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The World of Charles Dickens > Invented Places? Or Taken from Life?

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message 1: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
Just as Charles Dickens fills his books with thinly disguised portraits of people he knew, he also used the places familiar to him,

Here is where we can share information about these.


message 2: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
For our group read of David Copperfield, the towns and cities he mentions are authentic, and sometimes even specific buildings which we may assume are from his imagination, do actually exist.

The infant David is born, and spends the first part of his life in a cottage named, portentously, "Blunderstone Rookery". Here it is:


Blunderstone Rookery in real life


message 3: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
Two important characters in David Copperfield are the solicitor Mr Wickfield, and his daughter Agnes. David lives with them for a while, in Canterbury. There is a detailed description of this old gabled house in the novel, and in real life it is now a hotel, in West Gate, Canterbury, called "The House of Agnes" LINK HERE



"The House of Agnes" Hotel in Canterbury, Kent. There is another picture of it in our group reads discussion, chapter 19.


message 4: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 326 comments Many thanks for the link, Jean. I've been to Canterbury quite a few times but didn't know about this hotel - how great that it is called The House of Agnes.


message 5: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
If you ever go there Judy, you must tell us what it's like. Perhaps they have a little display about the novel :)


message 6: by Milena (new)

Milena | 153 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "he also used the places familiar to him,
Here is where we can share information about these."


What a charming thread, Jean. Thank you. :)


message 7: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
Hopefully we'll find lots of instances to post, Milena :)


message 8: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (last edited Jun 12, 2020 03:02PM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
Our member Ashley was talking elsewhere about "Satis House", where Miss Havisham lived, in Great Expectations, so I thought it might be nice to share the original for it.

Here is "Restoration House" in Rochester, Kent, which Dicken used as his model for "Satis House":



And here's their website - link here. You can visit the house.

"Satis House", was based on "Restoration House" in Rochester. Charles II stayed there on his return to England in 1660, restoring the English monarchy after Oliver Cromwell. But also the word "satis" has an interesting derivation, and several layers of meaning for those who know the entire story. (view spoiler)


message 9: by Trisha (new)

Trisha | 64 comments Bionic Jean wrote: "Our member Ashley was talking elsewhere about "Satis House", where Miss Havisham lived, in Great Expectations, so I thought it might be nice to share the original for it.

Here is "Rest..."


That’s wonderful, Jean. I love your explanation, especially the spoiler.


message 10: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
Yes, it's so apt! But it is a spoiler, of course.


message 11: by David (new)

David | 8 comments Dickens got the name 'Satis House' from another building in Rochester which is part of the King's School now.

Restoration House was owned by Rod Hull, of Emu fame, who fell to his death from the roof while trying to adjust his TV aerial during a big football match! Parkinson's Revenge! (Only British members of a certain age will know what I'm referring to!)


message 12: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (last edited May 21, 2021 08:19AM) (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
Um ... what David says might make everyone scoff in disbelief, but it's largely true! Except that the roof was of another house ...

Rod Hull had by then lost the ownership of Restoration House because of unpaid taxes. He had owned Restoration House between 1986 and 1994. All very sad, and an ignoble end, to fall from the roof of his more modest home in Winchelsea, East Sussex in 1999.

For non-UK members Rod Hull was an English comedian and puppeteer. His "sidekick" was an oversized glove puppet "Emu" who was very aggressive and whom he found difficult to control - hence the humour.

Michael Parkinson had a popular long-running chat show, and when Rod Hull and Emu were invited, Emu attacked Parky, caused mayhem as usual and virtually trashed the set. Fantastic TV, but he probably went too far, and the dignified TV host may well have cause to feel resentful!


message 13: by David (new)

David | 8 comments Yes, you are right about Rod Hull's demise. I had fprgotten that he had moved! Shame really!


message 14: by Bionic Jean, "Dickens Duchess" (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) | 5389 comments Mod
LOL I have to confess I thought this part of your post was a wind-up David :D

But it is extraordinary how apt the name of another house in the city proved to be.


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