Charles Dickens, aside from being one of the giants of English literature, was a tireless advocate for the poor and used many of his books to highlight the social problems he saw about him (many of which he had first hand experience of while growing up. The museum is housed in Dickens' only surviving London home, from 25 March 1837 (a year after his marriage) to December 1839. Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine lived here with the eldest three of their ten children, with the older two of Dickens' daughters, Mary Dickens and Kate Macready Dickens being born in the house. A new addition to the household was Dickens' younger brother Frederick. Also, Catherine's 17-year-old sister Mary moved with them from Furnival's Inn to offer support to her newly married sister and brother-in-law. It was not unusual for a woman's unwed sister to live with and help a newly married couple . Dickens became very attached to Mary, and she died in his arms after a brief illness in 1837. She inspired characters in many of his books, and her death is fictionalized as the death of Little Nell. Dickens had a three-year lease (at £80 a year, quite a lot of money in those days) on the property. He would remain here until 1839 after which he moved on to grander homes as his wealth increased and his family grew. The two years that Dickens lived in the house were extremely productive, for here he completed The Pickwick Papers (serialization begun in 1836), wrote the whole of Oliver Twist (1838) and Nicholas Nickleby (1838–39) and worked on Barnaby Rudge ( published 1840–41).
The building is a beautiful Georgian house. Spread over four floors (plus an attic), the Charles Dickens Museum holds the world's most important collection of paintings, rare editions, manuscripts, original furniture and other items relating to the life and work of Dickens. Perhaps the best-known exhibit is the portrait of Dickens known as Dickens' Dream by R. W. Buss, an original illustrator of The Pickwick Papers. This unfinished portrait shows Dickens in his study at Gads Hill Place surrounded by many of the characters he had created. It is a delight to step back in time and walk the halls in the footsteps of Charles Dickens. See where he wrote, where he dined and where he and his wife Catherine entertained their many guests. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of his family home. The rare books, paintings, photographs and personal objects on display here give a unique insight into his life and work. ‘My house in town’, as Dickens referred to 48 Doughty Street, was an important place in the writer’s life. This is a Grade I listed building but the everything has been done to guarantee accessibilty. Carers are admitted free of charge, an Induction Loop is available, Large Print Visitor Plan and Guides are available on request in the shop and VI Audio Guides are available from the Shop. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are permitted in all areas of the Museum. Accessible toilets are located on the first floor, next to the lift. For wheelchair users there is Step Free entrance and egress to the Museum. There is one step into the café, but a wheelchair ramp is available. The Museum covers five floors, four of which can be accessed by our lift. Visitors should ask a staff member if they wish to use the lift. There is no lift access to the attic rooms but a touch screen interactive facility is located on the second floor which enables visitors to view the fifth floor if they are unable to use the stairs. Parking outside is metered but there is access to parking bays for valid Blue Badge holders.
Location : 48 Doughty St, London WC1N 2LX.
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
From January 11th 2016: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
Private Tours available. Groups of 10 or more must book in advance.
Tickets : Adults £9.00, Concession £6.00
Children 6 to 16 £4.00; under 6 free.
Tel: 020 7405 2127.