+ ~ -
 
Article icon.

Our Watering Place

Read me now! Export to PDF, including full article record, author information, and annotation.
Author Charles Dickens
Genres Prose: Leading Article i
Prose: Travel-writing i
Subjects Great Britain—Description and Travel
Literature; Writing; Authorship; Reading; Books; Poetry; Storytelling; Letter Writing
Popular Culture; Amusements
Ships; Boats; Shipwrecks; Salvage; Merchant Marine; Sailors; Sailing; Submarines (Ships)
Sports; Games; Leisure; Pleasure; Hunting; Horse Racing; Gambling; Duelling
Details
Index
Other Details
Printed : 2/8/1851
Journal : Household Words
Volume : Volume III
Magazine : No. 71
Office Book Notes
Memo-
Columns7.5
Payment-
Views : 2929

Dickens had been taking his family for a summer holiday to Broadstairs, on the east coast of Kent, every year since 1837 apart from 1844 and 1846. Originally a small fishing village, Broadstairs was made fashionable by the Duchess of Kent, who 'visited it every summer for years, coming in with the strawberries and going out with the blackberries' (The Illustrated Times, 29 August 1857, p. 154). When she tired of it, The Illustrated Times added, 'Mr Dickens took it up and fondled it for a time'.


Helped by its topography ('the charmingly tight little harbour', observes John Newman [The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, 1969], is 'embraced by a horseshoe of low chalk cliffs'), it remained small in size, but this added to its attractiveness for Dickens. He frequently extolled the place in letters, especially in ones urging friends to visit him there: 'A good sea – fresh breezes – fine sands – and pleasant walks – with all manner of fishing-boats, light houses, piers, bathing machines and so forth are its only attractions, but it's one of the freshest and free-est little places in the world' (to Miss Allan, 3 July 1841; Pilgrim, Vol. II, p. 321). Writing from Broadstairs to an American friend Cornelius Felton in 1843, he described the place as 'intensely quiet': 'Old gentlemen and ancient ladies, flirt, after their own manner, in two readings rooms...Other old gentlemen look all day through telescopes and never see anything... (Pilgrim, Vol. III, p. 548). The Dickens family stayed at various addresses in the town during successive holidays, but for the summer of 1851 Dickens was able to rent 'a good bold house on the top of a cliff' (Pilgrim, Vol. VI, p. 125) known as Fort House (afterwards renamed 'Bleak House', though no part of that novel was written there; until recently partly a Dickens museum). Forster records (Book 6, Ch. 6) that there was great local excitement after the publication of 'Our Watering Place.' Of the buildings mentioned in this piece, the writing of which, Dickens confided to Wills, 'pleased me exceedingly' (Pilgrim, Vol. VI, p. 448), the seventeenth-century North Foreland Lighthouse still stands, as do the Albion Hotel and the pier, the latter having been reinforced during [the twentieth] century. The Charles Dickens Inn now stands on the site of the Assembly Rooms and the attached library (original 'Nuckell's Library' but by 1851 called the Royal Kent Marine Library according to The Post Office Directory of the Six Home Counties). The already-cited article in The Illustrated Times comments: 'They evidently cherish [Dickens's] memory at the library, and date the events in their lives from the happy time when the great novelist dwelt among them.' The 'haystack' church, Holy Trinity, was built in 1826 as a chapel of ease to the parish church of St Peter's to serve the growing watering-place population. The 'chief clerical dignitary' was the Vicar of St Peter's, the Rev. John Hodgson, who ceased to be responsible for Holy Trinity when it was made a parish church in its own right. The 'naval officer' so admiringly described was Lieutenant Edward Clarke, RN, in charge of the Coast Guard Station. The phrase 'these days of fraternisation' alludes to the international Great Exhibition.

Literary allusions

  • 'Miss Julia Mills' is Dora Spenlow's intensely romantic young friend and confidante in David Copperfield – see Ch. 33 et seq.;
  • 'have been roaming': from a comic song by C. E. Horn, 'I've been roaming';
  • 'Let there be light': Genesis 1:3;
  • 'And the stately ships go on...': Tennyson, 'Break, break, break';
  • 'Do chase the ebbing Neptune...': Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 5, Sc. 1.

Author: Michael Slater; © J. M. Dent/Orion Publishing Group, Dickens' Journalism Volume III: 'Gone Astray' and Other Papers from Household Words, 1851–59 (1998). DJO gratefully acknowledges permission to reproduce this material.

Click here for further information about texts cited.

Attachments (0)

Who's Online

We have 380 guests and 1 robot online.

