Canterbury's literary links
Dickens' Canterbury Connections
As a young adult, Charles Dickens spent most of his time in London before moving with his family to live in Kent. He mostly lived in Chatham and Rochester and retired to Gads Hill in Gravesend.
From various records and accounts, we know Dickens spent a lot of time visiting and staying in Canterbury and is believed to have been the inspiration for his 1849 novel The Personal History of David Copperfield.
David Copperfield was Dickens’s eighth novel and one that held a special place in his heart, he often referred to it as his 'favorite child'. It's considered to be his most autobiographical book and, with so much of Canterbury being featured in it, it's clear how fond he was of the city.
When showing his wife and their family and friends around, he would become their unofficial city guide, admiring and joking about Canterbury's 'bulging buildings' and their crookedness! In the diary of Annie Fields, wife of Dickens' American agent, she wrote about one visit where they "explored the city under Dickens' direction till it was nearly dark".