Cake expectations … it was delicious!
“Is it really a cake? ” That’s a phrase we heard from thousands of people visiting our Welcome to the Jungle exhibit. Yes it is cake and, what’s more, it’s really delicious cake.
To celebrate the recent opening of their new Portsmouth store, Oak Furniture Land commissioned CakeBomb to create a cake to replicate the famous Martin Jennings statue of Charles Dickens in Portsmouth. The cake artist was Laura Miller of sweetassugarcakes.co.uk.
You can see it below. It was presented to Portsmouth museum, and the next day it had been demolished by staff and visitor.
“A crime!” I hear you cry.
Well, wouldn’t it be a crime not to eat it! We hope it was enjoyed by all.
ADEN & EDIN
Two Dickensians who share their birthday with Charles Dickens
A Very Dickens Birthday
by Emily SmithPosted on February 02, 2018 by Jaanuja Sriskantha
150 years ago, Charles Dickens celebrated his 56th birthday. This birthday was like no other as it fell during his American Reading Tour.
Charles Dickens was born on the 7th of February 1812. His birthday remained a special occasion throughout his adult life. He wrote in a humorous letter to young master W H Hughes (who was five years old at the time) ‘I always go to bed at eight o'clock except when it is my birthday, and then I sit up to supper.’
An image of young Wilkie Collins, who was often invited to walk and dine with Dickens on his birthday.
Dickens’s annual celebration usually consisted of an intimate dinner surrounded by his closest friends. His letters frequently detail who was lucky enough to be invited to the ‘Inimitable's Birthday.’ The most frequent guests included John Forster, Thomas Beard, Peter Cunningham and Wilkie Collins. The dinner was often held at home, or one of Dickens's favourite restaurants. Sometimes the day also included one of Dickens’s favourite past times, a long walk. He quite frequently asked some of his friends to join him, but they had to make sure to bring ‘a clean pair of boots, for comfort's sake, in a carpet bag.’ On one of these walks, Dickens spotted his future home, Gad’s Hill was up for sale. He wrote ‘The spot and the very house are literally a dream of my childhood.’ Little could prevent Dickens from taking a birthday stroll, even the weather. On his 43rd birthday, Dickens ‘walked from Gravesend to Rochester between walls of snow varying from three to six feet high’. The birthday tradition of a walk and a meal shows that this is likely to have been Dickens’s favourite way to celebrate this special day.
Dickens’s walking stick, with an engraved handle. Charles Dickens Museum Collection (DH717).
Dickens’s usual birthday routine was broken when he travelled to America from November 1857 to April 1858. His birthday fell halfway through his Reading Tour and he was suffering from a severe cold while staying in Washington. He writes to Georgina Hogarth that if anyone saw him in the morning, it would cause doubts ‘that I could not possibly read at night. But I have always come up to the scratch.’ Even a severe cold would not stop Dickens from entertaining his audience. However, this birthday would prove to be a memorable one for a far different reason. Dickens said ‘I couldn't help laughing at myself on my birthday at Washington. It was observed as much as though I were a little boy.’ The American newspapers wrote that it was his birthday and as a result, he was sent a tremendous number of gifts. ‘Flowers and garlands (of the most exquisite kind) bloomed all over the room, letters radiant with good wishes poured in, a shirt pin, a handsome silver travelling bottle, a set of gold shirt studs, and a set of gold sleeve links were on the dinner-table.’
Two stereoscopic images of Dickens aged 56. When viewed with a stereoscope, a three-dimensional image would be seen. Charles Dickens Museum Collection (E198).
He was delighted, and the gifts came from ‘all sorts of people’. But that was not all. The very same day, Charles Dickens also met President of the United States, Andrew Johnson. Dickens describes his meeting with the president in much less detail than the gifts he had received and his head cold. Dickens does not indicate what the two men spoke about, but he does say that the president was ‘a man of very remarkable appearance indeed, of tremendous firmness of purpose. Not to be turned, or trifled with.’ It does not appear to have been the friendliest of meetings as Dickens also says, ‘each of us looked at each other very hard, and each of us managed the interview (I think) to the satisfaction of the other.’
