National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Catherine Dickens (1815-1879)

The NRS Catalogue is currently affected by an issue that is intermittently creating error messages for users. We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Catherine Dickens (1815-1879)

Wife of Charles Dickens

Catherine Hogarth 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'. Charles and Catherine married in Chelsea on 2 April 1836. They visited Scotland in 1841 and toured America together as his success and fame grew. They had ten children and the workload eventually took its toll on her health. In 1858 he arranged for a legal separation. Catherine remained in London until her death on 22 November 1879.

The letters of Charles Dickens to his wife are held by the British Library having been donated to the British Museum at her request. The National Portrait Gallery holds an engraving of Catherine Dickens (nee Hogarth). The Charles Dickens Museum at her former home, 48-49 Doughty Street, held an exhibition The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine Dickens in 2016 and has since acquired three artefacts owned by her. They are described in the blog Celebrating Catherine Dickens.

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