Cedric Charles Dickens

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Cedric Charles Dickens in 2005

Cedric David Charles Dickens (24 September 1916 – 11 February 2006) was an author and businessman, and the last surviving great-grandson of British author Charles Dickens and steward of his literary legacy.

Biography[edit]

Cedric "Ceddy" Dickens was the son of Philip "Pip" Charles Dickens (1887–1964), a chartered accountant and the first secretary of ICI. He was the grandson of Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, the sixth of Dicken’s ten children, a Common Serjeant of London, and the nephew of Admiral Sir Gerald Charles Dickens.[1] He attended Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating in Law in 1935.[2] Following three trips to the Caribbean by banana boat, Dickens joined the British Tabulating Machine Company in 1937.

Dickens joined the RNVR on the outbreak of World War II in 1939, leaving the Royal Navy in 1946 as a First Lieutenant.[3] While serving in Portsmouth he met his wife Elizabeth Mary Blake (1913–2008), who was serving as a WREN, and whom he married in 1948.[4]

After leaving the Royal Navy, Dickens returned to his old firm, which eventually became ICL, and where he became Director of Communication.[5]

He was a lifelong supporter of the Charles Dickens Museum in Holborn.[5] He was twice President of the Dickens Fellowship, a worldwide association of people who share an interest in the life and works of Charles Dickens,[6] first taking that position on the death of his father in 1968, and again on his retirement in 1976, when he also founded the Dickens Pickwick Club, a society with an international membership. This he kept true to the spirit of the original in The Pickwick Papers by only allowing men to join, which in 2000 led to an accusation of sexism.[7]

Dickens was involved in saving the George and Vulture inn

In demand internationally as a guest and speaker at meetings of Dickens Fellowships and other events connected with Charles Dickens, he also worked to preserve the heritage of the George and Vulture in the City of London, which was frequently mentioned in The Pickwick Papers,[8] where Charles Dickens himself often drank, and which was threatened with demolition; and Gads Hill Place in Kent, Dicken's final home, becoming a governor of Gad's Hill School, which occupies the building today.[9] In 2005 he appeared in the first episode of BBC Four's documentary series Dickens in America with Miriam Margolyes, during which he talked about what it was like growing up as a member of the Dickens family.

Dickens suffered a severe stroke following emergency surgery, and died on 11 February 2006 aged 89.

His autobiography, My Life, was published in 2016 to mark the centenary of his birth. Assembled from Dickens' own writings by his daughter Jane Monk and Marion Dickens Lloyd, the book has an introduction by Miriam Margolyes and was launched at the Charles Dickens Museum in September 2016.[10]

Publications[edit]

  • Christmas With Dickens: The Dickens' Family's 150th Anniversary Gift of a Christmas Carol for Modern-Day Families at Yuletide by Cedric Charles Dickens, David Dickens and Betty Dickens. Pub. by Belvedere Press (1993)
  • The Sayings of Charles Dickens Cedric Charles Dickens (Editor) Pub. by Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd (2006)
  • Drinking with Dickens Cedric Charles Dickens Pub. by New Amsterdam Books (1988)
  • The "George and Vulture" in "Pickwick Papers" Cedric Charles Dickens Pub. by Dickens Publishing (1995)
  • The Miracle of Pickwick or... the Goodness of Pickwickedness Cedric Charles Dickens & Alan S. Watts Pub. by Dickens Publishing (2001)
  • Dining with Dickens Cedric Charles Dickens Pub. by Elvendon Press (1984)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dickens Family Tree website
  2. ^ Trinity Hall, Cambridge Newsletter Michaelmas 2006
  3. ^ Cedric Charles Dickens Memorial Booklet. Published by the City Pickwick Club (2006)
  4. ^ Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, editor, Burke's Irish Family Records (London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976), Blake, page 123
  5. ^ a b The Times obituary 22 February 2006
  6. ^ Dickens interview on Britannia.com
  7. ^ 'Modern Pickwickians maintain bar on women' The Independent 10 December 2000
  8. ^ The "George and Vulture" in "Pickwick Papers" Cedric Charles Dickens Pub. by Dickens Publishing (1995)
  9. ^ Gads Hill School News Archive 5 May 2007
  10. ^ 'Biography of Cedric Charles Dickens published' - the Dickens Fellowship website

External links[edit]