The final destination for our day was the Charles Dickens Museum in Doughty Street, so we set off from Temple Place on foot, making our way up Chancery Lane and quickly realised that we were treading in the footsteps of the man himself, who probably did this walk across to Holborn and home countless times.
Cursitor Street chimed Bleak House bells with me, and with some slick map reading we were soon in Doughty Street, or so it seemed. More likely that having talked books all the way there we hardly noticed how long we had been walking, but it was good to pay homage to Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby's lodgings a few doors up before heading in for a look at the first Dickens homestead.
Now by this time, I'll be honest, Fran and I might have been a little over-Dickensed to the point where I completely forgot to take any pictures of the outside, but think typical four storey London Georgian.
The house is soon to close for major refurbishment (April Diana if you are reading this, should still be open in March when you visit) thanks to lottery funding which will sadly take the house out of action for the rest of this bicentenary year and also make it unavailable to the massive influx of visitors expected for London 2012. Apparently this was a 'do it now or lose the grant' situation, so it was good to see the house before anything alters, though it would clearly benefit from a bit of an overhaul and perhaps more extensive exhibiting of the archives that are held there.
Anyway, probably no photos permitted but I sneaked a few for you and will risk the Tower if necessary as long as I can take books in with me...
The rat in the Dickensian wine cellar...
Not real of course or I'd have been out of there.
Then a rather snatched shot of the Dickensian wastepaper bin..
and finally the Dickensian night storage heater...
Sorry, yes, a bit Dickensed-out, but as we walked around it was easy to imagine the family living there and to feel the atmosphere in the first floor Drawing Room looking down onto the street below. Sadly the top floor, probably the nurseries where the children would have lived and played, were roped off as 'Staff Only', which always makes that the bit you'd really really like to see just because you can't.