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Charles Dickens Museum

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published December 21st 2012
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby
Charles Dickens Museum
Charles Dickens Museum (Image Courtesy of the Website)

The Great Expectations refurbishment costing more than £3m is now finished and the Charles Dickens Museum reopened its doors at 48 Doughty Street a little over a week ago. The expansion next door into 49 Doughty Street gives greater access to Dickens's only surviving London house, a property he occupied between 1837 and 1839. It was here that his wife, Catherine, gave birth to two daughters, Mary and Kate, where he was devastated by the death of his sister-in-law Mary Hogarth, and where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.

Dickens House Blue Plaque
Dickens House Blue Plaque

The renovations mean that the inside of the house has been arranged to appear as it is believed to have done in the 1830s when it was occupied by the Dickens family. As well as visiting the individual rooms (including the basement cooking and food preparation area) there are opportunities to attend programmes of events such as storytelling, readings, walking tours and magic shows. Educational resources and workshops are available, including the Museum's collection of more than 100,000 pieces of memorabilia.

The Dining Room
The Dining Room Where Dickens often Entertained as Many as 14 People

Writing Desk and Chair
Charles Dickens's Writing Desk and Chair

Of course we always associate Dickens with Christmas, and this theme is carried through by the Museum, which currently displays both a Christmas tree and bannisters festooned with swags of evergreen. It will remain open throughout the festive period (the only museum in London to do so on 25 December) and will also be home to Tim Carroll's puppet production of A Christmas Carol.

Dickens Guides you around the House
Silhouettes of Dickens at the Foot of each Staircase

You can round off your visit with refreshments in the café, which is accessible without entrance to the museum; I highly recommend the carrot cake.

48 Doughty Street
The Front Door of 48 Doughty Street
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Why? To travel back to the 1830s and remind yourself of the work of Charles Dickens
When: Daily between 10am and 5pm
Where: 48 Doughty Street
Cost: £8 for adults, less for children, and concessions are available
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