Profile Information

Application afterLoad: 0.000 seconds, 0.28 MB
Application afterInitialise: 0.020 seconds, 1.00 MB
Application afterRoute: 0.025 seconds, 2.05 MB
Application afterDispatch: 0.203 seconds, 3.63 MB
Application afterRender: 0.263 seconds, 3.90 MB

Memory Usage

4121496

32 queries logged

  1. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '39a929226818caf629842bac8ba00f80'
  2. DELETE
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE ( TIME < '1638120296' )
  3. SELECT *
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE session_id = '39a929226818caf629842bac8ba00f80'
  4. INSERT INTO `jos_session` ( `session_id`,`time`,`username`,`gid`,`guest`,`client_id` )
      VALUES ( '39a929226818caf629842bac8ba00f80','1638122096','','0','1','0' )
  5. SELECT *
      FROM jos_components
      WHERE parent = 0
  6. SELECT folder AS TYPE, element AS name, params
      FROM jos_plugins
      WHERE published >= 1
      AND access <= 0
      ORDER BY ordering
  7. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-watering-place'
  8. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-watering-place'
  9. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '1143'
  10. UPDATE jos_toc_blocks
      SET hits = ( hits + 1 )
      WHERE id='1143'
  11. SELECT template
      FROM jos_templates_menu
      WHERE client_id = 0
      AND (menuid = 0 OR menuid = 70)
      ORDER BY menuid DESC
      LIMIT 0, 1
  12. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-watering-place'
  13. SELECT id
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE alias = 'our-watering-place'
  14. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks
      WHERE id = '1143'
  15. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  16. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_genres_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id_estate)) SELECT id_estate, COUNT(*) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links  
      GROUP BY id_estate;
  17. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_documents (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents
      GROUP BY block_id;
  18. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_links (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT block_id AS id, COUNT(block_id) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links
      GROUP BY block_id;
  19. CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE IF NOT EXISTS tmp_table_blocks_authors (PRIMARY KEY pkey (id)) SELECT id_block AS id, COUNT(id_block) AS cnt
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_authors  
      GROUP BY id_block;
  20. SELECT block.*,        IFNULL(periodical.title, "NA") AS title_periodical,        IFNULL(volume.title, "NA") AS title_volume,        IFNULL(magazine.title, "NA") AS title_magazine,        documents.cnt AS document_count,        links.cnt AS link_count,        subject.cnt AS subject_count,        genre.cnt AS genre_count,        authors.cnt AS author_count
      FROM jos_toc_blocks AS block  
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_magazines AS magazine
      ON block.id_magazine = magazine.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_volumes AS volume
      ON block.id_volume = volume.id
      LEFT JOIN jos_toc_periodicals AS periodical
      ON block.id_periodical = periodical.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_subjects_links AS subject
      ON block.id = subject.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_genres_links AS genre
      ON block.id = genre.id_estate
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_documents AS documents
      ON block.id = documents.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_links AS links
      ON block.id = links.id
      LEFT JOIN tmp_table_blocks_authors AS authors
      ON block.id = authors.id
      WHERE (block.published = 1)
      AND (block.id = 1143)
      ORDER BY id_magazine, id_page, ordering ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  21. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_magazines
      WHERE id = '77'
  22. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_periodicals
      WHERE id = '1'
  23. SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_volumes
      WHERE id = '5'
  24. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1143, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 1143 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id  
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1143)
  25. SELECT document.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1143, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_documents AS document  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_documents    
      WHERE block_id = 1143 ) AS fixto_table
      ON document.id = fixto_table.document_id
      WHERE (document.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1143)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  26. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1143, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 1143 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id  
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1143)
  27. SELECT link.* , IF(fixto_table.block_id = 1143, TRUE, FALSE) AS fixto  
      FROM jos_toc_links AS link  
      LEFT JOIN  ( SELECT *
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_links    
      WHERE block_id = 1143 ) AS fixto_table
      ON link.id = fixto_table.link_id
      WHERE (link.published = 1)
      AND (fixto_table.block_id = 1143)
      ORDER BY title ASC  
      LIMIT 20
  28. SELECT r.id, r.title, r.alias, r.names, r.surname
      FROM jos_toc_authors AS r  RIGHT JOIN jos_toc_blocks_authors AS l
      ON  r.id = l.id_author  
      WHERE l.id_block = 1143
      ORDER BY r.surname ASC
  29. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp , insignia.definition
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_genres_links
      WHERE id_estate = 1143
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  30. SELECT insignia.id, insignia.title, IFNULL(link.stamp, 0) AS stamp  
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects AS insignia  
      LEFT JOIN ( SELECT id_insignia, COUNT(id_insignia) AS stamp
      FROM jos_toc_blocks_subjects_links
      WHERE id_estate = 1143
      GROUP BY id_insignia) AS link
      ON insignia.id = link.id_insignia
      ORDER BY insignia.title ASC
  31. SELECT id, title, module, POSITION, content, showtitle, control, params
      FROM jos_modules AS m
      LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm
      ON mm.moduleid = m.id
      WHERE m.published = 1
      AND m.access <= 0
      AND m.client_id = 0
      AND ( mm.menuid = 70 OR mm.menuid = 0 )
      ORDER BY POSITION, ordering
  32. SELECT guest, usertype, client_id, DATA
      FROM jos_session
      WHERE client_id = 0

Language Files Loaded

Untranslated Strings Diagnostic

None

Untranslated Strings Designer

None