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The Story Of St Katharine's, book Talk 28th April 2014
The Story Of st Katharine's signing at The Dickens Inn
The Story Of St Katharine's, book signing at Cafe Rouge
The Story Of St Katharine's Is On Sale At Nauticalia
The Story Of St Katharine's


A Christmas Carol
All Hallows By The Tower
Camilla, Natasha and Great Ormond Street Hospital
Charles Dickens And Excellence
Charles Dickens Bicentennial Celebrations
charles dickens talks in London
Dickens Day charity event for Great Ormond Street Hospital
entertainment in London
fleet street
george on the strand
Great Ormond Street Hospital
History of St Katharine Docks
history of the docks
HUANTIAN Chinese Junk
museums in London
places to go in london
promoting my talks
Queen's Jubilee Celebrations
royal courts of justice
st katharine docks
St Katharine's Dock
The George In The Strand
The Story Of St Katharine
The Story Of St Katharine's
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The Story Of St Katharine's, book Talk 28th April 2014

DATE: 28th April, 2014
Time: 5 p.m. to 7.5 p.m. (Talk 5.45 to 6.15)
Venue: The Lady Daphne, West Dock, St Katharine Docks, E1W.
Price: £5, children free. Cash Bar available.

The Lady Daphne is the most famous remaining Thames Barge 
and is moored on the pontoon next to International House, close to the Dock entrances from Tower Hill and St Katharine's Way. 
The steps down below are quite steep; books may be purchased for £9.99, which includes author's signature and any personal message.

Tickets or enquiries from

The Story Of st Katharine's signing at The Dickens Inn

There will be a book signing at the Dickens Inn on Friday, from 3 pm to 6 pm. Please come along if you would like a signed copy or to chat about the book. The fine sketch is 'Charles Dickens And A Tiny Tim', by Jane Young, who donated it for my 'Dickens Day For Great Ormond Street Hospital' fund raiser recently. The Dickens Inn is featured in the book, of course. Scott and Iwona are fund raising for the The Royal Neuro-disability Hospital, following Dickens, who helped raise money for it to open.
I will be pleased to donate £1 for every book sold at The Dickens Inn.

The Story Of St Katharine's, book signing at Cafe Rouge

There will be a book signing at Cafe Rouge, Commodity Quay on Thursday 10th April, 9 a.m. to 12 noon.  
The Story Of St Katharine's is on sale for £12.99,currently on offer for £9.99. Please come along if you would like to buy a signed copy or would like to find out more about the book.There will be a signing at The Dickens Inn on Friday 11th April from 3 pm to 6 pm.

The Story Of St Katharine's Is On Sale At Nauticalia

The book is now on sale at St Katharine's    
branch of Nauticalia. Although the price is 
£12.99 it is initially on offer for £9.99. 
Next week there will be signings at Cafe 
Rouge, Zizzi, Starbucks and Dickens Inn;
times will be published soon.There will also
be Talks, including on lovely Thames Barge, 
The Lady Daphne, on Tuesday 22nd April.
More info from 

The Story Of St Katharine's

The book has now been published and will be in the shops 
in a few days. The delays have been frustrating, but have 
given me the opportunity to include important recent events 
and improvements within the docks. I am now into working on signing events in various locations nearby and also a series of Talks about the book. It has been a great joy, but also extremely tiring; preparing promotional material has become a welcome change from daily 'bashing away' at writing. It's a great relief that the hard work is complete, and a huge relief that feedback from people who have already read the manuscript is very positive. A new email address for enquiries is

Christmas Lights in St Katharine Docks

St Katharine Docks looks so splendid at night with all the Christmas lights. Several of the Thames Barges are lit up and there are lights on boats, buildings and trees all around- well worth a visit, not least, in the quiet days following Christmas.

