I visited Portsmouth specifically for two reasons, the famous maritime museum and Charles Dickens’s birthplace. When I arrived at the Dickens house, I was the only visitor. Before I left, several other people did visit. Viewers enter the house through the lower level, which happened to be the kitchen when the Dickens family lived at the site. This room contains the only original piece of furniture surviving from that time period, a built-in cupboard. The city has done an excellent job in refurbishing the home in early 1800’s Regency style. The paint, wallpaper and furniture all exemplify what might be found in the typical middle class home of this period. If these furnishings mirror what the Dickens family owned, they enjoyed a very nice life style. Charles’ father did obtain decent positions, but his financial difficulties were the result of living well above his means. The house does contain a day couch reported to be the one in which he was using when he died. I believe it was donated to the museum by one of his relatives. However, there is an identical couch at his former home in Rochester, “Gad’s Hill.”. They also claim to have the original couch. None-the-less, this museum is a “must see’ for all who love the works of Charles Dickens.
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