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3 December 2010

Charles Dickens Museum in Doughty Street

The home where Charles Dickens wrote The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist is getting £2 million from the National Lottery Fund.
The house in Doughty Street, WC1, is now home to The Charles Dickens Museum and they intend use the money to store more than 10,0000 books, manuscripts etc relating to Dickens' life.
Dickens lived in the building for only two years (1837-39) and this brings me to my blue plaque bugbear... how long does someone need to have lived somewhere for a blue plaque to be deemed appropriate?
OK, in this instance, a few novels were written on the premises, but has anyone else noticed how many blue plaques in London represent Dickens because he slept on someone's sofa one night, popped in for a cuppa, or lived 'nearby'!
But the museum is well worth a visit, and Doughty Street and the adjoining Bloomsbury streets are worth a stroll down any day as the area is a mine of wonderful architectural features, as shown in the montage below.
And here are 15 interesting facts about the man.


  1. According to the English Heritage Blue Plaque guide, there's been a rule of only one (blue) plaque per person within the capital. I can think of 2 Dickens blue plaques - Tavistock Sq and Doughty St - so I suppose one of these may be pre 54 or maybe he's an exception to the rule? Are there other actual *blue* plaques commemorating Dickens?

  2. English Heritage may only put up one plaque per person but they don't have the monopoly on blue. There are a variety of styles and colours used by different organisations but blue is particularly popular. The GLC and before them, the LCC and the St Marylebone Society, amongst others, all use a similar design. The Dead Comics Society and Comic Heritage (both, I think, part of the Heritage Foundation) also go in for blue, but of a different design. So it may be that multiple plaque holders have been commemorated by diferent organisations.

    I like plaques, but I have to agree that some of them do stretch their credibility a little too far!

  3. I forgot to mention that, to confuse the issue even more, a number of boroughs also have, or have had, their own blue plaque scemes!


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Thanks, Jane