Gads Hill Place in Higham, Kent, was Charles Dickens’ country home. The house was built in 1780 for a former Mayor of Rochester. Charles Dickens first saw the mansion when he was 9 years old in 1821, when his father told Charles that if he worked hard enough, one day he would own it or just such a house. As a boy, Charles would often walk from Chatham to Gads Hill Place just to look and the house and imagine his possible future there. He later wrote "I used to look at it as a wonderful Mansion (which God knows it is not) when I was a very odd little child with the first faint shadows of all my books in my head - I suppose."
In 1856, when Charles was 44 years old and a very successful author, he heard that the house was for sale, and bought it. He used it regularly as a country retreat over the next fifteen years. He died at the house in 1870. In 1924 the house became Gad’s Hill School, which it remains today.