Saturday, 24 December 2011

A very Dickensian Christmas

We spent a lovely Christmas Eve in London today, having booked to go to the Dickens House Museum where they were giving the public a glimpse as to how the author and his family would have celebrated Christmas. The museum was decorated with festive greenery, authentic Victorian decorations and the air was filled with the scent of orange and cinnamon.

A reading of the first stave of A Christmas Carol was given in the drawing room after which we toured the whole house,  and later enjoyed a glass of mulled wine and mince pies.

Dickens had moved into this Georgian terraced house in Doughty Street, Bloomsbury in 1837 where he lived for two and a half years and where two of his children, Mary and Catherine were born. Dickens wrote his third novel Nicholas Nickleby whilst living here.

Most of the rooms such as the dining room and the morning room exhibited many portraits, miniatures, books and manuscripts of his work. Dickens would usually retire to the seclusion of his study to write and it was in here we saw the desk that he worked at, and pens and other oddments that he liked to keep on his desk.

The house was established as a museum in 1925 by The Dickens Fellowship where they saved it from demolition. The Fellowship still continues to support the museum and indeed their interest in Dickens by way of talks, visits to locations of interest in Dickens' life and works, as well as many social events. The Fellowship have fifty branches over the world and produce its own journal, The Dickensian available on subscription. All in all an excellent way to begin our Christmas festivities with at look at a Christmas Past.

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