Virtually explore Charles Dickens’ birthplace this weekend

Portsmouth City Council is hosting a virtual tour of Charles Dickens’ birthplace on Sunday, to celebrate the author’s day of birth on 7 February 1812.

Widely regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Dickens created some of the most notable fictional characters of all time including Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and David Copperfield to name a few.

The writer was born in Portsmouth; spending the first three years of his life at 1 Mile End Terrace (now 393 Commercial Road), which is now home to the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum. To celebrate the 209th anniversary of his birth, and while the Museum remains closed to the public due to the pandemic, the council is running a series of virtual events and activities.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development at Portsmouth City Council, said: “While the pandemic will prevent us from commemorating the anniversary of Dickens’ birth in the usual way, our Museums team have been working behind the scenes to bring the birthplace into the comfort of your home. Having access to the first Dickens’ family home is an incredible honour and I hope many people will take advantage of the virtual tour being offered as part of the anniversary.”

The virtual tour will be broadcast live on the Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum Facebook page at 11am on Sunday 7 February.

Cllr Rob Wood, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, said: “It’s important to remember Charles Dickens, who started his life in our city and went onto to enjoy unprecedented popularity throughout his life. He is widely considered as England’s most famous and best-loved authors and to host a part of his history in Portsmouth is something that should be celebrated.”

Ian Dickens, Great, Great Grandson of Charles Dickens and President of the Dickens Fellowship – an association of people who advocate and share the life and works of Dickens – added: “While I can’t be there in person this year, I will be there in thought, as we mark the 209th birthday. Here’s to normal service being resumed next year!”

In addition to the virtual tour, the Portsmouth Museums team will also be scheduling a number of social media posts to celebrate the life and works of Dickens. You can view it all on their Facebook page. If you miss the tour on Sunday, it will be available from Monday as a recorded video.

Find out more about the Museum at www.charlesdickensbirthplace.co.uk.

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