Nathaniel Bentley, more commonly known as Dirty Dick, was a fairly wealthy 18th century dandy, known as the Beau of Leadenhall Street, who, following the death of his fiancée on their wedding day, refused to ever wash or change his clothes ever again, and lived out his life in squalor.
His house and warehouse shop became so filthy over the years that he became a celebrity of dirt to the point where letters addressed merely to “The Dirty Warehouse, London”, would be delivered directly to Bentley without question.
A pub which Bentley once owned adopted his legend and recreated the look of his warehouse by using dead cats and cobwebs as decoration. As was described in 1866, Dirty Dick’s was:
A small public house … without floorboards; a low ceiling, with cobwebs festoons dangling from the black rafters; a pewter, bar battered and dirty, floating with beer, numberless gas pipes tied anyhow along the struts and posts to conduct the spirits from the barrels to the taps; sample phials and labelled bottles of wine and spirits on shelves- everything covered with virgin dust and cobwebs.
It is thought that Bentley might possibly have been the inspiration behind Charles Dicken’s Miss Havisham.
[Sources: Wikipedia | Dirty Dick’s Pub | Spitalfields Life]