Commemorating St Katharine's Hospital and the Precinct Community

Today, St Katharine's Day, we held a commemoration ceremony near the site of 'Old Kate', near Starbucks, in the central Basin at the Dock. The current Master of the Royal Order of St Katharine at Limehouse was the special guest, and he recalled the thousands of people who had to leave their homes in the Precinct, and the sadness of losing their wonderful place of worship when the ancient Hospital, protected by Queens down the centuries, was closed to make way for the Docks. Of course, we love and cherish the splendid Marina of today, but it is right to respect the richness of the area's past history.

St Katharine's Day Commemoration

The Service at the Tower went extremely well yesterday. The Tower Chaplain, Rev Roger Hall was in excellent form, and devoted much of his sermon to commemorating the ancient Hospital and Church in St Katharine's from 1147, inaugurated by Queen Matilda, right up to 1825, when it was razed to the ground to make way for the building of St Katharine Docks. The last sermon at St Katharine's was held by the then Chaplain of the Tower, heavily criticising the closure decision, so it was very appropriate and moving to listen to today's Chaplain all these years later.

Event To Commemorate St Katharine's Day And The Royal Hospital Of Saint Katharine By The Tower

You may know that St Katharine was a mediaeval lady of noble birth in Alexandria, who was cruelly killed after refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She was broken on a wheel, as pictured, which lead to the firework of the same name. Her feast day is 25th November and the commemoration planned at the Tower Of London will be particularly significant because the then Chaplain of The Tower (himself strongly opposed to the closing of the Hospital and Church) gave a moving and powerful sermon at the Church's final service in 1825, before it was razed to the ground to make way for St Katharine Docks. We cherish today's splendid Marina, but will commemorate this historically important previous community, which was the ancient St Katharine's Precinct, until 1825.

Pic by C Adach, sketch by Jane Young

The Origins of St. Katharine's Hosptial: St Katharine's Day, November 25th

The origin of the Hospital's name ‘St Katharine's’ is uncertain. The inspirational story of St Katharine of Alexandria became well known around England during the 11th century, so it may be that the suggestion came from Queen Matilda herself or from the Priory, which already administered St Katharine Coleman (in Magpie Alley, Fenchurch Street) and St Katharine Cree (Leadenhall Street). Her Saint's Day is November 25th, though is not usually celebrated here in the UK.

Photo C. Adach

Gloriana at St Katharine Docks

Gloriana will be docked here at St Katharine's when not being used elsewhere. She is ideal to view here, as her magnificent workmanship can be observed at close quarters. The following is a quote from my upcoming book:

Gloriana: Her Majesty The Queen named the Royal Rowbarge Gloriana as a lasting legacy to mark her Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty has asked that Gloriana be retained by Lord Sterling and the Maritime Heritage Trust with assistance from Thames Alive and has approved the principle that Gloriana will be used to promote better use of the Thames. This can be achieved through providing opportunities for Royal-supported, and other charities, to play their part in occasions and celebrations upon the Thames, with a particular emphasis on events involving young people.

Logo by Jane Young 
Photo by Christopher Adach.

Celebrating St Katharine's

The exhibition was very successful, with more than two thousand people passing through. Many people bought the new Map and Guide of St Katharine's and a great deal of interest was shown for the book 'Story Of St Katharine's', which will hopefully be published by the end of November. More than anything else, people were fascinated to know about the ancient Royal Hospital of St Katharine, built in 1148 and eventually destroyed in 1825, to make way for the building of the Docks. These pictures show two sketches of the ancient Hospital and the site of the original building, now a Starbucks Coffee Shop:

Sketches by Jane Young and photo by Christopher Adach

Celebrating St Katharine's Exhibition

Please come along to the Exhibition when you visit the fabulous group of Classic Boats here at St Katharine's, this weekend.

My book, 'The Story Of St Katharine's' should be ready for publication ready for Christmas (subject to the publisher, of course).

