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Happy Birthday Mr Dickens!

7 February 2012 by Rebecca

stateroom cabin model

Michelle Walsh, Assistant Curator of Maritime History tells us about the Charles Dickens maritime link:

As Sam has mentioned, today marks the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, born 7th February 1812. This reminded me of the small model, currently on display in the Life at Sea Gallery, of the stateroom that Charles Dickens and his wife stayed in on their voyage to America.

Dickens and his wife were given a first-class stateroom for their 14 day voyage from Liverpool to Boston, USA in 1842. Despite this accommodation being luxurious by the standards of the time, Dickens did not feel it lived up to the advertisement by the agents. He comments in his travelogue American Notes for General Circulation;

 ”…that this utterly impracticable, thoroughly hopeless, and profoundly preposterous box, had the remotest reference to, or connection with, those chaste and pretty, not to say gorgeous little bowers, sketched by a masterly hand, in the highly varnished lithographic plan hanging up in the agent’s counting-house in the city of London…”

He later stated “…nothing smaller for sleeping in was ever made than a coffin.”

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