McKenzie's Travel Journal

A journal of interesting places and things I encounter by traveling the world

Happy 200th Birthday Charles Dickens!

on February 8, 2012

February 7, 2012 is Charles Dickens birthday and there was a big celebration all over London where he is from. We took part in the celebration by visiting his home on 49 Doughty street which is now a museum. Most of the house was preserved especially the bath house which was left as it was. We had yummy birthday cupcakes!

Outside the Charles Dickens Museum

Greeters dressed in Victorian Era dress












Do you know who Charles Dickens is?, if you’ve seen or heard the Christmas Carol Story, or watched Oliver Twist, or versions of it, then you know him. Here are more facts about him.

  • Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England, on February 7, 1812.
  • His family moved to London when he was nine years old.
  • His father was sent to debtor’s prison when Charles was only twelve and he had to work in a boot-blacking factory pasting labels on jars.
  • At the age of 15 he began working as a clerk in a law office where he studied human emotions which inspired the characters in his writings like Mr. Pickwick.
  • In 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth and had ten children. His descendants attended the bicentenary celebrations with the Queen and the Royal family at Westminster Abbey where he was buried. Prince Charles laid a wreath.
  • Dickens’s first story was published in 1833 and his first novel the Pickwick Papers, was serialized in 1836.
  • He met and fell in love with Ellen Ternan, an actress, eventually separating from his wife the following year.
  • After a series of strokes dickens passed away June 9, 1870, at the age of 58.
  • Over the course of the next thirty years he became one of the most prolific and best selling writers of all time.
  • He continues to inspire writers, film makers, artists, actors, etc, His work has been adapted in plays, movies, animation, etc.

Here’s a list of his famous novels, some you probably heard of

  1. The Pickwick Papers. Mr. Pickwick’s character is almost synonymous to everything British, and used a lot, remember Pickwick’s Fish and Chips?
  2. The Adventures of Oliver Twist. The inspiration to the popular musical Oliver. It’s about an orphan kid Oliver trying to survive in the streets of London. Poverty is one of the issues Dickens wrote about as he was once a disadvantaged kid. See me singing “Who will buy” from the play Oliver.
  3. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby
  4. The Old Curiosity Shop. It was said that this 15th century antique shop in Portsmouth inspired the setting for this novel. They changed the name of the shop after this novel was released. The story is about a shop that sells odd objects which is why you find odd pieces in Old Curiosity shops around the world. I went to the original one in Portsmouth St. which is now a handmade shoe shop, and the one in Seattle Washington, which is an amazing souvenir shop and gallery of the weirdest oddest things.
  5. A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge, and “bah humbag”….need I say more?
  6. Great Expectations. Turned into movies and plays
  7. David Copperfield

Dickens formal Dining Rm

Dickens kitchen

The Old Curiosity Shop, Portsmouth St. London

Charles Dicken desk and clothes

Charles Dickens Wash House

original manuscript from The Pickwick Papers

Ye Old Curiosity Shop, Seattle Washington


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: