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Exhibition Review- Global Dickens: For Every Nation Upon Earth at the Charles Dickens Museum from 14th May to 3rd November 2019

A new exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum explores the global appeal of the famous author and the impact of his considerable travels on his life and writing. In an age when a ‘viral’ picture can travel around the world in seconds, it is worth considering how difficult it was for a 19th century writer to have global appeal. Whilst it was possible for writers to achieve fame around the British Empire, to sell books in other parts of world was difficult due to a number of factors.

This exhibition provides evidence that although Dickens is considered a quintessentially British writer obsessed by London, the reality was his work influenced people all around the globe. Unlike many 19th century writers, Dickens travelled extensively across Britain, Europe and America and both wrote about these places but also gave talks and performances creating a new type of international celebrity.

These travels were not without their problems, his criticism of American society in Martin Chuzzlewit and in his travelogue American Notes caused a considerable backlash, remarkably he returned to America many years later and was more popular than ever.

The exhibition features a hand written letter from Dickens to his friend William Macready in 1868 describing his impressions of Niagara Falls.

Part of Dickens appeal was his stories often had universal themes which were used and adapted in many different cultures. The exhibition give some idea of the way that Dickens has been used for inspiration ranging from Manga comics to numerous films, Dickens remains the most adapted writer of all time for TV and film.

The exhibition features a Russian poster for a theatre production based on Dickens, A poster for a production of Edwin Drood starring Claude Rains, and a Dutch translation of Dombey and Son.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a copy of David Copperfield that went to the Antarctic on the 1910 Scott expedition. Its grubbiness indicates that it was well used by those on the ill fated expedition.

This fascinating small exhibition offers an opportunity to consider Dickens as one of the earliest global celebrities, his fame is not restricted to the past with many Dickens festivals still being held all over the world. Dickens never limited himself but was fascinated by his travels and used his journalistic and creative powers to provide his readers with stories of the world outside of Britain. In a fast changing world, Dickens often provided a record of the effects of major political and social changes in a number of countries.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Visitors to the exhibition are free to explore the Charles Dickens Museum, The Charles Dickens Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dickens-related material, including the desk at which he wrote Great Expectations.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Charles Dickens Museum website here

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Great London Pubs – The Prospect of Whitby


The Prospect of Whitby

Location – 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London, E1W 3SH

The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping is one of the most famous pubs in London, its origins was a simple tavern on the site in 1520.
However it was in the 17th century that it became known as a meeting place for smugglers and river pirates, it was at this time known as the ‘Devil’s Tavern’. It is also claimed that patrons watched the hanging of pirates at the nearby Execution Dock from its balcony.
In recognition of this claim there now stands a noose and gallows outside the back of the pub overlooking the Thames.

whit noose
In the 18th Century the Devil’s Tavern burnt down and the tavern was rebuilt and renamed the ‘Prospect of Whitby’ after a ship that was moored nearby.



In the 19th century it became a place where artists used for a vantage point for their paintings of the Thames, Whistler and Turner amongst others painted many pictures of Wapping.
Famous customers have included Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens, however in the 20th Century it became the pub of choice for many celebrities and famous people.
In the 1950s Princess Margaret was a regular visitor and the pub became a regular stop on the tourist trail.

It is still very popular and caters for a wide range of clientele, perhaps not the old river workers or seaman who once plied their trade on the river outside but a nice variety of visitors.

Although the pub building is mostly 18th century, its original flagstone floor, wooden barrels, pewter bar, odd shaped alcoves and large terrace with great views of the river are very atmospheric of days of smugglers and pirates.

The pub is owned by the Taylor Walker who offer a wide range of real ales and serve mostly standard British fare such as Fish and Chips.