President Andrew Johnson. The two men met on Dickens’s birthday in Washington, 1858. Image source: http://bit.ly/2DQfXS1
After his meeting with the president, Dickens prepared for his readings, predicting that there would likely be more presents waiting for him in the Hall that evening. When he had finished his reading that night ‘the whole audience rose and remained standing and cheering until I went back to the table and made them a little speech.’ He concludes by saying ‘my audiences have been superb.’
Dickens’s 56th birthday was most certainly a memorable one. The number of gifts shows Dickens was greatly admired by his American fans. What is most interesting is that Dickens seems to have been more delighted by the gifts and encounters with his American audience, than his meeting with the American president.
Emily Smith is a PhD student working with the Charles Dickens Museum. She is researching Charles Dickens and the Heritage Industry at Royal Holloway.
Unknown Brief About Charles Dickens’ JournalismJanuary 27, 2018 11:28 pm0 commentsViews: 217
When people mention Charles Dickens, even those who have no firsthand experience reading his novels are likely to have heard of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, the poor orphan Oliver, or the spinster Miss Havisham. Indeed, Dickens’s fictional characters have survived the test of time, continuing still to make their appearances in popular culture today. It is a lesser known fact, however, that Dickens began his career as a reporter, and was furthermore one of the most famous journalists of the Victorian era. The following chronicles three important stages of Dickens’s journalistic career.
Dickens as a Parliamentary Reporter (1831-1833)
At barely twenty years of age, Dickens began his career as a reporter for a newspaper called The Mirror of Parliament in 1831. Dickens worked hard to master the demanding skills of short-hand note-taking, adapting himself to the fast-paced world of parliamentary reporting and making himself known as one of the fastest and most reliable reporters at the paper.
Gradually, Dickens made his way upward, receiving an appointment at the True Sun in 1832, and the Morning Chronicle in 1834. During these years, however, it was clear that the frenetic life of the reporter was beginning to take its toll on the young Dickens. Looking for a way to express himself more fully, Dickens, with trepidation, submitted his first piece of fiction, “A Dinner at Poplar Walk,” to the Monthly Magazine in December 1833.
From Sketches by Boz to Household Words (1833-1859)
The Monthly Magazine accepted Dickens’s story and even signed him up to publish four additional tales, but this was by no means the end of Dickens’s career as a journalist. In fact, these tales were eventually incorporated in 1836 into a collection of works called Sketches by Boz, generally known as a mix of journalistic and literary pieces on “everyday life” in London. Prior to their incorporation under Sketches by Boz, these pieces were published separately in various newspapers and periodicals between 1833-1836.
Sketches by Boz was received with great enthusiasm by contemporary readers, and might be considered Dickens’s first great success before his Pickwick Papers (1837), which would launch his novelistic career. For Dickens, Sketches allowed him to develop a style of literary journalism which, unlike reporting, provided him with an opportunity for social commentary and deeper reflections on Victorian life.
Following the success of Sketches and Pickwick, Dickens gained admittance into a number of editorial positions, including at Bentley’s Miscellany (1827-1839), and the Daily News (1846). Finally, in 1850, Dickens was enjoying enough success from his novels to start his own weekly magazine called Household Words. Although Household Words published the serialized fiction of a number of Victorian authors like Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell, the magazine was full of topical essays and other features that might be interesting and useful for the every day life of its readers. For Dickens, the overall purpose of Household Words was largely journalistic; like Sketches by Boz, Household Words sought to reflect and shape the society inhabited by himself and his readers.
The Uncommercial Traveller and All the Year Round (1859-1870)
In 1859, Dickens founded another weekly magazine by the name of All the Year Round, which had a much greater focus on publishing fiction. Even at this late stage of Dickens’s career, however, his interest in journalism did not wane. In 1860, at the same time that he was publishing Great Expectations in All the Year Round, Dickens was also publishing a series of journalistic sketches called The Uncommercial Traveller. Like the pieces in Sketches by Boz, those that make up The Uncommercial Traveller often explore scenes of London life, providing detailed, affective descriptions both in the form of stories and reporting.
Scholars have only begun to consider in recent years the importance of journalism to Dickens’s life and work. What is clear is that much a greater understanding of lesser known works such as Sketches by Boz and The Uncommercial Traveller is crucial for forming a better understanding of some of the social motivations behind Dickens’s realist fiction.