St Katharine Docks Map and Guide

I'm very pleased with the success of the new Map and Guide to the Docks. Please do buy one when you come to the 'Celebrating St Katharine's Exhibition' during the weekend. More details on our link:

My book, 'The Story Of St Katharine's' should be ready for publication ready for Christmas (subject to the publisher, of course).

Thames Festival and Exhibition Update

The people who have attended the walking Tours of the Docks and my ‘Celebrating St Katharine’s’ exhibition say that they really enjoyed themselves. The map and guide is selling well, explaining twenty of the historical 'treasures' in the area. The huge collection of classic boats are stunning and spectacular; not to be missed!

Do please come along and say hello. During the week it’s quieter, and the exhibition is open 11 am to 4 pm - otherwise 11 am to 6 pm at the weekend.

The Opening of St Katharine Docks

This picture celebrates the opening of St Katharine Docks on St Katharine's Day in 1828.

My thanks to The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich for giving permission for me to reproduce this wonderful print.

St Katharine Docks Map and Guide

This map and guide is now on sale around St Katharine Docks:

Particular thanks to James Burgess, who did a fine job on the concept design and layout. These photos are by Christopher Adach and he will be displaying many more at the exhibition 'Celebrating St Katharine's'. The splendid sketches are by Jane Young, who will also have a display.

Celebrating St. Katharine's Facebook Event

Here is the link to the public Facebook event created for the exhibition, which has all the details of the big day:

I hope to welcome you all there!

Celebrating St Katharine's Exhibition

This exhibition is free and I look forward to welcoming people during these weekends of the Thames Festival.

St. Katharine's Hospital and Church

When and how did the Hospital begin?
In approximately 1148 St. Katharine’s was founded by Queen Matilda of Boulogne, the wife of King Stephen. She created the foundation to benefit her soul and those of her family, including two sons who passed away in infancy. The Hospital was founded on land belonging to 
the Augustinian Priory of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, the area becoming known as the Precinct of St. Katharine’s. The 

origin of the name is uncertain, however the inspirational story of St. Katharine of Alexandria became well-known in England, having martyred herself for the sake of her Christian faith, by being broken on a wheel (hence the Katharine wheel). 

Sketch by Jane Young 

My new book about St Katharine's

I am close to finishing the details for the book, ready 
to hand over to the publishers. The article in last week's 
East London Advertiser was a great boost and some very 
interesting comments and contacts were made. Interestingly, 
Mike Brookes, who wrote the article, was here in St Katharine's 
the day that Peter Drew closed the old Dock Gates for the last 
time, on behalf of Taylor Woodrow, who had won the contract 
to develop the Docks into a Yacht Haven. He also recalls being 
shown shackles on the wall in the old warehouse which is now 
International House- he was told that they were used to hold 
convicts, prior to deportation to Australia. The picture shows 
the original Docks Walls and today's main entrance.
 photo:C Adach      

The Alex Miles Gallery raises money for Alzheimers, please help!

Congratulations Alex Miles at his Art Gallery here in St Katharine Docks. Not only has he already raised a brilliant £10000 for the Alzheimers Society (also here at St Katharine's) but he is continuing his efforts until the end of July. 

These pictures are only a sample of all the pictures available to purchase; Alex will donate 40% of the purchase price to the Alzheimer Society. His Art Gallery supports many different artists and this seems a splendid way to support his Art Gallery, the artists and the Alzheimer Society. He explains:-
'Until the 31st of July, we’ll have a special selection of paintings here at our gallery in St.Katharine Docks. For each one you buy, we’ll donate 40% to Alzheimer’s Society.
We want to try and encourage you as much as we possibly can, so we’ve given every single piece a really special price.  We’ve also stated exactly how much Alzheimer’s Society will see from each sale, so you know exactly where your money’s going.We want to smash that £10,000.00, and with your help, we think we   can do it.
There are some exceptional pieces in the collection, and we cannot urge you enough to join in and support an equally exceptional cause. 

