Charles Dickens’s former summer home, dubbed “Bleak House,” has recently been put up for sale for £2 million. (Click here to see the listing for the house, which has six-bedrooms, a sea-facing study, as well as a music room, gymnasium and substantial gardens.) It also retains some original features including a mahogany staircase and fireplaces. The contents of the study, including a desk that may have been used by Dickens to pen David Copperfield, are up for sale under a separate negotiation.
The cliff-top mansion in the coastal town of Broadstairs, Kent, was home to the author during the summers of 1849, 1850 and 1851 when he was working on David Copperfield. The name “Bleak House” is actually a misnomer given to the house long after Dickens’s death in 1870–it was not the original mansion on which that book was based, which is believed to be located in St Albans, Hertfordshire. He did, however, begin formulating the story for Bleak House (considered by some to be his best novel) while living in the house, which he described lovingly as his “airy nest.” Built in 1801 as the residence of a Napoleonic Wars-era fort commander, the house was known as Fort House during Dickens’ time.
The coastal town of Broadstairs, which he called “our English watering place,” is proud of its Dickens connections, boasting three more addresses where the writer stayed on his breaks from London. The original Betsey Trotwood, Copperfield’s great-aunt, is said to have lived at a house in the town which is now known as Dickens House Museum. –Joni Rendon