Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 16:01 UK

Dickens' desk goes up for auction

Charles Dickens' desk and chair
Money raised from the sale will be spent on rebuilding the hospital

Charles Dickens' writing desk and chair, which are thought to be worth up to 80,000, are to be sold at a charity auction in London.

It is thought the furniture was where he wrote some of his later works, including Great Expectations, at his Gad's Hill Place home in Higham, Kent.

Proceeds will go to Great Ormond Street children's hospital in central London after they were donated by a relative.

The sale will take place at Christie's auction house in June.

Christopher Charles Dickens, who died in 1999, inherited the desk and chair along with his wife Jeanne-Marie, Countess Wenckheim.

The countess gave the hospital permission to sell the items to raise funds for building work and new equipment.

'Generous gift'

"Charles Dickens was a champion of the poor and needy and an enthusiatic patron of Great Ormond Street Hospital in its early days," she said.

"I felt that it was Charles' wish, and it is an honour for me to fulfill this wish."

Charles Dickens
Some of Dickens' work is being sold off in New York

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity executive director Charles Denton said it was "very grateful" for the "generous gift".

Meanwhile, another Dickens auction of Dickens' is taking place in New York on Wednesday.

It is the largest sale of the writer's works for more than three decades and is expected to fetch around $2 million (1 million).

The Kenyon Sterling Library includes a special edition inscribed to novelist George Eliot and a page of the original manuscript of the Pickwick Papers.

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