Charles Dickens has strong connections with this area. In making his home at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham, Dickens drew inspiration from the locality, its people and its buildings extensively within his novels. Many of those places and the countryside he loved to walk in can be seen and experienced today.
Dickens visited Gravesend, at Chalk he spent his honeymoon, at Higham he lived and died, and at Cobham he found inspiration for the Pickwick Papers. Follow our trail of tales, history and novels still with us today.
Great strides are being taken towards the opening of Charles Dickens’ home at Gad’s Hill Place, Higham as a Dickens Visitor Centre. Acquired by Dickens in 1856, he first saw Gad’s Hill Place as a child when he went on walks in the area with his father and dreamed of one day owning it. It is at Gad’s Hill Place that Dickens spent the last years of his life, entertaining prominent guests such as the American poet Longfellow and the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. Dickens died at the house the day after being taken ill with a brain haemorrhage in the dining room, on 9 June 1870.
A Trust, the Charles Dickens Centre (Gad’s Hill) Limited, has been formed to fund raise and take forward the establishment of this centre as a focus for Dickens’ life and works. Planning permission was granted in July 2010 for the conversion of this listed property into a Dickens Visitor Centre once Gads Hill School who currently occupy the property move out and into new junior and school buildings within the grounds.