Photographic reproduction of Dotheboys Hall, Bowes, 1841


Dotheboys Hall is the brutal Yorkshire school run by the evil Wackford Squeers depicted in Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby. This image, a photographic reproduction of an original drawing made in 1841, depicts the real school – Bowes Academy in Yorkshire – that inspired Dickens. Here, the school looks fairly unremarkable, but newspaper reports, letters from parents, and Dickens’s novel all provide a more vivid picture of the treatment and living conditions inside.

Full title:
Photographic reproduction of Dotheboys Hall, Bowes, 1841. [from the author's presentation copy of The Life of Dickens, 1872-74]
Photograph / Image
unknown photographer , John Forster as compiler
Held by:
British Library
Dex 316 - Vol I, part II

Related articles

Oliver Twist and the workhouse

Article by:
Ruth Richardson
Poverty and the working classes, The novel 1832 - 1880, London

The hardships of the Victorian workhouse led Oliver Twist utter the famous phrase ‘Please Sir, I want some more’. Here Ruth Richardson explores Dickens’s own experiences of poverty and the social and political context in which he was writing.

Nicholas Nickleby and the Yorkshire schools

Article by:
John Sutherland
The novel 1832 - 1880

Since the 18th century, parents had been sending their children to notoriously brutal Yorkshire boarding schools. Here Professor John Sutherland examines the depiction of these schools in Dickens’s ‘social problem novel’, Nicholas Nickleby.

Related collection items

Related works

*Nicholas Nickleby*

Created by: Charles Dickens

A novel by Charles Dickens (1812-1870), published 1838–9.  Impoverished after his father’s death, ...