Should There Be A Statue Of Dickens In London?

By M@ Last edited 77 months ago
Should There Be A Statue Of Dickens In London?

"I conjure to my friends on no account to make me the subject of any monument, memorial or testimonial whatsoever."

So declaimed Charles Dickens in his Final Will and Testament. It didn't quite work: there are at least 17 plaques and memorials in London commemorating the author's life and his various abodes. Yet, in one respect, Dickens' wish has been upheld. There is not a single public statue to the man in the UK, and never has been.

Next year, this changes. Dickens' home town of Portsmouth will erect his bronze likeness to mark the 200th year since his birth. The 7 ft memorial, showing a seated, aged Dickens, is designed by Martin Jennings, sculptor of the much-loved John Betjeman statue in St Pancras station. The work has the blessing of Dickens' descendants and was instigated by the Dickens Fellowship's Portsmouth branch. They reckon that it's high time their hero was publicly celebrated, and that the reticence to memorials in his will, when read in context, refers to his site of burial and not the wider public realm.

But what of London, the city Dickens is more intimately associated with? Doesn't he deserve a full-on bronze statue in the heart of the capital? If nothing else, he'd keep the tourists happy.

There is already one little-known metallic likeness of the great author in London. It's publicly visible, although on private land. If you head under the arches of the magnificent Prudential Building on High Holborn, you'll find this unassuming commemoration nestling in an alcove. Meanwhile, the cities of Sydney and Philadelphia contain full-size statues. Yet London remains bereft. Please, Sir, we want some more.

Now a will-challenging precedent has been set with the Portsmouth statue, would you like to see a giant metal Dickens in London? If so, where? And how would you pose him?

Last Updated 06 December 2011


There's nothing like honouring a man's dying wish is there?

Christian Furr

Yes there should be a statue of Dickens.
Where? Outside the Old Curiousity Shop And it should be Dickens acting out his role as Dr Marigold 'the cheapjack'


Dickens's characters are what I'd like to be reminded of. A cheesy set-piece would be hilarious and fitting if it engages Londoners.

Tom Morphy

I agree with andygale and Theblazeuk.

Whether Dickens was only against a big mausoleum is tenuously open to interpretation; but it’s clear that he didn’t want an ostentatious fuss being made over his death, and he does make it clear that he wants to be remembered for his published works. Rather than erect another statue (the Indy report "£100,000 was needed to pay for the statue in Portsmouth's Guildhall Square"), how about funding a creative writing course for young people instead?
Appreciate and remember the man by reading his work, rather than giving him a crown of pigeon shit.


"...sculptor of the much-loved John Betjeman statue in St Pancras station." Are you being sarcastic? It's hideous, as are the people in his Battle of Britain memorial on the Embankment.


Actually, I apologise profusely because I'm totally mistaken. I was confusing it with the Lovers statue in Kings Cross. Yes, I am an idiot.


there is a bust of charles dickens in watermans square ec1

J. Marin

Dicken's novels did more than anything to bring out the misery and hipocrisy of industrial Britain.