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Couch belonging to Charles Dickens

Couch belonging to Charles Dickens

...it was on the couch that he died the following evening.

Although the Charles Dickens´ Birthplace Museum is about the house where Charles Dickens was born one of the objects on display is in fact the couch upon which he died. It was brought to museum much later. Charles Dickens died on 9th June 1870 at his home Gad’s Hill in Kent.

There are two versions of the events leading up to his death. The official version was that he was taken ill during dinner on 8th June, placed on the couch rather than risk carrying him upstairs to his bedroom and it was on the couch that he died the following evening.

However, it has been argued that he was taken ill whilst visiting his close friend, Ellen Ternan, at Peckham. This version proposes that she hired a carriage and took the unconscious Dickens to Gad’s Hill. He was carried in, placed on the couch and died the next day in the presence of members of his family.

Quick Facts

  • Accession number 2004/1044
  • Made of simulated rosewood with upholstery
  • Used at Gad's Hill, Kent
  • Belonged to Charles Dickens
  • Date mid-nineteenth century

Facts

  • The couch was given to the Birthplace Museum by Georgina Hogarth, Dickens’ sister-in-law, who acted as his housekeeper at Gad’s Hill.
  • The death certificate gives ‘apoplexy’ as the cause of death - now it would be described as a stroke. A copy of his death certificate is displayed next to the couch in the museum. Charles Dickens was only 58 years old. His constant work rate with writing, touring and public readings were known to cause him instances of ill health.

Did you know?

Dickens was in the process of writing the novel ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ when he died so the novel was never completed.

Gallery

Couch belonging to Charles Dickens

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