Plans for Britain’s first Charles Dickens statue in Marylebone

Author lived in the area for 11 years from 1839

Britain’s first statue of Charles Dickens could be coming to a public garden in Marylebone.

The Oliver Twist author lived opposite Marylebone Parish Church for 11 years while writing some of his most famous novels including A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield.

Now plans are underway to commemorate Dickens with a statue in the Wesley Memorial Garden which sits behind the church.

Marylebone resident Roger Button says he would like the statue to show Dickens at a young age.

The author was 27 when he moved to Marylebone with his family in 1839 and he stayed there for 11 years until moving to Tavistock House in Bloomsbury.

“It would be a nice way to commemorate where Dickens lived and establish him as a Marylebone resident,” said Mr Button.

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“He was, and still is, such a popular author and I think people will respond to it from all over the world.”

Although a stone carving of an older Dickens with some of his famous characters is located nearby on Marylebone Road, the only figurative statues of the author appear in Philadelphia, USA, and Sydney, Australia.

The Marylebone statue idea has been welcomed by Florian Schweizer, director of the Charles Dickens Museum in Holborn.

“We are very keen to have memorials to Dickens set up,” he said.

“It would be nice to see another feature in a place where he lived and wrote many works. Anything that engages the public and reminds them of the work that he wrote is a welcome development especially if the local community feels it wants to honour Dickens.

“We are trying to promote the image of a younger Dickens because many of his novels were written when he was a young, dynamic man.”

The Wesley Memorial Garden was dug up in 2003 when St Marylebone School built an extension to their school building.

Some residents expressed disappointment that the garden was not restored to its original condition and Mr Button says the Dickens memorial could form part of planned work to fully restore the garden next summer.

“The Wesley memorial could be moved back to where it used to be so people coming by could see it,” he said.

“Once that has been moved there’s a rather nice space for something else.”