Nathaniel Bentley, 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.
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. 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.
Dirty Dick's pub
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 19th 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.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Grant, Arthur Henry (1885). "Bentley, Nathaniel". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 4. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Forever Young's, Helen Osborn, Young & Co's Brewery, 2004, ISBN 978-0-9518167-3-8