Royal Academy of Music

 

The Royal Academy of Music is a conservatoire in London, England and a constituent college of the University of London. It was founded in 1822 and is Britain’s oldest degree-granting music school. It received a Royal Charter in 1830. It is a registered charity under English law.

 

Fanny Dickens

Frances Dickens (1810-1848), more commonly known as Fanny Dickens, was the beloved older sister of Charles Dickens and the first child of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow following their marriage the previous year. Fanny had a talent for music and began attending the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 14. She won their silver medal and second prize for piano and later taught there.

1824 was however a difficult year for the Dickens family.

In February, John Dickens was arrested for his failure to repay a debt. He was sentenced to be confined in the Marshalsea debtor’s prison in Borough until the debts were paid. The family home was given up, and the entire family, with the exception of Charles and Fanny moved into John’s prison cell. During this time, on Sunday’s Charles would meet his sister and the pair would visit their father in prison as the author recalls in a letter, published in John Forsters biography:

Sundays Fanny and I passed in the prison. I was at the academy in Tenterden Street, Hanover Square, at nine o’clock in the morning, to fetch her; and we walked back there together at night.

 

In 1827, the Dickens family were again plunged into financial difficulties and Fanny was forced to leave the Royal Academy of Music, but continued to study part-time in returning for teaching.

In 1837, Fanny Dickens married Henry Burnett, a fellow pupil from the Royal Academy of Music.

 

Location

The Academy’s first building was in Tenterden Street, Hanover Square. Since 1911, the facilities have been located on Marylebone Road in central London[ adjacent to Regent’s Park.

 

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