Beadnell, Maria

BORN 1810, London: Lombard Street - DIED 1886, Southsea, Hampshire: 6 Shaftesbury Road
BIRTH NAME Beadnell, Maria Sarah
GRAVE LOCATION Portsmouth, Hampshire: Highland Road Cemetery, Southsea

Maria Beadnell was the third and youngest daughter of the banker George Beadnell (1773-1862) from London. Her mother was Maria Jones (1781-1849). She was Charles Dickens' first love. He met her in 1830 when she was nineteen and he was eighteen. He courted her for four years, but her parents disapproved of him, finding him too young and irresponsible. The courtship ended in 1833 and eventually she married the saw-mill manager Henry Louis Winter (b.1816) from Finsbury when she was 35 years old. They had two daughters.

Maria probably was the model for Dora spenlow in "David Copperfield" (1850) and for Flora Finching in "Little Dorrit" (1855). In 1855 Maria sent Dickens a letter and they secretly met without their spouses being present. Although she had warned him that she was not the same woman anymore, Dickens was shocked to learn that she was no longer beautiful and that she was quite fat now. He was relieved that he never married her and based the character of Flora Finching in "Little Dorrit" on her. They met once more for dinner with their spouses, but from then on Dickens avoided her.

Maria died in 1886 in Portsmouth where Dickens was born and she was buried in the Highroad Cemetery in Southsea.

Related persons
• has a connection with Dickens, Charles


The grave of Maria Beadnell at Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth.
Picture by Androom (20 Jun 2010)


Maria Beadnell

Beardsley, Aubrey

Published: 09 Jul 2010
Last update: 05 May 2024