Who's Who

The Charles Dickens Museum is governed by an independent charitable trust which aims to protect and preserve 48 Doughty Street and its museum collections, and to promote the appreciation of Dickens’s works through an on-going programme of exhibitions, events and educational activities.

Board of Directors

Sandra Lynes Timbrell, Chair

Sandra Lynes Timbrell has worked in the heritage and cultural sector for 20 years. She is Director of Visitor Engagement at St Paul’s Cathedral where she leads the commercial, visitor experience, collections and marketing teams. Growing up in Bloomsbury meant that Sandra came into contact with the Charles Dickens Museum and the author’s work from an early age, all thanks to her grandmother who used to bring her to the museum and buy her his novels, at far too early an age, to encourage her reading!  Sandra lives in south west London with her husband, three children and Mable the cat. Sandra’s favourite Dickens novel is Great Expectations and her favourite character is Nancy from Oliver Twist – a complicated woman who ultimately risks her own life to save another.

Anne Byrne, Vice Chair

Anne Byrne is an experienced commercial lawyer, having been a partner at global law firm Linklaters LLP and general counsel at FTSE 250 property company, Capital & Counties Properties PLC. She is currently a trustee of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, an independent committee member for The Samaritans and joined the Charles Dickens Museum Board in July 2021. Anne enjoys hiking in the countryside and visiting historic properties and gardens. In Anne’s view, Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities is one of Dickens’s most memorable characters, a lawyer who wastes his talents but ends the book as an unlikely hero.

Paul Allen

Paul has spent most of his working life in the social care sector and, since 2018, has been the Chief Executive of Vibrance, a charity supporting adults with a learning disability across London and the south-east. His love affair with Dickens began whilst travelling round America in 1978 and becoming homesick. He also loves rock music (especially live gigs) and is a season ticket holder at Chelsea FC, who he has supported since 1969. His favourite Dickens character is Captain Cuttle (Dombey and Son), admiring his simple honesty, loyalty, gentle nature and positive attitude regardless of the challenges he is facing.

Neil Bennett

Neil is the CEO of Maitland/AMO, one of the UK’s leading strategic communications and PR firms, headquartered at King’s Cross, London. He is also a journalist and has held reporting and editing roles at The Sunday Telegraph and The Times. His career highlights include interviewing Bill Gates and being named Business Journalist of the Year for two years in succession. Outside work he is a passionate collector of Dickens memorabilia and has run marathons on five continents. His favourite Dickens character is Mr Venus, the lovestruck taxidermist from Our Mutual Friend. Neil joined the Board of the Charles Dickens Museum in March 2020.

Liz Bowers

Liz Bowers has worked in the cultural sector for over 20 years, both as a consultant and in senior leadership roles at Imperial War Museums and Royal Museums Greenwich, where she led commercial, visitor services and marketing teams. Currently at museum consultancy Cultural Innovations, Liz has also worked with the V&A, the Ashmolean, National Galleries of Scotland and the Royal Society for British Architects. Liz joined the Board of the Charles Dickens Museum in March 2020. One of her favourite Dickens characters is the colourful Jack Dawkins, aka the Artful Dodger (Oliver Twist), who has learned to survive on his wits and whose confident swagger, adult mannerisms and audacious court appearance bring this compelling character to life.

Kate Clements

Kate Clements has over 17 years of experience in the museum sector in a range of roles, principally in exhibition and object curation, interpretation, historical research and public history. She has curated a number of exhibitions at IWM London, including the permanent, award-winning Second World War Galleries; the Victoria Cross and George Cross Gallery, Extraordinary Heroes; and Crown and Conflict: Portraits of a Queen in Wartime. Kate is the author of Total War: A People’s History of the Second World War and The Royal Family in Wartime. She is currently Curator of the Churchill War Rooms. Kate’s favourite Dickens character is Ebenezer Scrooge: not a popular choice perhaps, but she finds his story of redemption to be a source of hope that there is good in everyone, and that no-one is beyond saving.

