East Anglia, Land of the Iceni East Anglia in book and film

David Copperfield
by Charles Dickens

First published in 20 monthly parts in London by Bradbury & Co. 1850, The Personal History And Experience Of David Copperfield The Younger is said to be a combination of Dickens own memories of his childhood intermixed with characters & locations found during his visit to East Anglia in January 1849.

The story has been the subject of several BBC TV productions and a couple of films.

Charles Dickens visited Gt Yarmouth in January 1849, and during his short time there, walked to Lowestoft and back, no doubt stopping for refreshments and a look around the village of Blundestone. A year later, the first part of David Copperfield was published.

Book illustration by Phiz
Martha - Illustration from original book by Phiz

The Gt Yarmouth of 1849 looked very different to what we see today. The spit of sand between the river and the sea was then only half occupied with housing. At the south end, where the funfair and the industrial buildings stand today, the Navy Hospital and the Nelson's monument stood alone among the sand dunes. And no doubt there was an old boat among the dunes that had been turned into a home for an old fisherman. Visiting in January, with a cold wind blowing off the North Sea, it's easy to see that the picture would have been engraved on his mind.
And in sharp contrast to the cold weather, the warm friendliness of the local characters who Dickens wove into his story.

Dickens stayed at The Royal Hotel on Marine Parade, Gt Yarmouth. It was built in 1840, but enlarged and remodelled in 1877, and still stands today.

Blunderstone is 6 miles south of Gt Yarmouth, off the A12
East Anglia map Ref: F3

David Copperfield on film (1970)
David Copperfield on TV (1999)

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Copyright © Ken Ward 2004
Last Updated: 08 November 2004

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David Copperfield
New Oxford Illustrated Edition

David Copperfield
New Oxford Illustrated Edition