Charles Dickens' descendent lifts the lid on feminism and facial hairhttps://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/101222648/charles-dickens-descendent-lifts-the-lid-on-the-relationship-between-feminism-and-facial-hair JAMES CROOT
Last updated 15:46, February 7 2018Lucinda Hawksley says history shows that Britain reaches "peak beard" when a woman is on the throne.
John Quintero Photography
Lucinda Hawksley says history shows that Britain reaches "peak beard" when a woman is on the throne.
It all started, not with an obsession, but rather a phobia.
While working as a freelancer at London's National Portrait Gallery, Lucinda Hawksley noted how revolting most of the Victorian beards on display were and "how horrible they must have smelled".
Invited by the gallery to do a talk on the subject, Hawksley's deep dive into the social history surrounding facial hair eventually led to the publication of a book – Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards – in 2014. Now, she's come halfway around the world to deliver a lecture at the Christchurch Art Gallery this weekend.
Lucinda Hawksley's Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards was published in 2014.
Lucinda Hawksley's Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards was published in 2014.
Using images from the National Portrait Gallery, Hawksley promises to take the audience on a tour of facial-hair fashion from prehistoric times right through to the 21st century – and yes that includes bearded ladies.
* Why men grow their facial hair on holidays
* Dan Stevens reveals his unlikely inspiration for The Man Who Invented Christmas
* The Man Who Invented Christmas: A perfect Christmas fable
"Whenever I said I was writing a book on facial hair people would ask, 'men's or women's?', so I had to include them and, luckily, the gallery has a couple of bearded women in their collection," she says. "In fact, just after I finished writing the book, Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest so I had to hurriedly get my manuscript back so I could add a little bit extra in."
Conchita Wurst's Eurovision success forced Lucinda Hawksley into a last-minute rewrite of her book on facial hair ...Nigel Treblin
Conchita Wurst's Eurovision success forced Lucinda Hawksley into a last-minute rewrite of her book on facial hair throughout history.
As for the most interesting trend she discovered, Hawksley says that has to be that the most heavily bearded times are when women are on the throne.
"I don't know if Jacinda [Ardern] is going to cause this in New Zealand, but as soon as a woman takes power it seems to cause a bigger outpouring of beards. The times that men have grown the most beards in Britain since pre-historic times are under the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. And not just beards, but massive beards.
"Beards suddenly became fashionable in the 19th century when the women's movement was starting to gain force, there was the sexual revolution of the 1960s [which coincided with hippie-esque grooming], and likewise hipster beards coincided with the 'new feminism' in Britain when the likes of Catlin Moran were writing lots about feminism and feminist issues."
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Charles Dickens' descendent Lucinda Hawksley says she was impressed by last year's The Man Who Invented Christmas.
And what's the current trend in the UK? "Waxed moustaches have become a big thing in London. It's probably on its way here – good luck with that."
As well as being an award-winning author, art historian and travel writer, Hawskley also has another claim to fame – she's the great-great-great granddaughter of author Charles Dickens.
The 47-year-old, who has written a number of books about her famous ancestor, says she's impressed by the lengths members of New Zealand's Christchurch-based Dickens Fellowship go to.
"The Christchurch chapter is really good at getting involved in things. There was a Dickens conference in Italy recently to which quite a few Kiwis came."
When asked about Dan Stevens' portrayal of Charles Dickens in the recent movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, Hawksley described the film as "really good fun, if not historically accurate".
"But then again it was meant to be a work of fiction, based on a novel, although that novel has a lot of historical facts in it. Seeing Christopher Plummer on screen [as Scrooge] – that was amazing, for a child who grew up watching The Sound of Music."
Describing A Christmas Carol as "one of the best things ever written", she admits she adored both the 1951 adaptation Scrooge and The Muppets' 1992 take.
"I was dreading Disney's [2009) A Christmas Carol, but it's really good. I thought it was all going to be saccharine, but it was very true to the original  novel, which I didn't expect, and included bits most adaptations leave out. For example, it has Ignorance and Want, the two children who appear with the ghost of Christmas Present. They represent Dickens' main message in writing the novel – child poverty – and show what happens when you mistreat children – they become angry, violent adults."
Her visit to New Zealand also allows Hawksley to indulge in her "most ridiculously expensive hobby" – cetacean spotting.
"I've got a whale watching flight booked – I'm so excited. It's an addiction that kind of affects all of my travelling."
Lucinda Hawksley's free talk on Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards will take place at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu at 3pm on Sunday.