Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on 7 February 1812 at 393 Old Portsmouth Road (formerly Mile End Terrace, and the 1871 sketch above shows remarkably little change) to John and Elizabeth Dickens. His parents had married in 1809, his father being a clerk with the Naval Pay Office, where he had been posted from London. The house cost £35 a year to rent. Francis (or Fanny) was born in 1810, and Charles was the second child. In summer 1812 the family moved to 16 Hawke Street, Portsea, a house that has since been demolished.
WAS BORN IN THIS
7TH FEBRUARY 1812
This plaque was placed here
by the Portsmouth Branch
of the Dickens Fellowship
in May 1978'
The fabric on the panels of the firescreen shielded women from the perceived coarseness of a woman's reddened face.
The room opposite is called the 'Education Room', which among other things contains the couch on which Dickens died on 9 June 1870 of 'apoplexy', or a stroke as we would term it today, at his home in Gad's Hill, Kent, the day after falling ill at dinner. A different story, though, is that he fell ill while visiting Ellen Ternan at Peckham, so Ternan took him back to Gad's Hill in a carriage, and he died the day after being put on the couch. Dickens's sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth, his housekeeper, gave the couch to the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in this room.
This is right opposite Charles Dickens's birthplace.
ARE THE GIFT OF
H. E. Bates and Rushden, Northamptonshire
After Kettering Grammar School, and when shoemaking was a major industry in Rushden, he found a job in a leather warehouse, and drew heavily on his experience of the town when he wrote his autobiography, The Vanished World.
Rushden Hall, parts of which date from the 14th century, was used as the model for the building in Bates's book Love for Lydia: he had visited it as a reporter for the local newspaper.