Dirty Dick

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Nathaniel Bentley

Nathaniel Bentley (c. 1735–1809), commonly known as Dirty Dick, was an 18th-century merchant who owned a hardware shop and warehouse in London, and is one person who is considered as a possible inspiration for Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations after he refused to wash following the death of his fiancée on their wedding day.[1][2]

Dirty Dick's pub in Bishopsgate has existed for over 200 years.

He was a previous owner of a pub on Bishopsgate, in the City of London, which is named after him.[3]


Bentley had been quite a dandy in his youth, but following the death of his fiancée on their wedding day he refused to wash or clean and for the rest of his life lived in squalor.[4] His house and warehouse shop became so filthy that he became a celebrity of dirt. Any letter addressed to "The Dirty Warehouse, London" would be delivered to Bentley. He stopped trading in 1804. The warehouse was later demolished.

He died at Haddington about 1809, and was buried in Aubourn parish church.[5]

Dirty Dick's pub[edit]

A pub on Bishopsgate which Bentley once owned changed its name from The Old Jerusalem to Dirty Dick's, and recreated the look of Bentley's warehouse shop.

The contents, including cobwebs and dead cats, were originally a part of the cellar bar, but have now been tidied to a glass display case. Successive owners of the Bishopsgate distillery and its tap capitalised on the legend. By the end of the nineteenth century, its owner, a public house company called William Barker's (D.D.) Ltd., was producing commemorative booklets and promotional material to advertise the pub.

The pub is now owned by Young's.[6]


  1. ^ "48 hours in Dickensian London - UK, Travel - The Independent". www.independent.co.uk. 12 January 2002. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  2. ^ "JSTOR: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 9, No. 4 (March 1955), pp. 301-307". 9: 301–307. JSTOR 3044395. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Rick Steves' London - Google Books. books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  4. ^ A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America - Google Books. books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  5. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGrant, Arthur Henry (1885). "Bentley, Nathaniel". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  6. ^ Forever Young's, Helen Osborn, Young & Co's Brewery, 2004, ISBN 978-0-9518167-3-8

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′05″N 0°04′47″W / 51.5180°N 0.0796°W / 51.5180; -0.0796