This year London (and the rest of the UK!) is celebrating the bicentenary (that’s 200 year birthday) of Charles Dickens and we are still as fascinated with his works as ever. How many people were glued to the BBC’s adaptation of Great Expectations over Christmas? A film adaptation is also due for release in 2012 with Helena Bonham-Carter playing the role of the decaying Miss Havisham. In fact, since the oldest surviving film version of a Dickens’ novel – A Christmas Carol from 1901, each one of Dickens’ 15 novels has been filmed at least twice.
Dickens’ famous portrayals of Victorian London echo around the streets of Camden, where Dickens grew up and provided a backdrop for Oliver Twist, and Southwark, which housed the infamous Marshalsea Debtors Prison in which Little Dorrit was born.
Run privately for profit, as were all prisons in England until the 19th century, the Marshalsea looked like an Oxbridge college and functioned as an extortion racket. For prisoners who could pay, it came with access to a bar, shop, and restaurant, as well as the crucial privilege of being allowed out during the day, which meant debtors could earn money to satisfy their creditors. Everyone else was crammed into one of nine small rooms with dozens of others. Perhaps self-storage could’ve been used to keep safe a sentimental family heirloom from the greedy debt collectors!
In his study Dickens had a secret door which was designed like a bookcase filled with fake books rumored to include titles like Noah’s Architecture and a nine-volume set titled Cat’s Lives. This got us wondering, if ABC Selfstore had been around, What the Dickens would Charles have hidden away?!
No doubt he was proud of the copies of the newspaper in which his writings were serialised? Dickens was known to have kept a pet raven named Grip, which he had stuffed when it died in 1841- would that be in there? Or even forgotten manuscripts or pieces of work yet to be published?
It was also a time of pick-pockets, prostitutes, drunks, beggars, and vagabonds, maybe Fagin and the Artful Dodger would not have been so successful if people had been able to safely stash away their belongings?
Events are being held all across London during 2012 to celebrate the life of Dickens, from readings of his works to exhibitions of his collections, many of which have been kept safe in storage for years to be presented at this time.
At ABC Selfstore, we offer a dedicated service to look after your valuable, and sometimes priceless (if only to you) pieces so that they too can be enjoyed in years to come. Call us on 0800 046 1955 as we are always happy to help.