Please click here to see them on our webstore, or visit us at our gallery to view them in person.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston at St Katharine Docks

Great News!  St Katharine Docks is to host the Clipper 13-14 Round The World Yacht Race. The start date is September 1st and will cover an incredible 40000 miles around the oceans of the world, before returning to St Katharine's in July 2014. The idea of the race is to encourage amateurs from all walks of life to take part, giving them the opportunity, thrills and personal development involved in sailing around the World- this has inspired thousands of participants, as well as encouraging countless others towards sailing and sea going experience. Up to 650 crews will be involved in this race.       

The founder and Chairman is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who founded the competition  back in 1996. He was the first person to sail around the world single handed without stopping. Sir Robin was born in Putney and knew the Thames well, both from his time in the Merchant and Royal Navies, but also as harbour master, here at St Katharine Docks. Sir Robin has many recollections and  memories from his time here, some of which will be recorded in my forthcoming book about St Katharine's. 

The competition is well described on its website (see below); 
there is detailed  information about the route, the fleet, the 
crews and much more- and they are still recruiting if you are interested.

Pictures provided by Clipper Ventures Plc 

Mayor Boris Johnson is rightly delighted about the race starting and finishing in London and said "Those who take part are an inspiration to us all and exhibit the very best of the human spirit.... As they battle through everything the elements can throw at them, I wish everyone on board these stunning vessels the very best of luck." 

Most important, we should also say 'hats off' to Sir Robin, his inspiration and driving energy is incredible and worthy of deep respect.   

for more details click here.

St Katharine Docks and Edith Piaf

Nestling in the tranquil waters of East Dock, is the love boat which belonged to Edith Piaf. The Flamant Rose has a stylish, though gentile dignity, but who would realise that inside it is so stunningly opulent and charismatic? James and Valerie are the proud owners, who lovingly care for it and keep it in excellent order. They both have their own depth of personality, yet successfully preserve Edith's charisma and dynamism throughout. When James first saw the boat, he says it was love at first sight; when he told his new wife, Valerie, that he was buying it, she recalls being stunned and amazed.                         
Flamant Rose (or Pink Flamingo) was moored on the Seine in Paris, as well as being her actual base when on tour, when the public would be told she was staying at the local best hotel. Marcel Cerdan, the great French boxer would have been one of the boats most cherished visitors. Edith's short, but all consuming affair with the great French Boxer ended in tragedy with his accidental death while travelling to see her in America. Though she sang the song Je ne regrette rien (I have no regrets) shortly after this, in truth, she never fully recovered, but carried on because of her power of personality and courage.  

Welcome to M1 Fine Art at St Katharine Docks

 This exciting, contemporary addition to the West Dock, here at St Katharine's, not far from the Docks entrance, is rich in both new and established artistic talent. Peter will be managing the gallery and explains as follows:

'As a leading publisher and distributor of fine art within the UK, M1 Fine Art partners with the very best talent from around the world to showcase their work to a discerning audience of admirers. Whether an emerging artist or an established name, each and every member of M1’s portfolio places an emphasis on quality, ensuring they are considered to be among the best in their individual field. 
At our new gallery, now open in St Katharine Docks, M1 Fine Art will be displaying an ever-changing array of artwork from established and emerging talent alike.
Visit for further information and register there to receive an invitation to the official launch party on June 13th, from 6-9pm.
Peter McAllister

Nauticalia, welcome back to St Katharine Docks

Great to see Nauticalia back in their old premises here at St Katharine Docks; the place hasn't been the same without them. This splendid model of H.M.S. Victory and the desk clock are just two of 
the 'must see' range that makes this store so popular. Here is an extract from their log- 
'Nauticalia continues to mix traditional nautical replicas with modern boating accessories in a huge range that celebrates Britain's maritime heritage - all under the umbrella of "Ships & Sea... Time & Tide...    Wind & Weather... Stars & Skies".
In the UK, Nauticalia have 13 own-brand shops and literally hundreds of stockists - everywhere from maritime museums to seaside "bucket-and-spade" shops - who buy from the wholesaling part of the company. Exports, spreading British maritime heritage to the world, account for about a quarter of all sales, and Nauticalia was a proud recipient of the Queen's Award for Exports in 1998'.                                       


