• Presidents of The Fellowship

    Presidents of The Fellowship

Percy Fitzgerald 1902-03

Percy Fitzgerald (1834-1925) - A close literary friend of Dickens who contributed articles and stories to both Household Words and All the Year Round and published ‘Memories of Charles Dickens’ in 1913.

1903-09 Henry Fielding Dickens

Henry Fielding Dickens (1849-1933) - Becoming life President in 1911 Sir Henry Fielding Dickens was a son of Charles Dickens. He was a High Court Judge rising to Common Serjeant at the Old Bailey

1909-10 Arthur Waugh

Arthur Waugh (1866-1943) - Author and publisher.  For 28 years he was Managing Director and Chairman of Dickens’s publishers Chapman & Hall. He was the father of writers Alec and Evelyn.

1910-11 J. Cuming Walthers

John Cuming Walters (1863-1933) - Journalist and author.

1911-12 Sir Luke Fildes

Sir Luke Fildes (1843-1927) -  Artist who was commissioned by Dickens to illustrate his final, unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. His works include The Doctor and Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward, though he later specialised in portraiture.

1912-15 Mrs Kate Perugini

Kate Perugini (1839-1929) - Life President after 1915, pictured on the right of her famous father.

1915-19 W. Walter Crotch

William Walter Crotch (1874-1947) - English author of works on Dickens, most notably: ‘Charles Dickens Social Reformer’ (1913) and ‘The Pageant of Dickens’ (1915).


Bertram Waldrom Matz (1865-1925) - First editor of The Dickensian (1905-1925). One of the original founders of the Dickens Fellowship.

1921-22 G.K.Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) - Chesterton was a journalist and writer of fiction, best known for his ‘Father Brown’ stories. He also published ‘Charles Dickens’ (1906) and ‘Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens’ (1911).

1922-23 Sir Frederick Macmillan

Sir Frederick Orridge McMillan (1851-1936) - British publisher in the family firm Macmillan Co. Prominent in the establishment of the ‘net book agreement’ in 1890.

1923-24 Sir Walter Lawrence

Sir Walter Lawrence (1857-1940) - An English author of travelogues based on his experiences in the Indian Civil Service.

1924-26 W. Pett Ridge

William Pett Ridge (1857-1930) - An English novelist of lower middle-class life in London. Seen by some as the natural successor to Dickens.

1926-27 Sir Ernest Wild

Sir Ernest Edward Wild K.C. (1869-1934) - Barrister and politician. MP for West Ham Upton 1918-1922.

1927-29 Sir Charles Cheers Wakefield

Sir Charles Cheers Wakefield (1st Viscount Wakefield) (1859-1941) - Founded the Castrol lubricants business (Castrol Oil). Lord Mayor of London 1915-1916.
Oil painting by John Lavery. Collection: Hythe Council Offices.

1929-31 Sir Alfred Robbins

Sir Alfred Farthing Robbins (1856-1931) - Journalist. London correspondent of the Birmingham Post (1888-1923). President of the Institute of Journalists in 1908. President of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons in England and received as such in the White House by President Coolidge.

1931-33 H.A.Vachell

Horace Annesley Vachell (1861-1955) - A prolific English novelist, short story writer and playwright.

1933-35 Alfred Noyes

Alfred Noyes (1880-1958) - English poet, short story writer and playwright.

1935-37 Sir Stephen Killick

Sir Stephen Killick - Lord Mayor of London (1861-1938).
Photo by Bassano from the National Portrait Gallery London.

1937-39 Lord Hewart (Lord Chief Justice)

Lord Gordon Hewart, 1st Viscount Hewart - Lord Chief Justice of England.

1939-46 Compton Mackenzie

Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972) -  Scottish writer of fiction – most notably ‘Whisky Galore' (1947). Knighted in 1952.

1946-46 Henry Charles Dickens

Henry Charles Dickens (known as Hal) (1878-1966) - Grandson of Charles Dickens and after WW1 became a barrister and was an Alderman in the city.

1948-50 Ian Hay Beith

Ian Hay Beith (1876-1952) - Novelist and playwright (some of the plays written in collaboration with P.G. Wodehouse). He wrote under the nom de plume of Ian Hay.

1950-52 L.A.G Strong

Leonard Alfred George Strong (1896-1958) - A popular English novelist (who published over 20 novels), critic, historian and poet. Strong was also a director of the publishing firm Methuen 1938-58.

1952-53 Sir Gerald Barry

Sir Gerald Barry (1898-1968) - Editor of the News Chronicle (1936-47). Director-General of the Festival of Britain (1951).

1953-55 Lord Jowitt

William Jowitt, 1st Earl Jowitt (1885-1957) - William Allen Jowitt was a British politician and lawyer who served as Lord High Chancellor under Clement Atlee (1945-51).

1955-59 Very Revd. W.R. Mathews Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral (1933-1967).

The Very Rev Walter Robert Matthews (1881-1973). Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral (1933-1967).

1959-61 Margaret Lane, Countess of Huntingdon

Margaret Lane, Countess of Huntingdon (1907-1994) - President of the DF twice - 1959-1961 and 1970-1971.

1961-64 Sir Evelyn Wrench

Sir John Evelyn Leslie Wrench (1882-1966) - Founder of the Royal Over-Seas League (1910) and the English Speaking Union (1918).

1964 Phillip Charles Dickens

Philip Charles Dickens (known as Pip) (1887-1964) - Grandson of Charles Dickens and younger brother of Hal. After WW1 (where he was badly wounded twice) he became a Chartered Accountant and was one of the founding staff at ICI.

