Dickens Place

Dickens Place is named for Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

Fagan in Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens

In the city named after the birthplace of man considered to be the greatest of English playwrights, Stratford has also named a street to commemorate the man regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. John Huffam Dickens' outstanding gift was his ability to take hints from human beings, and create from those his super-human characters. With his remarkable imagination, he transformed reality.

His early life was not easy, and the characters of family members and the places he encountered make disguised appearances in his novels. It is believed that the character Micawber in David Copperfield is based on his father, John, and that of Mrs. Nickleby on his mother, Elizabeth (Barrow).

When Dickens (1812-1870) was two, his family moved from Portsmouth to London, and went to Chatham when he was five. In 1822, the household was once more on the march. Charles’ father was in debt. His mother had eight children, of whom Charles was the second. She tried to open a school but could attract no students.

Charles was forced to earn a living when his father's next address was debtors' prison. Upon inheriting some money, his father was released from prison. Charles shared in the improved fortunes of the family and went back to school. In 1834 he was employed by the Morning Chronicle, published in London. His literary works soon followed. The Pickwick Papers with Nathaniel Winkle came first, followed by Oliver Twist in 1838.

In 1836, he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of the editor of the Evening Chronicle, and she bore him 10 children over 15 years, before the marriage broke up in 1858. Dickens died 12 years later, at the age of 58. He was buried in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. Source: Streets of Stratford 2004