Kingsley was enthusiastic about many things and in 1848 along with Frederick Denison and J. M. Ludlow he founded the Christian Socialism. Kingsley wrote many articles to support this movement and two novels, Alton Locke in 1850, about the plight of an urban worker and Yeast in 1851, about the ills of the rural poor. Kingsley’s opinions leaned more toward Christian than socialist.

Kingsley went on to write two more historical novels, Hypatia in 1853 and Westward Ho! In 1855, after writing these books he grew an interest in biology and wrote Glaucus in 1855, this book was a description of the wonders of the shore. Kingsley was also a poet, in 1863 he wrote Andromeda, this book was a children’s story where he combines his interest of natural science and religion. In 1859 Kingsley was appointed Chaplin to Queen Victoria and in the following year became regius of modern history at Cambridge. Kingsley wasn’t by any means a scholar but his lectures were popular, in 1861 he tutored the Prince of Wales and later Edward VII.

His concern for social reform is illustrated in his classic, The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby (1863), a tale about a chimney sweep, which retained its popularity well into the 20th century. The story mentions the main protagonists in the scientific debate over human origins, rearranging his earlier satire as the "great hippopotamus test". The book won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1963.

A Blue Plaque will be unveiled on the 12th December 2012 to honour the Rev Charles Kingsley at Coombe Court Guest House, Babbacombe Downs Road, Torquay where he resided with his wife in 1854 as a guest of Reverend William Grey.

Charles Kingsley's novel Westward Ho! led to the founding of a town by the same name (the only place name in England which contains an exclamation mark) and inspired the construction of the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway. A hotel in Westward Ho! was named for him and it was opened by him.

A hotel opened in 1897 in Bloomsbury, London, was named after Kingsley. The hotel was founded by teetotallers who admired Kingsley for his political views and his ideas on social reform. It still exists, and is now known as The Kingsley by Thistle. Back To Charles Kingsley Home Page >>>

Coombe Court Babbacombe Torquay