Residents at Care UK’s King’s Court care home in Barnard’s Castle enjoyed a very special visit when Charles Dickens put in an appearance at the home.
King’s Court, in the Market Place, was once the King’s Head coaching inn, where Dickens stayed for two nights as he planned the story of Nicholas Nickleby. The inn even makes an appearance in the story, as a character recommends its ale.
When the town decided to host an event to celebrate the bicentenary of Dickens’ birth, King’s Court became the perfect focal point.
As part of the festivities, antiques expert David Harper, a regular on many BBC antiques programmes and the owner of a shop in the town, joined a host of Dickens enthusiasts who donned Victorian costume and rode a mail coach and four from Bowes Museum to Barnard’s Castle and back again.
Whilst in Barnard’s Castle the coach stopped outside King’s Court and Mr Harper – dressed as Charles Dickens - met its residents and the Town Mayor, Cllr Frank Harrison. And one lucky resident also enjoyed the chance to join the party in a second coach, an open landau, before enjoying a cream tea and champagne with the mayor and other guests.
Home Manager Michele Lloyd said: “I would like to thank the Dickens in Teesdale group for giving the residents the pleasure of seeing the coach and the chance of joining in. Everyone really enjoyed the day, it was fantastic to see the visitors in costume and Mr Harper spent time chatting to all the residents.”
(picture shows Adam Harper dressed as Hablet Browne, Kings Court resident Cynthia Makepeace and David Harper dressed as Charles Dickens)