Tel: 01474 822366
Gad's Hill School is a company limited by guarantee
Reg. No 2427105 England
Charity No. 803153
Greetings from Richard J Noyes,
The Committe, Dickens Gad's Hill Appeal
* This is a Web version of THE GAD'S HILL APPEAL pamphlet reproduced by permission of Mr Richard J Noyes, The Committe, Dickens Gad's Hill Appeal.
Tel: 01474 822366
Situated on the A226 midway between Rochester and Gravesend. 1 mile from Higham Railway Station (no taxis) M & D Bus 136 stops outside. Ample free parking.
Gad's Hill Place is a Member of the Association of Tourist Attractions in Kent, and is open regularly throughout the year for guided tours and a programme of Special Events. Private tours may also be arranged by prior appointment. Telephone for actual opening times.
Additional entrance charges may apply for some Special Events.
Also available for
Gad's Hill Place reserves the right, without notice, to cancel or amend any of the Special Events and to determine or alter the entrance or hiring charges.
Launched in 1991, the Gad's Hill Appeal set out to raise £1 m., to "preserve the fabric and future of Gad's Hill Place". Since then, a systematic programme of essential works has been taking place to restore this Grade I listed building to its original condition.
Although Gad's Hill is now a school, the Appeal receives no income from school fees (which are used solely for educational purposes) and although it comes under the ægis of the school, operates as an entirely separate entity from it.
With the help of substantial grants from various sources (to whom we are greatly indebted) the Conservatory, Charles Dickens' last major project, has now been restored to its former splendour.
Caring for a building such as this is a major and on-going commitment and although our visitors contribute with their entrance fees and by buying our mementos, there are many other ways in which you can help. Sponsor a Brick (@ £10 each) and have your name inscribed in the Sponsors' Book, or sign the Covenant form overleaf and help us to continue caring for the tomorrow of this unique building.
GAD'S HILL PLACE, this much loved home of Charles Dickens, was built in 1780, for a former Mayor of Rochester, Thomas Stephens.
Regularly open to the public throughout the year for guided tours and a programme of special events, it offers a unique opportunity to visit the only home the celebrated author actually owned.
Immortalised by him in 'A Christmas Carol', where he described it as "a mansion of dull red brick with a little weather-cock surmounted Cupola on the roof and a bell hanging in it", Gad's Hill Place was purchased by Dickens in 1857 for the sum of £1,770.
Under its previous owner the building had fallen into disrepair and Dickens immediately set about a programme of improvements and repairs - repairs which still continue today.
In the entrance hall, wooden panels were removed from the front door and replaced with glass, additionally Dickens removed alternate balustrades from the staircase and inserted wooden panels which were then hand-painted by his daughter Kate and can still be seen today.
Dick, a canary was brought by Dickens from Broadstairs. Referred to as "the best of birds" he received a thimbleful of sherry each morning and lived for 15 years.
Remaining much as it was in Dickens' day is the Library where, with the door closed one is completely surrounded by books. The dummy book spines on the back of the door merit more than a cursory glance.
It was here, at Gad's Hill Place, that Dickens was perhaps at his happiest, it was here he wrote much of A Tale of Two Cities; Great Expectations; Our Mutual Friend and the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood and it was here that he died, in the Dining Room, on 9th June, 1870.
After Dickens' death, and in accordance with his instructions, the house was sold and the contents disposed of, but this was to be no retirement into obscurity for Gad's Hill Place.
Purchased in 1924, the house became a school and, having been reformed in 1990 with Charitable Status, it continues as such today, educating both boys and girls from Nursery age, to 11+ and girls onwards to GCSE.
DEED OF COVENANT
To the Dickens Gad's Hill Appeal, Gad's Hill School:
I promise to pay you for __________ years (NB Must exceed three years to be tax-effective), or until I die, such a sum as after deduction of income tax at basic rate, amounts to £ __________ each month/quarter/year from the date shown below.
Signed & Delivered:
________________________________________ (Your signature)
Date: ____________________________________ (Actual date signed)
________________________________________ (Witness signature)
Date: ____________________________________ (Actual date signed)
Full name: ________________________________
STANDING ORDER MANDATE
Please return to: Gad's Hill School, Higham-by-Rochester, Kent, ME3 7PA. We will note the details for the Sponsors' Register and forward the form to your bank.
To The Manager _____________________________ Bank, Plc.
Address (your bank) __________________________________________
Please transfer from my/our* account, number _______________ and credit Gad's Hill School Ltd., account number 1156298 (Gad's Hill Appeal) at Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Maidstone Branch, 94 High St., Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1SA (Sort Code: 16-24-64) the sum of £ __________ / ____________________ amount in words) on the __________ day of each month/quarter/ __________ (month) in each year* commencing on __________ and continuing until __________ /further notice.*
* Delete as appropriate.
Greetings from Richard J Noyes, The Committe, Dickens Gad's Hill Appeal
Gad's Hill Place at Higham-by-Rochester, Kent, England, was the only house that Charles Dickens actually owned. After his death, in accordance with his instructions, the house and its contents were sold and since 1925 the building has been a private school, but within the past four years we have opened our doors to the public for guided tours and now welcome some 1,000 visitors each year. Unfortunately, we don't have any guides who speak Japanese. When the Gad's Hill Appeal was set up, some 4 years ago, we set out to raise £1,000,000 to restore this beautiful house to its original condition.
It suffered damage during the 39 - 45 war and Charles Dickens's conservatory was badly damaged. Typically British, the temporary roof was in place for some 40 odd years! However, last year we had raised sufficient funds to have the Conservatory fully restored and using modern building methods, it is now back to its former glory - even to the genuine Chinese Lanterns.
We also have a licence for civil weddings and several brides have already celebrated their special day with us.
We would be delighted to welcome visitors from all over the world, as many of the original features of this house still remain - including the dummy books on the back of Dickens's Study door and the panels in the staircase painted by Dickens's daughter.
We would also like to communicate with anyone in the world who, although not able to visit us, would like information or to go on our free mailing list.
If we can be of any help to you, please e-mail me at:
Richard J Noyes, The Committe, Dickens Gad's Hill Appeal
Discover Dickens's Kent: Gadshill
Between Gravesend & Rochester on the A226
Gadshill held a fascination for Dickens from his childhood days, when on walks up from Chatham with his father they would stop to admire the impressive house on the hill at Higham known as Gadshill Place. He recalls in The Uncommercial Traveller meeting a vision of his former self on this road to Canterbury, and, "the very queer, small boy" saying, "I can recollect, my father, seeing me so fond of it, (the house) has often said to me, if you were to be very persevering, and were to work hard, you may someday come to live in it. Though that's impossible!"
In 1856, Dickens did indeed have the opportunity to purchase Gadshill Place. He chose a snug ground floor room for his study and when the weather was good he wrote in a miniature Swiss Chalet in the garden. The Chalet was a present from his actor friend Charles Fechter. Dickens installed it in the grounds on the far side of the road from the house, and built a communicating tunnel which still runs under the present highway. The Chalet can now be seen in the grounds of the Dickens House Museum in Rochester.
Dickens also relished the fact, and never tired of pointing out to his guests, that this was the very spot on which Shakespeare had set the scene of Falstaff's Highway robbery in Henry IV. Among the literati who enjoyed Cadshill hospitality were Hans Christian Anderson, the American poet Longfellow and that pioneer of detective stories Wilkie Collins.
Dickens died at Gadshill on the 9th of June 1870. During his time at the house he produced a steady stream of wonderful novels and stories including; A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend, The Uncommercial Traveller and the unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood which he was working on the day before his death.