The Amazing World of Alice in Wonderland

1843

Silhouette of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, endorsed 'taken at the Warrington Exhibition, 1840' (SHC ref DFC/B/1/1; courtesy of the Dodgson Executors)

Silhouette of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, endorsed ‘taken at the Warrington Exhibition, 1840’ (SHC ref DFC/B/1/1; courtesy of the Dodgson Executors)

When Charles Dodgson was eleven years old, his father was awarded a larger parish, at Croft-on-Tees in Yorkshire, and the family moved into the Rectory. Carroll created light-hearted magazines for his brothers and sisters, full of his own drawings and poems. In one of them, the Rectory Umbrella, he wrote:

‘Fair stands the ancient Rectory,
The Rectory of Croft,
The sun shines bright upon it,
The breezes whisper soft.
From all the house and garden
Its inhabitants come forth,
And muster in the road without,
And pace in twos and threes about,
The children of the North.’

The Dodgson family lived at Croft from 1843 to 1868, by which point Carroll was one of eleven children: he had seven sisters and three brothers. Carroll’s parents, Charles Dodgson and Frances Jane Dodgson, are buried here – his mother died on 26 January 1851, and his father on 21 June 1868 – and local streets are named ‘Lewis Close’ and ‘Carroll Place’.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's 1844 school report (SHC ref DFC/A/2/1; courtesy of the Dodgson Executors)

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s 1844 school report
(SHC ref DFC/A/2/1; courtesy of the Dodgson Executors)

Click on the image above to see a larger copy.

The literary and mathematical abilities of the young Charles Lutwidge Dodgson are evident in this letter from James Tate, Headmaster of Richmond School, Yorks, to Charles’ father, Archdeacon Dodgson, 17 Dec 1844, giving a detailed report on the character and abilities of CLD:

“My dear Sir, Sufficient opportunity having been allowed me to draw from actual observation an estimate of your son’s character and abilities, I do not hesitate to express my opinion that he possesses, along with other and excellent natural endowments, a very uncommon share of genius. Gentle and cheerful in his intercourse with others, playful and ready in conversation, he is capable of acquirements in knowledge far beyond his years, while his reason is so clear and so jealous of error, that he will not rest satisfied without a most exact solution of whatever appears to him obscure. He has past an excellent examination just now in mathematics, exhibiting at times an illustration of that love of precise argument, which seems to him natural”.

Henrietta Harington Dodgson, younger sister of Charles, late C19th. Henrietta was born in Daresbury in 1843. She lived in Brighton and died there in 1922 (SHC ref DFC/B/2/1; courtesy of the Dodgson Executors)

Henrietta Harington Dodgson, younger sister of Charles, late C19th. Henrietta was born in Daresbury in 1843. She lived in Brighton and died there in 1922 (SHC ref DFC/B/2/1; courtesy of the Dodgson Executors)

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