Sunday 11 April 2010

Thomas de Quincey and Charles Dickens

Thomas de Quinceys blue plaque in Tavistock Street.
The house Thomas de Quincey lived in while writing, Confessions of an Opium Eater.

The Lyceum Theatre in Wellington Street just off the Strand. Many of Dickens stories were dramatised here and it became famous for the production of HAIR in the 1960's.

The corner of Wellington Street and Tavistock Street. The offices of All the Year Round were in this building. You can just see the Lyceum theatre in the background. The pale stone fronted building further down the street was the site of the offices for Houshold Words.

Dickens had a flat on the top floor for when he wanted to stay in town over night. He was living at the time at Gads Hill near Rochester. A thirty mile walk for Dickens, which he often did.

The offices for Dickens magazine, All the year Round. There is a coffee shop now on the ground floor.

The studious, hard working Dickens, showing total concentration.
Dickens,strong and determined.
Thomas De Quincey.The eyes tell a story. I have got a passion for photographing blue plaques in London. For those who have been to London I am sure you have noticed blue plaques dotted about the place on various buildings.

They are there to commemorate a famous person who once lived in that house. A blue plaque usually gives the name of the person, their date of birth and death and their occupation.

Tavistock Street and Wellington Street are two such roads that have the honour of having blue plaques. The two streets join each other. They are close The Strand. The Lyceum theatre is in Wellington Street about 100 yards from the corner of Tavistock Street.

Thomas de Quincey, the writer of Confessions of an Opium Eater, lived in Tavistock Street. Charles Dickens opened the offices of his magazine, All The Year Round, on the corner of Tavistock Street and Wellington Street. De Quincey died in the year 1859 the very year Dickens moved into the corner offices. However Dickens had worked for the magazine Household Words before this. The offices to this magazine was also in Wellington Street opposite the Lyceum Theatre. Dickens may well have seen or met De Quincey.

Dickens would often dash down Wellington Street to the Lyceum to help his friend , Fletcher, with the productions at the the theater. Stage versions of ,The Cricket on the Hearth, and A tale of two Cities, as well as other adaptations of Dickens works, were performed there.

De Quincey might have been amused with the goings on at the Lyceum theater in the 1960's, a mere few hundred yards from his own front door. The musical HAIR opened there. Nudity , lewdness, drug taking, the psychedelic experience, De Quincey would have known it well. Did he invent the phrases, "Yeah man!. Cool. Right on." De Quincey definitely, "let it,all hang out."
"Give Peace a chance!" De Quinceys friend John Lennon thought that up. Oh sorry, I'm getting confused,must cut down on my opium intake. The fantasies are taking over. John Lennon and de Quincey, of course not!!!!!

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