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Thursday, April 9, 2009

DICKENS

John Charles Huffam Dickens 1812-1870

The former seaside home of English novelist Charles Dickens, where he wrote part of his classic David Copperfield, is for sale at $A4.1 million.

The cliffside house in Broadstairs, Kent, was built in 1801 and has six bedrooms and its own cells. It was the residence of the fort captain during the Napoleonic Wars and originally named Fort House.
This was later changed to Bleak House - the name of another famous Dickens work. He is thought to have planned that novel there and part-written David Copperfield in the sea-facing study.

Bleak House, Broadstairs, Kent

His later house, at Gad's Hill Place, Higham, Kent, is now a Visitors' Centre. There is a delightful story written in the early 1900s about Gadshill, as it is sometimes spelt, at this link.

Gad's Hill Place, Higham, Kent

As an aside, I remember my Mother saying to us children, "What the dickens are you doing?"; so I went to look up the saying and found this -

What the dickens - exclamation of surprise or puzzlement.
This has nothing to do with Charles Dickens, as is often assumed. Dickens actually comes from a 16th century euphemism for the Devil. It may be an altered pronunciation of devilkin, meaning related to the Devil and it was certainly in use long before Charles was born. Shakespeare's 1601 play The Merry Wives of Windsor contains the words 'I cannot tell what the dickens his name is.'

2 comments:

The Clever Pup said...

LB, What an interesting post. I found him on Ancestry.com once. Forgot what I did with the information.

Any way, my Great X3 Grandmother from Kent was born around 1853 and at least once she was invited to Gads Hill for a Christmas Tea that Dickens used to host for the neighbourhood children. Neat eh?

Coccinella said...

That would have been so exciting for a little child. I came across a black and white photo of Gads Hill and it looked so lovely covered in ivy.