As Charles Dickens fans around the world prepare for the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth on 7th February this year, a property on the Isle of Wight where he wrote large tracts of his most famous novel, David Copperfield, is up for sale.
Winterbourne Country House in Bonchurch, an upmarket suburb of the island’s major seaside resort, Ventnor, is currently on the market for £1.495 million and was rented by Dickens during the summer of 1849 and treasured by him for its views over the English Channel.
It is while staying here that he wrote six chapters of David Copperfield, although his stay was social as well as to write; he invited many of his literary friends over to stay including William Thackeray (author of Vanity Fair), satirist Thomas Carlyle, poet Alfred Tennyson and Mark Lemon, then editor of Punch magazine.
While staying at Winterbourne Dickens wrote to his wife Catherine – who was in London – to say: “I think it is the prettiest place I ever saw in my life, at home or abroad”. And in recent times many people have been able to enjoy its pleasures too – the property has been run as a guest house in recent years and holds five-star ratings from both Visit Briain and the AA.
The property is being sold as two lots, the first being the main house with seven bedrooms, large gardens and swimming pool (for £1.495m). A second lot, which is a four bedroom property called Hadfield Cottage, is for sale separately at £325,000. Agent Christopher Scott says this could either be let out or bought as guest or staff accommodation for the main house.
But Winterbourne has also been a TV star on several occasions including, recently, an appearance on Channel 4’s Three In A Bed show, during which it competed with two other Isle of Wight B&Bs.