History Of The Docks

Today's Marina is thriving and picturesque, close to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London; a fine place to visit with its cafes and restaurants, bustling with activity and delight. But the story goes right back to the 11th century, the Ancient Hospital and Church, patronised by Royalty, giving way for the famous Docks, which imported and exported the World's most luxurious items at the height of Empire and then its gradual decline, war damage and closure, to rise again phenomenally, a catalyst to begin the regeneration of Docklands, inspiring new planning for London Docks, the DLR and Canary Wharf. Do get in touch if you have old photographs or memories- part of the book will describe today's community and the recent past. 

Charles Dickens And His London Talk 9th April

Today's Adelphi Theatre opened in 1858- its predecessor, 
of the same name, was a cramped, poorly designed place, 
but was very significant because many of Charles Dickens 
works were staged there. The first was called The Christening, 
described as a comedy burletta, which opened in October 1834 
(Dickens was then aged 22). Many more followed, including 
adaptations of Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, The Old 
Curiosity Shop and A Christmas Carol. Hear more about 
Dickens London in my next Talk, Charles Dickens And His 
London. Tickets still available behind the bar at The George On
The Strand, or contact me at 

More details available, click here.                                                                   

Mary Anne and Larry leave St Katharine Docks for Canada

This lively couple will be missed by many of the 
friends made while they birthed here at St K Docks.
Larry hails originally from the UK, becoming an airline
pilot and captain with Air Canada, while Mary Anne
is Canadian, with a music teaching background (at
Ottowa University) and an insatiable appetite for 
baroque music. Following retirement, they watched 
their beloved Traversay III being built, then sailing it 
around the world for the last nine years. They stayed 
here for six months last year, then returned following 
a cruise around Germany and Norway (where the above 
picture was taken). During the past six months here,
Mary Anne has had a hired clavichord on board and has 
helped to raise £1200 for Red Nose Day; she has loved 
all the free music concerts and museum visits here, as 
well as playing baroque music with other talented artists.
Larry has loved jogging as far as Shadwell Basin and lots
of splendid walks around London. Not everyone has a 
state of the art electronic piano under the bed, but, of 
course, they do! Larry is a great computer buff, so he is 
OK too.They both feel deeply touched by the friendliness 
of the community here, particularly the Friends Of St 
Katharine Docks and others in the boating community.
They are now returning to Canada, so bon voyage and 
very best wishes. 

Easter Day At All Hallows By The Tower

This ceremony took place at the beginning of the Easter Day
service at All Hallows By The Tower. The Paschal Candle was 
lit from the new fire and taken into the church, representing 
the resurrection of Christ, to set christians aflame with the 
love of God and the radiance of His heavenly glory. 
Rev'd Bertrand Olivier (pictured here) is the vicar of All Hallows, 
which is the oldest church in the City, founded centuries 
before The Tower Of London, though closely associated 
neighbours. The fine, grade one listed building dates back to 
675 AD and is steeped in history, including an uncovered 
Roman pavement and the tower from which Samuel Pepys 
and his friend, Admiral Sir William Penn (his son, also named 
William, who founded Pennsylvania) watched as London 
burned in the Great Fire Of London in 1666.

Next Talk- Charles Dickens And His London, April 9th 2013

BBC's excellent programme, Any Questions, came from Rochester this week, where Dickens lived as a child and is nearby to Gad's Hill Place, his famous home in later life. A searching question was asked about the poverty, hunger and homelessness of many against the greed, exploitation and self satisfaction of the few in Dickens time and would he find much change in the                                  
UK of today? There was much discussion about us appreciating education for        
all, good NHS, pensions and improved standard of living. On the down side, it was said that we do now have food vouchers, some extreme poverty, great division between rich and poor, 'if you are poor it's your fault', little compassion and that we should be able to organize society better.  A short while ago Archbishop Rowan Williams said that Dickens great message was that we grow through generosity- food for thought?  Was this one of Dickens's lasting legacies, stimulating thought? Come and share your thoughts at my next Talk on the 9th April. 

