Is This Charles Dickens' Writing Desk?


Two hundred years after the birth of Charles Dickens, is this his childhood writing desk?



Glued inside the desk is a handwritten paper saying: "This desk belonged to Charles Dickens and was used by him as a boy. It was purchased at the sale of the effects of the great author at Gad’s Hill after his death, by John Brooks, who sold it to A F Taylor at West Drayton, Middlesex, in 1908, who now presents it as a small token of affection to his old friend, Albert M Zwar. – Silverdale, Rayleigh, Essex, August 1922."


Beechworth author Desmond Zwar’s grandfather,The Hon. Albert Zwar, was a member of the Victorian Parliament and gave public readings of Dickens. The desk was passed to his son, Keith Zwar; his son,David, then generously passed it on to Desmond.

Charles Dickens lived at Gad's Hill, near Gravesend, from 1856 until 1870, when he died. During that time he wrote a Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend and was in the process of writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood but died during the 23rd chapter.

Research missions have taken Mr Zwar to Dickens House in London, the Curator of Art at Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery; The Dickens Fellowship of Victoria; The Dickensian; The Dickens Fellowship; Dickens scholar, Professor Malcolm Andrews at the University of Kent, in an effort to authenticate but so far its origins cannot be confirmed.

The desk is made  from dark, now cracked, wood, is 14in wide, 11.5in deep and rises 4.5in at the back and 2.5in in front. Inside there is an ink-stained compartment for pens, divided into three, with leatherette writing surface which opens to reveal an inner compartment.


Do you have information?  Email Desmond Zwar at:

B U R K E   M U S E U M
Loch Street Beechworth 3747
Phone 03 5728 8067 | email
Open 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm) daily except Christmas Day