Angel Hill was transformed into the 1860s and was awash with hundreds of extras and film crew!
Filming took place outside The Angel Hotel on Angel Hill where in real life Charles Dickens stayed in 1835, 1859 and 1861 in room 215, now known as the Charles Dickens Suite.
The front of The Athenaeum, where Charles Dickens gave readings of his books in 1859 and 1861, was transformed into the front of a theatre.
The thunder of horse and carriages down Angel Hill and Crown Street took Bury St Edmunds back to its Victorian days! Over 30 horses came to Bury St Edmunds for filming!
Signs were removed and hidden, including the plaque marking Charles Dickens stay at The Angel, and new signs put up for the filming. Including this sign for The Dora's Head in Chequer Square!
The now infamous first image that was released from the film was of Dev Patel as David Copperfield taken in Churchgate Street in Bury St Edmunds.
Dev Patel as David Copperfield reappears throughout the movie on stage at a theatre. Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is that theatre!
Built in 1819 the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is the last surviving example of a working Regency playhouse in the country. The theatre offers behind the scenes tours throughout the year including the chance to step on stage! The theatre was designed by renowned architect William Wilkins – also famous for designing the National Gallery and University College London. Why not take in a show while you are in Bury St Edmunds?
The cast and crew spent two days filming at the theatre taking out the more modern seating and replacing with benches as it would have looked in the 1840s! The cast filmed on stage, in the auditorium and in the corridors leading to the dress circle.
Photo: Dean Rogers, courtesy of Lionsgate UK
Photo: Dean Rogers, courtesy of Lionsgate UK
Charles Dickens and Bury St Edmunds
You cannot miss the blue plaque at the front of The Angel Hotel, installed on the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth to commemorate his visits to Bury St Edmunds.
He first visited the town in 1835 as a journalist for the Morning Chronicle. Bury St Edmunds and The Angel itself feature extensively in The Pickwick Papers and the town is mentioned in The Personal History of David Copperfield and Dickens visited the town to give readings from The Pickwick Papers on 13 October 1859 at The Athenaeum, next door to The Angel hotel, and again on 30 October 1861 when he read from A Personal History of David Copperfield.
From his letters to friends and family, we know Dickens was very fond of Bury St Edmunds and its inhabitants. "Last night I read Copperfield at Bury St Edmunds to a very fine audience,” he wrote. “I don’t think a word – not to say an idea – was lost.”
Charles Dickens' room at The Angel
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