The Old Curiosity Shop – Believed to be the Inspiration for Dickens’ Novel:
A curious shop, set in the midst of legal London is The Old Curiosity Shop in Holborn, whose shop front proudly claims its Charles Dickens connection. Dickens fans will be very familiar with “The Old Curiosity Shop”, a story about Nell Trent, her grandfather and the evil and malicious Quilp, the hunchbacked dwarf moneylender, a book which Dickens published in 1840.
As can be seen on the side of the building the Old Curiosity Shop building dates back to 1567, making it the oldest shop in central London. Located at 13-14 Portsmouth Street, the premises are thought to be the inspiration for Dickens’ description of the shop that Nell’s grandfather owned, selling odds and ends.
Whether or not it is the original shop that inspired the Dickens’ book of the same name, The Old Curiosity Shop building is rare. Originally built using wood from old ships, it is one of the buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1666 which devastated the heart of London as well as the bombs of the Second World War.
Since 1992, the Old Curiosity Shop has been a shoe shop that sells unique handcrafted shoes. Inside, small winding sets of staircases lead shoppers through a treasure trove of interesting shoes and clothing. The shoes, although unique, are rather pricey, which may be the reason why the premises are now available for lease.
The Old Curiosity Shop
13-14 Portsmouth St.
London WC2A 2ES