Inside the Dickens Museum No 2 – The First Pickwick Club

Please click play to watch the video exploring the minutes of the first known Pickwick Club

In this second video, Louisa Price, curator of the Charles Dickens Museum London, shows one of the museum’s recent acquisitions – the minutes of the earliest known Pickwick Club. These clubs formed to celebrate Dickens and his works, with members assuming the names of characters from The Pickwick Papers and discussing all the issues of the day. Louisa shows us some of the interesting elements within the book and discusses what else might be in there waiting to be discovered by a researcher.

The Pickwick Club Book, 1837-1843. C225, Charles Dickens Museum Collection.
The Pickwick Club Book, 1837-1843. C225, Charles Dickens Museum Collection.

Published by Pete Orford

I'm course director of the MA in Charles Dickens Studies at the University of Buckingham in conjunction with the Dickens Museum in London. I am currently editing Pictures from Italy for the Oxford Dickens collection, and I'm Chief Investigator for The Drood Inquiry ( My book "The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Charles Dickens’s unfinished novel and our endless attempts to end it" was published by Pen and Sword Books in 2018.

6 thoughts on “Inside the Dickens Museum No 2 – The First Pickwick Club

  1. Hi Paul, because the contents of their debates are so London-centric we are fairly certain they were a London club.
    I haven’t seen any records of conditions,though lots of rules are made over time. I confess it’s actually very hard to read so there is a lot more to discover within it, beyond what i have been able to decipher.
    There is an existing advertisement of another London Pickwick Club running in central London at a local pub in 1837 and it would be great to tie it to this minute book.


  2. Hi Louisa,
    Was this a London-based Pickwick Club and does it say anything, perhaps at the beginning of the book, about the conditions of joining and membership of the Club?


  3. Update! One of our brilliant volunteers has been able to uncover further details about the men who used the book. We will compile the details into a blog post and release it soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi folks. Its Saturday 19th June 2021 and John and I are online both here and on twitter to answer any questions you have about the research being shown, Dickens, or the MA. Just post your questions below or on any of the posts and we’ll happily answer!


  5. The Museum is constantly acquiring new and unusual treasures like the Pickwick Club Book, and are keen for new researchers to access their materials and further delve into what secrets they hold. On the MA, we hold an archives session early in the year where students get opportunity for a private tour and glimpse into some of the most recent finds, after which they then book in for one-to-one visits at the museum to see what the archives hold for their research area.


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