Sarah Cranmer

Sarah Cranmer has 20 years of experience in the cultural sector and is currently Head of Development at nearby Goodenough College. Sarah was Head of Events in the Development Department at the Royal Academy of Arts for over 10 years and most recently worked at the National Portrait Gallery on its capital campaign and reopening. She has also worked at the National Trust, English Heritage, the Courtauld Gallery and English National Ballet, specialising in commercial, events and fundraising. Sarah lived in Bloomsbury when she first moved to London to study at the Courtauld Institute and visited the museum for the first time. Her favourite Dickens novel is Bleak House, and her favourite character is Miss Flite – an eccentric but with great moments of lucidity, she is well-liked and respected by others despite her modest circumstances.

Ian Ellard

Ian has been Head of V&A Academy, the lifelong learning department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, since 2019. Before that, he was Director of Faber Academy, a creative writing school run by independent publishing house, Faber Books. He holds an MBA from the Open University, and his particular interest is in the interplay between public and commercial value creation in hybrid organisations. Ian lives in south east London with his partner, their son and a cat named Joni Mitchell. His hobbies are very black and white: piano, chess, and reading. His favourite Dickens character is Judy Smallweed (Bleak House) because he loves to shake things up.

Penelope Hines

Penelope is a curator with an interest in historic houses and decorative arts, particularly the combination of the historic house, collections and interpretation and how this can create a holistic understanding of a person or family. She has previously worked as a curator at the National Trust, Victoria & Albert Museum and National Museum Wales. She first encountered Charles Dickens through studies at school and is particularly interested in further exploring his non-fiction writing. Her favourite character is Esther Summerson (Bleak House) due to her personality and relationships, which are still relatable today. Penelope joined the Charles Dickens Museum Board in July 2021.

Malcolm John

Malcolm is the founder of the UK wide campaign organisation, Action for Trustee Racial Diversity, aimed at addressing the significant under-representation of individuals from Black and Asian backgrounds on charity trustee Boards. He is also a trustee of the Association of Chairs, the membership body for Chairs of charities across England and Wales, a trustee of the British American Drama Academy, an Independent Panel Member of the Ministry of Justice Public Appointments Unit, and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. On the grounds that very few of Dickens's characters are flawless, Malcolm nominates two, not dissimilar, creations among his favourite characters: firstly, Mr Micawber (Mr Micawber) for his optimism and penchant for altruism, and secondly, The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (A Christmas Carol) for highlighting how we can all learn from our mistakes to change for the greater good.

Sarah Ridley

Sarah has over 30 years’ experience in the charity and commercial sectors in the UK and US.  She served as a curator and educator at the Smithsonian Institution and as a grantmaker for the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. In the UK, she led The Tubney Charitable Trust, an environmental grantmaker, and The London Marathon Charitable Trust.  Now a consultant, she provides advice on governance and strategy. She is Vice Chair of Carers Worldwide.  Sarah is fascinated by the life chances and choices that lead to the evolution of the relationship between Magwitch and Pip in Great Expectations.  

Liz Waller

Liz is a graduate in English Literature and has worked in Higher Education Libraries, Archives and Museums for over 30 years, including former polytechnics and Russell Group institutions. In the past, she specialised in access to education, training, marketing and buildings in libraries and more recently she enjoyed leading a diverse collections portfolio incorporating museums, libraries and archives as Director of Library and Collections at Durham University. Liz has served on the Executive Boards of both SCONUL and Research Libraries UK, representing the sector on a national basis. Liz has also enjoyed international collaborations with networks in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Now retired, Liz continues to contribute to the sector in a voluntary capacity, including as a trustee of York Museums Trust from 2024. Her favourite Dickens character is Lizzie Hexham from Our Mutual Friend - a heroine with real resilience who remains strong to her beliefs and principles. 


Simon Callow

Mark Dickens

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley

Miriam Margolyes

Emeritus Professor Michael Slater

Academic Advisors

Emeritus Professor Michael Slater

Emeritus Professor Jenny Hartley

Professor Juliet John

Dr Pete Orford

Dr Tony Williams

Dr Leon Litvack

Dr Lee Jackson

Key Staff

Director - Dr Cindy Sughrue OBE

Deputy Director: Programmes & Collections - Frankie Kubicki

Curator -  Emma Harper

Operations Manager - Lea Roth

Learning Manager - Hayley Kruger

Marketing & Events Manager - Jordan Evans-Hill

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