17 April 2010

Charles Dickens, Edward Wortley Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

The Wortley Almshouses pub in Westgate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, a building which was indeed formerly almshouses, is believed to be the model for the workhouse described in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, who visited Peterborough on many occasions.

A plaque above the door reads 'This building was erected in 1744 by The Hon. Edward Wortley, esq Member of Parliament for Peterborough.'

The Peterborough City Trail, a booklet published by Peterborough City Council Leisure Services in 2001, states that Montagu was British Ambassasdor in Constantinople between 1716 and 1718, and that his wife, the well known writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, learned about inoculation against smallpox while there, and rather unsuccessfully introduced it into England before Edward Jenner's much more effective experiments were turned into common practice.

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