Dickens brought with him not only his wife Catherine and their new son, Charley, but also Catherine’s 17 year old sister Mary, which wasn’t an uncommon practice at the time. But within six weeks a tragedy befell the home when Mary suddenly collapsed from heart failure.
Mary Hogarth died in Dickens’s arms on 7th May, 1837. This was to be a tragic event that Charles Dickens would carry with him the rest of his life.
The two years that Dickens lived at Doughty Street were extremely productive, for here he completed The Pickwick Papers, wrote the whole of Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and started work on Barnaby Rudge. Dickens stayed at Doughty Street from 1837-1839 but with his growing family requiring more room, he moved to Devonshire Terrace.
48 Doughty Street remained a residential property after Dickens left, but was threatened with demolition in 1923. It was acquired by the Dickens Fellowship and opened as a museum in 1925. Today, the Charles Dickens Museum is home to the world’s finest collection of Dickens-related material.