Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine lived here with the eldest three of their ten children, with the older two of Dickens’ daughters, Mary Dickens and Kate Macready Dickens being born in the house.
A new addition to the household was Dickens’ younger brother Frederick. Also, Catherine’s 17-year-old sister Mary moved with them from Furnival’s Inn to offer support to her newly married sister and brother-in-law. It was not unusual for a woman’s unwed sister to live with and help a newly married couple. Dickens became very attached to Mary, and she died in his arms after a brief illness in 1837. She inspired characters in many of his books, and her death is fictionalized as the death of Little Nell. Dickens had a three-year lease (at £80 a year) on the property. He would remain here until 1839 after which he moved on to grander homes as his wealth increased and his family grew. However, this is his only surviving London house.