The Charles Dickens Museum in London has reopened just in time for Christmas, a time of year memorialized by Dickens’ widely known work “A Christmas Carol.” It’s also just prior to the conclusion of Dickens’ 200th anniversary -- he was born in 1812.
The museum, located at 48 Douty St. in London, had been closed while undergoing a $5-million restoration. It was Dickens’ home from 1837-39; he wrote “Oliver Twist” and “Nicholas Nickelby” there. Although he moved on as his reputation and fortunes grew, 48 Douty St. is the only one of his London homes that remains standing.
Tickets to visit the Charles Dickens Museum cost $13 for adults and $6 for children. The museum’s website describes what visitors can expect to see:
“On their tour around the new museum, visitors will be able to walk around rooms decorated as Dickens would have known them. Each room reflects a different part of Dickens’s world; his reading desk can be seen in the drawing room, where he would have entertained guests with readings from his work, whilst the master bedroom will display personal items that have never been on display before. The second bedroom, where his sister-in-law Mary died at 17, reflects on Dickens’s relationship with mortality and will feature the Museum’s latest acquisition, an extremely rare set of photographic prints showing the 1865 rail crash Dickens was involved in. In the attic, visitors can learn more about Dickens’s difficult childhood and his literary and social legacy, before moving next door into the new wing at No 49 to explore further collections of Dickensiana.”
They also get to visit his wine cellar; “Dickens loved his booze,” museum director Florian Schweizer told Reuters.
To celebrate Christmas, noted Dickensian professor Michael Slater will do a reading of “A Christmas Carol” at the house -- the event is a week prior, on Dec. 18.
“A Christmas Carol” was published in 1843; its characters Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have become so integrated into our cultural holiday heritage that they are revived again and again in plays, films and television shows.
The Dickens Museum has been in operation since 1925. The restoration included incorporation of neighboring 49 Douty St., which is now a visitors center with facilities for study and reading events and improved access for the disabled. Annually, the museum has received about 30,000 visitors; with its improvements, it expects that number to climb to 45,000.