1964-66 Cedric Charles Dickens

Cedric Charles Dickens(1916-2006) - President of the Dickens Fellowship 1964-1966 and 1988. Cedric Charles Dickens (known as Ceddy) was a great grandson of Charles Dickens (and took over as President from his father at short notice following his father's sudden death).

1966-68 Eric Dickens Hawksley

Eric Dickens Hawksley (d.1975) - He was a great grandson of Charles Dickens. Served in the Colonial Service and as a code breaker at Bletchley Park.

1968-69 Leslie C. Staples

Leslie. C. Staples (1896-1980) - Hon Secretary of the Fellowship (1940-1946). Editor of The Dickensian (1944-1968).

1970-71 Margaret Lane, Countess of Huntingdon

Margaret Lane, Countess of Huntingdon (1907-1994) - A British novelist, journalist and biographer. President of the DF twice - 1959-1961 and 1970-1971 

1971-72 Ernest Raymond

Ernest Raymond (1888-1974) - British novelist best known for his novels Tell England (1922) and We, The Accused (1935). Wrote more than 50 novels.

1972-73 Captain Peter Dickens

Captain Peter Gerald Charles Dickens (1917-1987)  DSO, MBE, DSC - Was a great grandson of Charles Dickens and served as a Naval officer and was an author.

1973-75 Professor Angus Wilson

Professor Angus Wilson (1913-1991) - English novelist and short story writer of works such as 'Hemlock and After', 'The Old Men at the Zoo' and 'Anglo-Saxon Attitudes'. He was knighted in 1980.

1975-77 Professor George H. Ford

Professor George H. Ford (1915-1994) - Dickens scholar at the University of Rochester. 

1977-79 Very Revd. Dr Edward Carpenter

The Very Rev Edward Carpenter, Dean of Westminster (1910-1998).

1979-81 Lady Edna Healey

Lady Edna Healey (1918-2010) - Author of works including ‘Lady Unknown: The Life of Angela Burdett-Coutts’ (1978) and ’Coutts & Co.’ (1992).
Photo Graham Jepson.

1981-83 Professor Sylvere Monod

Professor Sylvere Monod (1921-2006) - Emeritus Professor of English at the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris.

1983-85 Professor Philip Collins

Professor Philip Collins (1923-2007) - Professor of English at Leicester University. Author of ‘Dickens and Education’ (1963) and ‘Dickens and Crime’ (1964).

1985-86 Viscount Tonypandy

George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy (1909-1997). Member of Parliament for Cardiff constituencies (1945-83) and Speaker of the House of Commons (1976-83).

1987 E.W.F Tomlin

Eric Walter Frederick Tomlin CBE (1913-1988) - Essayist and philosopher. Head of the British Council in Japan 1961-67. Edited a centennial volume: 'Charles Dickens 1812-1870'.

1988 Cedric Charles Dickens

Cedric Charles Dickens(1916-2006) - President of the Dickens Fellowship 1964-1966 and 1988. Cedric Charles Dickens (known as Ceddy) was a great grandson of Charles Dickens (and took over as President from his father at short notice following his father's sudden death).

1988-90 Professor Michael Slater

Professor Michael Slater - Emeritus Professor of Victorian Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London. Author of ‘Dickens and Women’ (1983) and ‘Charles Dickens’ (2009).

1990-92 Alan S.Watts

Alan S Watts (1919-2016) - Honorary General Secretary of the Dickens Fellowship (1976-1990) and author of ‘Dickens at Gad’s Hill’.

1992-94 Professor Jan Lokin

Professor Jan Lokin (1945-2022) - Professor of Legal History at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

1995-97 David Charles Dickens

David Charles Dickens (1925-2005) - Great grandson of Charles Dickens. He was a publisher.

1999-01 Professor Andrew Sanders

Professor Andrew Sanders - Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Durham. Author of ‘Dickens and the Spirit of the Age’ (1999).

2001-03 Henry Dickens Hawksley

Henry Dickens Hawksley CBE (1933-2014) - Great great grandson of Charles Dickens. He became Chairman of the Wine Standards Board.

2003-05 Dr Paul Schlicke

Dr Paul Schlicke - Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Aberdeen. Author of 'Dickens and Popular Entertainment' (2005).

2005-07 Gerald Dickens

Gerald Roderick Charles Dickens (1963-present) - Great great grandson of Charles Dickens, and a professional actor.

2007-09 Professor Leonee Ormond

Professor Leonee Ormond - Emeritus Professor of Victorian Studies at King’s College, University of London. Edited Pictures From Italy for Everyman Classics.

2009-11 Professor Grahame Smith

Professor Grahame Smith - Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Stirling. Author of ‘Dickens and the Dream of Cinema’ (2003).

2011-13 Commander Mark Dickens

Commander Mark Dickens (1955-present) - Great great grandson of Charles Dickens. Mark served as a naval officer and became a school bursar.

2013-15 Professor Jenny Hartley

Professor Jenny Hartley - Emetrius Professor of English at Roehampton University. Author of ‘Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women’ (2008) and ‘Charles Dickens An Introduction’ (2016).

2015-17 Dr Tony Williams

Dr Tony Williams - Associate Editor of The Dickensian and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham. Former Joint Honorary General Secretary of the Fellowship (1999-2006).

2017-19 Professor John Bowen

Professor John Bowen - Professor of 19th century Literature at the University of York. He has written widely on Dickens’s early novels including: 'Other Dickens: Pickwick to Chuzzlewit' (2005).

2019- 22
2019- Ian Dickens

Ian Dickens - Great great grandson of The Inimitable. Ian sailed around the world on a racing yacht and wrote about it in his book ‘Sea Change’ (2009).


Professor Cathy Waters, Emeritus Professor of Victorian Literature and Print Culture at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Cathy is the first Australian to be President. Cathy has published many books and articles on Dickens and Victorian journalism.

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