Wellington House Academy was a private school near Granby Terrace, Hampstead Road where the Victorian writer Charles Dickens was educated between the ages of 12 and 15.
Charles Dickens and Wellington House Academy.
After a row with the owner of Warrens Blacking Factory, Charles Dickens was removed and sent to get an education at the Wellington House Academy in Hampstead Road, Mornington Place. As a day scholar he was taught English, French and Latin, writing and Mathematics. He and the other boys kept white mice in school desks and it is reported that Charles entertained his classmates by writing stories and plays for them.
Although the exact dates are unknown it is believed that Charles attended days at the Wellington House Academy from the early part of 1825 to around Easter time of 1827, when he gained work as a solicitor’s clerk at Gray’s Inn.
At the time Dickens attended Wellington House it was run by Mr. William Jones. A sadistic Master, Jones was the inspiration for Mr. Creakle and his School for Salem House in the novel David Copperfield. Jones died on 20 January 1836, at the age of 59 and was buried in St. Pancras churchyard.
Over the years after Jones died the building suffered from development of railways towards the rear, knocking down part of the School including the playground.
The artist Walter Richard Sickert (1860 – 1942) rented studio space in the building in the early part of the twentieth century. A painting of people inside the building, entitled Wellington House Academy is in the care of Kirkcaldy Galleries.
After World War II the house fell into disrepair. A news article from The Times in 1960 with the headline “Dickens’s old School in a sad plight” reported that “the house now stands empty and shattered, every window broken, its sooty garden choked with weeds”.
The School no longer exists but was located at the corner of Granby Terrace and Hampstead Road.
Dickens lived a short walk away from Wellington House in a house in Johnson Street (now Cranleigh Street).
|Wellington House Academy.|
Site of the Wellington House Academy at the corner of Granby Terrace and Hampstead Road.