Dickens house finds generous benefactor in Heritage Lottery Fund

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In true Dickensian style, a magnificent gift has arrived at the doorstep of Charles Dickens's only surviving London home, just as volunteers were decking the walls with holly and ivy.

The tall, narrow house in Doughty Street, Clerkenwell, where Dickens lived for three years from 1837, has been awarded a £2m grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, in time for a comprehensive renovation before the bicentenary of the author's birth in 2012.

The house is full of treasures, but shabby and badly in need of the first major refurbishment since it was built. It was preserved from the modernisation that gutted most of its neighbours because it went down in the world and became a cheap lodging house, so many original features survive....

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