As a lover of Charles Dickens this little museum is a gem. Tucked away on a quiet street at 48 Doherty Street Holborn, London, the museum is the former home of Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine. He moved to this Georgian town house in 1937, where he raised his family and where he wrote three of his most celebrated works, Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist. The Dickens Fellowship purchased numbers 48 and 49 Doherty Street in 1922 and the house has remained a museum since 1925. The museum may be small but it is home to 100,000 items for visitors to explore.
The main entrance is located at 49 Doherty Street and as you enter a small walkway the admissions and gift shop are located on the left-hand side. Once you have purchased your ticket, you will be directed into the main hallway on the second floor of Dickens former home. The main hallway has a watercolour painting, painted in 1840, titled Little Nell’s Home, The Old Curiosity Shop, depicting Nell and her Grandfather in the shop from the well-known story. Also located in the main hallway is Charles Dickens cane, leather wallet and his ivory theatre pass to Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. This floor also has two further rooms for you to explore. Downstairs there is a kitchen, laundry room and outdoor cellar.
The third floor was perhaps the most exciting for me personally as you get to step a little further into the world of Charles Dicken. The floor is home to Dicken’s study which exhibits Dicken’s desk and chair at which he wrote his famous novels and created many of his wonderful characters that are still so popular today. In the study there is also the famous Dickens's Dream, an oil painting by Victorian artist Robert William Buss (1804-1875).
The fourth floor includes 2 bedrooms and a suit believed to have belonged to Dickens. The floor also has a wall timeline of Dickens life and a small reading room where you can browse through his classic novels.
On the fifth floor, there is a small window that was originally from Dickens Childhood home in Camden Town, London.
You descend the stairs back down to the gift shop where you can buy many of Dickens novels and many Dickens themed and related items and gifts.
The museum often runs workshops, events and tours or both the museum and of London, giving you a chance to explore the London Dicken’s would have been familiar with. There is also a small café and courtyard located within the museum.
The are many other fascinating objects within the house making the museum a must for fans of Charles Dickens but it is also a great museum for those interested in London in the 19th century.
The museum is easily accessible by London Underground, with around a 15-minute walk from Holborn Station (Central Line) and a 10-minute walk from Russell Square Station (Piccadilly Line). The museum is also located on several bus routes from central London. Once there the museum is entrance is located at 49 Doherty Street, where the gift shop, café and ticket desk are located. The museum has 5 floors of exhibits and collections and 4 floors had lift access for those that need it. Printed museum guides, which are available at the ticket desk or by asking a member of staff, give a floor plan of the building as well as information about the collections. Audio guides are also available and a cloakroom available for small items and pushchairs.
Admission Prices: Adult: £9.50
Children aged 6-16yrs: £4.50
Children under 6yrs: Free
Address: 48-49 Doherty Street
London, WC1N 2LX
Telephone: 020 7405 2127
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I am from Somerset, England and I am currently completing a MA in Military History at Birmingham University. I have written for History Today magazine in the UK and I am hoping to work on more writing projects. I love to travel and hope to do it more and see museums around the world, I also have an interest in literature and silent films. Follow on twitter at @maria_ogborn