Charles Dickens Dies

On 8 June 1870, Dickens suffered another stroke at his home, after a full day's work on Edwin Drood.

The next day, on 9 June, and five years to the day after the Staplehurst crash, he died at Gad's Hill Place never having regained consciousness. The great author was mourned by all his readers. Contrary to his wish to be buried at Rochester Cathedral "in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner", he was laid to rest in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey. The inscription on his tomb reads: "CHARLES DICKENS Born 7th February 1812 Died 9th June 1870." A printed epitaph circulated at the time of the funeral reads: "To the Memory of Charles Dickens (England's most popular author) who died at his residence, Higham, near Rochester, Kent, June 9th, 1870, aged 58 years. He was a sympathiser with the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."

On Sunday, 19 June 1870, five days after Dickens's interment in the Abbey, Dean Arthur Penrhyn Stanley delivered a memorial elegy, lauding "the genial and loving humorist whom we now mourn", for showing by his own example "that even in dealing with the darkest scenes and the most degraded characters, genius could still be clean, and mirth could be innocent." Pointing to the fresh flowers that adorned the novelist's grave, Stanley assured those present that "the spot would thenceforth be a sacred one with both the New World and the Old, as that of the representative of literature, not of this island only, but of all who speak our English tongue."

Dickens's will stipulated that no memorial be erected to honour him. The only life-size bronze statue of Dickens, cast in 1891 by Francis Edwin Elwell, is located in Clark Park in the Spruce Hill neighbourhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.

n 1858-68 Dickens gave lecturing tours in Britain and the United States. By the end of his last American tour, Dickens could hardly manage solid food, subsisting on champagne and eggs beaten in sherry. In an opium den in Shadwell, Dickens saw an elderly pusher known as Opium Sal, who then featured in his mystery novel THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD. He collapsed at Preston, in April 1869, after which his doctors put a stop to his public performances. Dickens died at Gadshill on suddenly of a stroke on June 8, 1870. Some of his friends later thought the readings killed him. Dickens had asked that he should be buried "in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner".

When he was a boy Charles Dickens and his father took a walk through Kent. On Gravesend Road they passed a house called Gad's Hill Place. Young Charles was very impressed.

His family was plagued with financial problems. However this imposing structure seemed to be part of a different world. His father noted his interest and told Charles that if he "were to be very persevering and work very hard" he might one day live there.

He did. He bought the house in 1856 and lived there until his death in 1870.