Still sharing my memorable trip to England four years ago! Come join me for a literary tour. This day we headed to the Charles Dickens Museum. 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. Note the discarded papers in the basket. Next was a handwritten portion of Oliver Twist, and the tools of his trade:
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 below. .Because of the poverty he experienced, Dickens 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 recieving room (above), 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 below, with my son's initials! An example of their uniforms; and a gavel to keep them quiet at mealtime. They were actually 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. I had hoped she'd be willing to be interviewed, which would lend credibility to a story I was working on, but alas, the powers that be did not allow it.
Hope you enjoyed the tour of Dicken's World!
Did you know that my debut MG historical fiction has a teacher's guide? Find it on my publisher's website Ambassador International. Scroll down to the white box with the novel's title, and click on it. The guide has been very popular for home educators, but any family can enjoy the information they find in it, including a couple of Syrian recipes! And take advantage of the free shipping code below!
What historical museums have you visited lately? Tell me in the comments below!
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.