Dickens was 25 when he moved to this home in London with his wife Catherine:
He was moving up in the world, had many influential friends, and finally had enough money to buy this home. Here at his desk, he spent many hours on his famous stories:
It comforted me, as a writer, to see that he too, was not satisfied with his manuscripts at times, and had to start over:
These are the tools of his trade:
And a handwritten portion of Oliver Twist:
Meanwhile, his wife was busy with life in her home in this lovely morning room:
Dickens early life was hard. His father went to Debtor's prison (just like Little Dorrit's) so Charles worked long hours at the Blackening Factory (just like David Copperfield). To rise to his present status was downright amazing.
Blackening pots. . .because of his poverty, he felt the need to reveal the poor's plight in his stories.
It was so appropriate, then, to visit the Foundling Museum, just up the street from Dicken's home.
It was the first of its kind in England, taking in children whose mothers were unable to care for them, due to the poor economic situation of the time. When they entered, the mothers would be given a white ball (child accepted), red ball (waiting list) or black ball (rejected). They were required to leave a token for the records as an identifier, in case they came back to claim the child later. Here is one:
And here are their uniforms:
A gavel to keep them quiet at mealtime. They were actually very well cared for here and educated well.
This was a perfect place find inspiration for another historic picture book, and that's just what I did! Lots of material, and best of all. . .a real live foundling who volunteers at the museum! Had a lively conversation with Ruth, and, she is willing to be interviewed, which will lend credibility to my story. What a blessing!
Although we did get to the Victoria and Albert Museum this afternoon, the galleries we wanted to see were closed. On Sunday, we will attempt to see them, along with the Globe Theatre tour. Farewell for now!