Charles Dickens Coffee Shop, Covent Garden

Today, near Covent Garden, is a coffee shop called 
the Charles Dickens. There is a plaque commemorating 
Dickens association with this building; he had lodgings here
for some time above the offices from which he edited a new 

magazine, 'All The Year Round'. This was the successor to 
Household Words, which included the weekly serialization 
of two of his best selling novels, Tale Of Two Cities and 
Great Expectations. His son Charles took over as editor when
he died in 1870. 
Lots more in my next Talk, Charles Dickens And His London                           

Euphoria 2013 Shaw Theatre 20th March

Please be generous in your support for  these young pharmacists, 
working so hard to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. 
Archbishop Rowan Williams, himself an authority on Dickens, said
"You have to grow through generosity - that is, I think, the 
Dickens lesson that I would want to see etched in granite 
across the life of this country," Charles Dickens was truly 
generous in his huge financial support for GOSH- they would have 
closed in the early days had it not been for his strong support. I'll 
be there, talking about Charles Dickens's support for GOSH- hope to see 
you there. Further details on facebook:

If you can't attend, please give generously via Just Giving- their 
website is:-                                 

Euphoria Show at the Shaw Theatre 20th March

Do support this excellent group of 
student pharmacists at UCL It will 
be a most exciting evening of students 
singing and dancing and a dazzling 
fashion show. I will be there as well, 
   talking about Great Ormond  Street
   Hospital. For more details, click the
   link below. Hope to see you there.

Dickens Talks And The George On The Strand

I use the George for my Talks mainly because it is, historically, at the centre of so many Dickensian aspects of London. The Royal Courts of London is opposite, St Mary le Strand and Somerset House are close by, as is Fleet Street, The Old Bailey, the site of Doctors Commons and St Paul's
There is a new page on the website, explaining more about all this.

Somerset House and St Mary le Strand fine old print

This fascinating print shows Somerset House and Mary Le Strand in the 1830's. Charles Dickens father, John, worked as a clerk at Somerset House, then home of the Admiralty, and he was married here at St Mary's in 1809 to Elizabeth, whose father also worked for the Admiralty. This is just down the Strand from the George, where I hold my Talks.


GOSH Collection at Earls Court Underground Station

What a wonderful day, collecting lots of loot for Great 
Ormond Street Hospital at Earls Court Underground Station.Thank you so much to Londonist and Lindsey, 
for helping us to find last minute volunteers, and to 
everyone who so generously gave their time on such 
a cold day. We deeply appreciated the station staff 
being so helpful, many thanks. You may already know 
that Dickens was a great benefactor to the early 
GOSH- without him the hospital would not have

      Niki and Natalie with the Station Supervisor

Dickens Day For Great Ormond Street Hospital

We are collecting at Earls Court 
Underground Station this Saturday
for GOSH and still need volunteers 
to help. If you can spare two hours, 
please get in touch with me at 
The same applies if you want to 
send a contribution, Please help,
WE NEED YOU- Many Thanks.

Royal Courts Of Justice and my Talks at The George

The Royal Courts Of Justice is opposite The George, where I give my Talks 
about Dickens. It is one of the most impressive buildings in Europe, dominating 
the area with its majestic Gothic facade in Portland Stone. The magnificent 
Great Hall leads towards eighty courts, each individually designed, with Number 
Four being that used by the Lord Chief Justice. Entrance is free and well worth
a visit. 

Gladstone and Disraeli united their efforts to obtain the money and push 
through the reform act needed to sweep away the outdated courts at 
Westminster and Doctors Commons and build the fine new Royal Courts. 
It was opened in 1882, with great, triumphant ceremony by Queen Victoria. 
Dickens had died twelve years earlier, and would have been proud to have 
known that he had played a key role in it's creation, through his heavy 
criticism, not least in his masterpiece which is Bleak House.

My Talks at the George In The Strand.

I present my Talks at the George In The Strand mainly because of its splendid location for 'things Dickensian.' Close to The George are the following:

The Royal Courts Of Justice: (opposite). This was built  following massive criticism of the legal system by Dickens, not least from his novel Bleak House.

Somerset House: (two minutes walk). Dickens's father worked here as a clerk in the Admiralty.

St Mary On The Strand: (in the middle of the road, opposite Somerset House). This is the church in which Charles Dickens was married).

The Old Bailey: (eight minutes walk or bus). The worst criminal cases are still tried here. In Dickensian times, the gallows was ever pervasive.

St Pauls Cathedral: (10 minutes walk or bus). Magnificent, inspirational, awesome to Dickens and admired worldwide.

                          for more details, press here.

Queen Victoria about Charles Dickens And Excellence

Next Talk, Tuesday March 5th. In my next monthly Talk, 
entitled Charles Dickens And Excellence, we'll discuss 
how others perceived Dickens, his aspirations and legacy. 
Queen Victoria commented, shortly after Dickens died, 
'He had a large loving mind and the strongest sympathy 
with the poorer classes. He felt sure a better feeling, 
and much greater  union of classes would take place in
time. And I pray earnestly it may'. We'll also look at some 
of his critics and their views. 

For further details and booking tickets                                            

President Obama And Charles Dickens Are Socialists?

Tom Murse wrote: What do legendary British author Charles Dickens and U.S. President Barack Obama have in common? Both Dickens and Obama were accused of being socialists in their day. Dickens was accused of being a socialist after writing "Hard Times." Obama was accused of being a socialist for trying to end hard times. Clinton White House adviser Dick Morris claimed  that conservatives were "enraged at Barack Obama's socialism and radicalism." But it was the author's 1854 publication of Hard Times, a serial advocating for social reform, that ignited debate over whether Dickens was a socialist. Many critics of the
time saw Hard Times as an attack on capitalism and portrayed Dickens as a "sullen socialist." Could we do with him and his valiant spirit for reform today? More at my Talk on Tuesday.

The American Dream In decline

The American Dream is surely in sharp decline, similarly in the UK we need to reestablish our ideals; compassion and generosity have been thrown out with the bathwater, and morals in the widest sense have eroded enormously. Dickens spent his lifetime showing us how to grow and prosper through generosity- his working in the bootblacking factory shamed society when they heard about it, and drove him on as a reformer from his own observation- our politicians don’t have these ‘from the gut’ experiences, but theirs and corporate profits grow, unlike the poor workers, gradually being replaced by 3rd world 
workforces, who often toil in dreadful conditions reminiscent of Dickens’s time. My word,
 we could do with him now- Of course he was no saint, but his views about law, education, poverty, transport and the rest would be most welcome today, to help focus our attention and get us away from the current serious decline in standards. More of this in my Talk on Tuesday.

Claire Tomalin talks about Charles Dickens Relevance Today

As reported by Mailonline, Dickens expert Claire Tomalin said that Dickens’ relevance to modern society is apparent in his portrayal of the proletariat and the importance he gave to the working classes. She said: 'When he went to America in 1842, one of the points he made was that the "unimportant" and "peripheral" people were just as interesting to write about as "great" people.'You only have to look around our society and everything he wrote about in the 1840s is still relevant - the great gulf between the rich and poor, corrupt financiers, corrupt Members of Parliament, how the country is run by Old Etonians, you name it, he said it'. Food for thought, isn't it? Lots more at my next Talk on Tuesday 5th Feb at The George.

Charles Dickens And His Relevance Today, next Talk on Feb 5th

In my next Talk, about Charles Dickens 
relevance today, I will discuss just how much 
we have to learn from his values and his striving 
for better standards in society. He would have so 
much to say about what is wrong in politics, 
industry, wealth creation, banking, lack of 
generosity and compassion. Archbishop Rowan 
Williams,a fine Dickens scholar, speaks 
provocatively about how Dickens pleaded for 
personal development through generosity, 
'the Dickens lesson that should be etched in
granite across the life of this country'. 
Much more of this on Feb 5th.

   Venue: George In The Strand


Merry Christmas and my next Talk is on Friday 28th December

My next Talk, Charles Dickens And His Christmas, will be held at The George In The Strand, this Friday at 4.30 pm. Many thanks and appreciation to all the people who have contacted me during this great year celebrating 200 years of Dickens and his greatness- we now have the splendidly up to date Dickens Museum open again in Doughty Street. The recent Dickens Day for Great Ormond Street Hospital was greatly enjoyed, and we will continue to fund raise next year. I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year in true Dickensian fashion.
To book tickets for my next Talk, press here. Also available at The George.

Christmas Carol And Dickens Christmas

Certainly, Charles Dickens influenced the  revival of Christmas as the national holiday that we know today. The success of A Christmas Carol was overshadowed by another writer copying the story and publishing. Dickens was furious and sued for compensation; he won his case, but the defendant declared bankruptcy, so Dickens was left to pay his costs, which virtually wiped out the profits from A Christmas Carol. Dickens recalled “the expense, and anxiety and horrible injustice of the Carol case,” adding to his bitterness 
about the legal profession. This experience  influenced Dickens in his writing of Bleak House, which helped to improve the system and eventually to the 
building of The Royal Courts Of Justice. Hear more at my next Talk, Introducing Charles Dickens And His Christmas, at The George In The Strand on Friday 28 th December at 4.30 pm.

Charles Dickens Museum reopens well improved

Yes they have updated the museum with great thought 
and dedication; there is much to see and it's well worth 
a visit, whether to satisfy curiosity as to why there has 
been so much publicity about Dickens this year, or to 
better understand him by sharing details about his life, 
in the actual rooms where he and his family lived, loved, 
  entertained, worked, thrived and suffered grief. 
  Charles Dickens Museum London is an essential part of 
  London, as necessary to visit as the Tower and Trafalgar 
  Square- just go. you won't be disappointed.


Happy Birthday Chantelle

Chantelle talked brilliantly at Dickens Day For GOSH about her gratitude to Great Ormond Street Hospital. She was 15 and a Sickle Cell Survivor. When she was 4, she was diagnosed with Sickle Cell and had complications with stroke, coma, meningitis and kidney infection. Her 16th birthday is today, the 8th December and she says 'I am very grateful to Great Ormond Street Hospital for the work they do that helps children like myself". As a well deserved present, she is invited, with her sister and Mum, to the Arts Theatre, to a  performance of Simon Callow in 'A Christmas Carol'. 
On behalf of all our volunteers, have a splendid 16th birthday and a wonderful theatre visit! 
Many happy returns, Chantelle!

Please go to her blog to read more about her journey.  You can also search for Chantelle’s Dream on twitter and facebook to stay in touch.

Chuzzlewits Christmas Supper Dance For GOSH

   Supper Dance at Chuzzlewits     

       Saturday 8th December from 7.30p.m.

        *  Traditional Christmas Dinner (or alternative available)
        *  Christopher West will give a short summary of the recent Dickens Day For      
                 GOSH event at the Royal Society For Medicine.
        *  There will also be a fun, festive Twist With Dickens Quiz
        *  Cost £11.95 + £5 donation for GOSH

The venue is in Thomas More Square, up from Waitrose. near Fitness First. 10 minute walk from Tower Hill Tube or use 100 bus. For tickets, please email or phone 02035833328
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