National Records of Scotland

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Catherine Dickens (1815-1879)

Catherine Dickens (1815-1879)

Wife of Charles Dickens

Catherine Dickens spent her childhood in Edinburgh. Her father, a lawyer, wrote for literary magazines and was a friend of Sir Walter Scott. Her aunt, Christian Hogarth, married James Ballantyne, printer of Scott's novels. In 1830 the family moved to London. Her father was appointed editor of a magazine that published work by the young Charles Dickens under the pseudonym 'Boz'. He met and fell in love with Catherine and they married in 1836. They visited Scotland in 1841 and America a few years later. She supported him as his success and fame grew. They had ten children and the workload began to take its toll on her health. Her sister, Georgina Hogarth, moved into the household to help out. In 1858, after she had accused Dickens of having an affair with the actress, Ellen Terry, the couple separated. Catherine moved to another house and her children were discouraged from visiting her. She stayed in London until her death on 22 November 1879. She was buried at Highgate Cemetery.

Birth in 1815

Catherine Thomson Hogarth was born on 19 May 1815, the daughter of George Hogarth Esquire WS [Writer to the Signet] and Mrs Georgina Thomson his spouse, St Andrews Parish. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh records that the baptism by Dr Anderson took place on 21 July 1815.

Birth and baptism entry for Catherine Dickens

Birth and baptism entry for Catherine Dickens (51 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/42, page 44