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What Does Charles Dickens and Anna Sewell Have in Common?


Charles Dickens' visit to Great Yarmouth

Charles Dickens (1812 - 1849) is one of the best story tellers in living history. And he visited Gt Yarmouth on 7th January 1849 with 2 friends, John Leech and Mark Lemon. They stayed at The Royal Hotel on Marine Parade on the seafront. Although they were only in the town for 3 days, the town clearly inspired him to write the book David Copperfield. The main character in his book, David Copperfield, was born in Blundeston in Suffolk, (which Dickens walked through.) But there are many parts of the town which are described in the book. One of the other characters, Clara Peggoty, describes the town as 'the finest place in the Universe.' Although I'm sure people may disagree with that point today! The book was serialized in 1849 and is set around Norfolk and Suffolk, amongst other places.

Dickens and his friends actually walked from Great Yarmouth to Lowestoft and back. There are also streets in Gt Yarmouth named after Dickens and characters from his books. And these are:-

  • Barkis Road
  • Copperfield Road
  • Dickens Avenue
  • Micauber Avenue
  • Peggoty Road

And in the hotel itself there is a plaque on the wall telling guests and visitors that Charles Dickens stayed at the hotel.


Anna Sewell's connections to Great Yarmouth

Famous for writing Black Beauty, Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth in 1820. The house she was born in is now called The Anna Sewell House and is located just outside St Nicholas Minster. Anna wrote Black Beauty while she was she was living in Old Catton in Norfolk. Anna had disabilities from a very early age, but she was still able to ride her father's horse and cart. She had an affection for horses and cared greatly about their welfare.

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Black Beauty wasn't actually published until the later years of her life, when she was 57. And it's sad to think that only a few months after its publication she passed away. But the book is still loved and read today buy people.


In Summary

Although Great Yarmouth nowadays is known for it's tourism, there is lots of history which goes back hundreds of years. And to think that people like Charles Dickens and Anna Sewell visited here makes me wonder how many people know this when they visit here. Of course, Horatio Nelson also visited the town and was given Freedom of the Borough. History is a passion of mine and the deeper I dig, the more I find out about the rich heritage of the town.

© 2021 Louise Powles

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