- The famous writer Charles Dickens was born in this modest house in Portsmouth, England in 1812. The house has miraculously survived and is now preserved as a museum furnished in the style of 1809 which is when John and Elizabeth Dickens set up the first home of their married life there. They had no idea that their eldest son would go on to become one of the most internationally famous writers popular across the world for his novels and short stories. John Dickens came to Portsmouth when his job in the Navy Pay Office was transferred from London. They stayed here until 1815 when his job demanded that he return to London. Charles Dickens only lived in Portsmouth for the first three years of his life but he returned to the town on three occasions. Once he returned to research background information for his novel 'Nicholas Nickleby', and on two occasions later in life when he was a famous writer to give public readings of his work. On his last visit in 1866 he tried to find his birthplace but was unsuccessful, however it is now clearly signposted so visitors can find it easily! Even though Dickens' popular writing career ran from 1836 to 1870 his characters live on as familiar friends to many people all over the world. Millions of people sympathise with Oliver 'asking for more' or Sydney Carton declaiming 'it is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done'. He is best known for his evocations of Victorian Christmas celebrations in his many Christmas stories - who can forget the three Spirits of Christmas who appeared to Scrooge?
Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum