1 May 2012

Angela Burdett-Coutts and Charles Dickens, London

This Gothic drinking fountain in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, designed by H. A. Darbyshire, was a gift by Angela Burdett-Coutts (1814–1906) to the people of the East End. Burdett-Coutts was heir to the Coutts bank fortune and a noted philanthropist.

Her relationship with her friend Charles Dickens is interesting from a literary point of view because, with Dickens, she established Urania Cottage (above), a refuge for 'fallen' women, in 1847. Urania Cottage was in Lime Grove, Shepherd’s Bush, London, and was funded by Burdett-Coutts's fortune. And Dickens may have collected material from the inmates of Urania Cottage for, say, the characters Em'ly and Martha in David Copperfield.

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