The Dickens House museum is housed in the cottage that was Charles Dickens’ inspiration for the home of Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. David’s description of Betsey’s cottage with its square gravelled garden full of flowers, and a parlour of old fashioned furniture still fits today.
The character Betsey Trotwood is based on Miss Mary Pearson Strong who lived in the cottage that is now the museum. According to the reminiscences of Charles Dickens’ son Charley, he and his father regularly had tea and cakes in the parlour with the kindly and charming Miss Mary Pearson Strong. He also remembers that Miss Pearson Strong was completely convinced of her right to stop the passage of donkeys along the cliff top in front of her cottage. This belief became the donkey incident for the character of Betsey Trotwood, with the famous quote: “Janet! Donkeys!