Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History and Archives
by Brendan Oliver
Long ago, in a small brick cottage on Kensington Avenue North, there lived a man with a famous connection. The gentleman’s name was Mr. William Dickens and he was the first cousin once removed of Charles Dickens, the author of such classics as Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol.
William Dickens was born in Braunston, Northamptonshire, England in 1843 and was the second of 14 children. His father George Dickens was a first cousin of the famous author. George worked as a merchant and also kept the Admiral Nelson, a pub that still operates next to the Grand Union Canal in Braunston.
While on a boat journey from London to Birmingham in 1851, Charles Dickens walked into the Admiral Nelson and immediately recognized his cousin, George. As the two conversed, William stood close to his father’s side. Before departing Charles patted young William on the back and told him he must grow up to be a better man than his father.
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