Dickens' Bookshelf Curiosity

Olga posted a link to an article on unusual book facts, and one of them forced me to google a bit:

"Dickens’s house had a secret door in the form of a fake bookcase. The fake books included titles such as ‘The Life of a Cat’ in 9 volumes."


I am a huge geek over bookshelves that are disguised doors.


One door opens to Charles Dickens fans as another shuts for makeover

Gad's Hill Place in Kent will welcome literary pilgrims while Doughty Street in London closes for rest of bicentenary

Maev Kennedy, The Guardian, 15 March 2012

"...Gad's Hill Place, where Dickens lived with his sister-in-law as housekeeper after his brutal separation from his wife, Catherine, and entertained on an epic scale with a cellar fit for a wine merchant, was sold soon after his death from a stroke, aged 58. The contents were scattered – although a door designed as a fake bookcase, with titles including The Life of a Cat in nine volumes, which Dickens brought from his home in Tavistock Square, remains in the best preserved room, his study."


Wikipedia: Gad's Hill Place

"...Dickens had bookshelves installed in his study at Gads Hill Place, some of which contained dummy books the titles of which he invented to reflect his own prejudices and opinions, including Hansard's Guide to Refreshing Sleep, History of a Short Chancery Suit in twenty-one volumes, Socrates on Wedlock, King Henry the Eighth's Evidences of Christianity, and the series The Wisdom of Our Ancestors: I Ignorance, II Superstition, III The Block, IV The Stake, V The Rack, VI Dirt, and VII Disease. Alongside these was placed a very narrow dummy volume entitled The Virtues of Our Ancestors."


BBC article: In pictures: Charles Dickens' home Gad's Hill in Kent (9 June 2011)

Photo of the bookcase: "Study at Gad's Hill, Hand-painted staircase, The study door features a mock bookshelf which Dickens had installed so that when shut it blends in with the rest of the bookshelves. He invented titles for the dummy books to reflect his own prejudices and opinions."


Annoyingly there are loads of bookcase photos via google search - but most of them lead to Pinterest. And many have no links to where they're from. That's aside from the fact that Pinterest won't just let me look at the images on their webpage without signing in. Grrr.