Charles Dickens Museum reopens after £3.1m revamp

Dickens wrote Oliver Twist at the Bloomsbury house

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The Charles Dickens Museum has reopened to the public following a £3.1m revamp.

The building in Bloomsbury, central London, was the family home of the 19th Century writer between 1837 and 1839.

Visitors will be able to tour the house where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, and finished writing The Pickwick Papers.

The writer's former home has been stripped as far as possible of any modern additions and restored to its original condition.

The Great Expectations project, funded largely through the Heritage Lottery Fund, has also restored neighbouring 49 Doughty Street to include a visitor and learning centre and a cafe, welcoming regular school trips for the first time.

Writing desk

The Victorian chronicler

Charles Dickens
  • A giant of English literature, Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was the quintessential Victorian author
  • Two of his most famous novels - David Copperfield and Great Expectations - were inspired by his own work in a factory as a boy
  • As well as numerous novels, Dickens wrote short stories, periodicals and plays for Queen Victoria

Source: BBC History

Visitors will be able to tour Dickens's dining room, complete with place names for famous visitors such as William Macready, the great Shakespearean actor of the time, and to see Dickens's marriage licence.

His original writing desk and his reading desk, which he designed himself, are among a series of items and documents on display.

The museum includes photographs on display to the public for the first time of the 1865 railway accident in Staplehurst, Kent, in which Dickens was involved.

The redesign, which opens the attic and kitchen of the house for the first time, has transformed the museum, first opened in 1925, to reflect the house in its original state, museum director Florian Schweizer said.

The reopening comes in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dickens in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

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