Dust Heaps

On looking for some connection with 5 November and Charles Dickens nothing was found relating to Guy Fawkes or bonfires. However Dickens did have a keen interest in edifices of a very similar shape to bonfires . . ..  . dust heaps.

A large dust heap provides the central theme to Our Mutual Friend (1865). It is quite likely that this interest began when working in collaberation with Baroness Burdett Coutts the presence and ownership of scavenging rights to a dust heap delayed the development of a scheme for model dwellings for the workng classes.

The location for this enterprise was an East End slum Nova Scotia Gardens. Once full ownership of the site was finally obtained 1859 and some time after Dickens had ceased collaberation with Baroness Coutts Columbia Square and Market were developed. Designed by Henry Darbishire later architect for Peabody Trust. The gothic buildings were demolished 1961 to make way for low rise social housing. Angela Road and Burdett Road lead on to what is now Columbia Road Flower Market.

The image above shows Columbia Square completed 1861 facing Columbia Road and in shadow a drinking fountain of Portland Stone and Granite on Columbia Road.

The image left is of the original Columbia Market building completed 1869.

The photographs were taken 1958 and are reproduced courtesy of:

Bancroft Library, 277 Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ

At the Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1n 2LX there is an exhibition Beyond the Dust Heaps from 4 November to 11 December 2010. www.dickensmuseum.com

The observers at LondonKillsMe would be interested to hear from anyone who has been to this exhibition.

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