Charles Dickens Mural – Brocklehurst Street
If you get time check out the Charles Dickens mural on Brocklehurst street. You can see it from the top of the Sainsbury’s shortcut. The mural is accompanied by a caption stating that Charles Dickens lodged nearby at the Five Bells 150 years ago.
Charles is known for his association with Southwark but it is well documented in biographies that he had lodgings in New Cross during the 1860’s. It is said that Charles’s pad was opposite the Five Bells bar in what is now known as 157 New Cross Road or Winkworths estate agents.
This was around the time he was writing ‘Our Mutual Friend’ circa. 1865. In this an area similar to New Cross is described as ‘the flat country tending to the Thames, where Kent and Surrey meet, and where the railways still bestride the market gardens that will soon die under them’. We all know that we love a good railway station in New Cross.
In an 1868 letter penned by Dickens, he mentions that he will travel to Gad’s ‘by some train from New Cross’. Gad’s Hill was his main residence in Higham, Kent.
Why he chose Hatcham Park is not altogether known. However, he did have a long term affair with one of Nunheads celebrities of the time, actress Ellen Ternan. It is rumoured that he died up in Linden Grove, SE15 and that his body was moved to his Gad’s Hill residence to avoid scandal.
More interesting pieces to come from the Hatcham Park area in the future. It’s not all about Gary Oldman, although he is rather famous too!