickens Museum London at 48 Doughty Street is open Tuesday to Sunday;
• The Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth;
• The Dickens House Museum, Broadstairs, Betsy Trotwood’s house in David Copperfield;
• Gad’s Hill Place, Kent, Dickens’ home in later years, where he died in 1870. This is now a school but can be visited at weekends by prior arrangement.
Get in touch for a Blue Badge Tourist Guide led Charles Dickens London Tour.
Dickens’s Dream by Robert William Buss, portraying Dickens at his desk at Gads Hill Place, surrounded by many of his characters. Photo Credit: © Wikipedia Commons.
Charles Dickens desk at Charles Dickens Museum in London. Photo Credit: © Ursula Petula Barzey.
Charles Dickens Statue Portsmouth. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.