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The Charles Dickens Museum, the author’s former Bloomsbury home and only surviving London residence, re-opened today following a major refurbishment. The building has been transformed and is now double the size, in celebration of Dickens’s bicentenary year.
As well as restoring the house at 48 Doughty Street – Dickens’s home at the start of his career and the place where he wrote classics Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby – and opening the house’s attic and kitchen for the first time, the museum has expanded into neighbouring 49 Doughty Street.
The adjacent building has been converted into a state-of-the-art Visitor and Learning Centre with rooms available for events, study and reading facilities, as well as facilities for exploring the Dickens museum’s digitised collection. The new extension to the building and a lift in No 49 now mean the museum has hugely improved step-free access to the original house at No 48, opening it up through hidden access doors on the basement, ground, first and second floors.
Pop into the new museum, and you’ll 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 aged 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 which Dickens himself 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.
Visit dickensmuseum.com to find out more.