The Friends of Highland Road Cemetery The Friends of Highland Road Cemetery

THE CHARLES DICKENS CONNECTION


 
Grave of Headstone
Ellen Lawless Ternan
(see "The Invisible Woman" by Claire Tomalin), was the love of Charles Dickens from 1857 to his death in 1870. Of a theatrical family, she met Dickens when he was in a play with her and her two sisters (see below). After Dickens died, she subtracted 10 years from her age and wed Rev. George Wharton Robinson in 1876; after he died, she gave up work (at real age 70) and went to live with Fanny in Victoria Grove, Southsea. She died in 1914, living on as Helen Landless in "Edwin Drood".
Grave of Ellen Ternan
Maria Ternan
married name Taylor, lived with sister Fanny after they moved from London to Southsea; she died in 1903. Fanny, who had been introduced to Anthony Trollopeís brother Thomas by Dickens, and was his wife until he died in 1892, had been both actress and opera singer; she moved to Southsea in 1900 and died in 1913.
Grave of Maria Ternan
Sarah Pearce
daughter of John Dickensís landlord, William Pearce. Lived in 393 Commercial Road (now the Dickens Museum) up to her death in 1902 when the Council were able to purchase it.
Grave of Susan Pearce
The sons of William Pearce
Grave of the sons of William Pearce
Maria Beadnell
was the first love of Charles Dickens; they met when she was 19 and he 18; although he was rejected by her family as a suitor, he later made her the model for Dora in David Copperfield. She married Henry Winter and they moved to Southsea where she died in 1886.
Grave of Maria Beadnell
Alfred Arthur Seale
was a world expert on Dickens and the first curator of the Birthplace Museum. He received Dickensís family and friends visiting the Museum and was able to acquire the couch on which Dickens died.
Grave of Alfred Seale
The Dupree Family
was very influential in Portsmouth and a driving force to obtain the Birthplace for the city. Sir William Thomas Dupree was Mayor in the year it became available (see SP above) and achieved the family ambition.
The Dupree Family Crypt
Georgina Margaret Hayman (nee Bridges)
claimed that Dickens told her she was chosen as the model for Little Dorrit when he visited her father (a Solicitor) and she was a petite 17-year-old. She came to Southsea to live with her son and died in 1912.
Grave of Georgina Hayman

 

The text above is transcribed from "A Guide to the Dickens Graves" by Professor A.J. Pointon. A copy of this pamphlet (in PDF format) which includes a plan of the cemetery showing the locations of the graves can be downloaded here. Please note that some of the information in the leaflet related to the Pearce family is incorrect.