Letter from Charles Dickens regarding the accident on Great Western Railway

Dickens, Charles John Huffam
Letter from Charles Dickens regarding the accident on Great Western Railway

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Autograph letter and envelope from Charles Dickens to James Charles Kingett, Superintendent of the Great Western Railway Up Parcels Department at the Paddington station, dated on Saturday 5th February 1870:

'Sir, In reply to your letter I beg to say that I have no doubt my Christmas fare was destroyed by an unavoidable accident, and that I bore the loss with unbroken good humour towards the Great Western Railway Company. Faithfully Yours, Charles Dickens'

Paper's letterhead refers to Dicken's country home: Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent. Dickens signed the letter with his customary flourish, and the envelope bears his stamp with letters C. D.

The letter is a reply to Mr Kingett's previous letter regarding a destroyed Christmas parcel. In the Christmas week of 1869, a horsebox laden with parcels from the Hereford district caught fire between Gloucester and Reading. The parcels were destroyed and the owners compensated. Mr Kingett wrote to the senders, one of whom was Charles Dickens, explaining the circumstances and apologising.

The parcel contained a turkey sent by George Dolby, the manager of Dickens’ reading tours. Letter was kept by Mr Kingett and it was later published in the Great Western Railway Magazine in 1908.


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