Dickens 150

In 2020 we’re celebrating all things Dickens to commemorate 150 years since his death.

There’ll be exhibitions, poetry trails and art projects, guided walks, dramatic adaptations and even an open top bus tour.  A special exhibition is being installed at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester  - 'The Making of Mr Dickens' explores the man behind the stories from his childhood days in Chatham through to his life as a global phenomenon in the splendour of Gads Hill Place. You’ll be taken on the journey that made Charles Dickens the sensation we know today. 

During November and December there's plenty of festive things taking place in Rochester.  From Christmas markets at the castle, Dickensian Christmas with costume characters, parades and carols in the snow to a Victorian Christmas at Eastgate House with live performances of Christmas Carol, late night ghost stories and fireside stories by Father Christmas.

There’s so much to see and do.

Dickens 150
Calendar of Events & Activities 

COVID-19
In line with Government advice, events and activities due to take place
until the end of June have been postponed until further notice.

April

A Dickens Whodunnit?

A Dickens Whodunnit? Eastgate House
Solving the Mystery of Edwin Drood, an exhibition produced in collaboration with the Charles Dickens Museum in London.  You can investigate the scenes which feature in Rochester and come up with your own ending to the mystery.  Exhibition available now!

Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (last admission 4.15pm).  Normal admission fees apply. 

Currently still available.

 

 

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Book Club

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Book Club
From April 2020, monthly reading groups will be taking place across Medway's library services.

This isn’t just any book club. Your whole reading experience will be enhanced with tours of some of the locations used by Dickens in the book, handling of certain objects which the plot revolves around and a tour of the exhibition - The Last Dream of my Soul - Dickens, Death & Drood. 

From April onwards. Postponed until further notice.

Weddings and Marriage writing workshop

Weddings and Marriage writing workshop  
Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth on 2 April 1836 - this workshop celebrates the 184th anniversary of their wedding.  Part of The Empty Chair Project.

Thursday, 2 April.  2.30-4pm, suitable for adults

Rochester Library, Community Hub Rochester.  Booking advised – visit any library or call 01634 337799

Postponed until further notice.

The People Print: Image by Christie Grant - The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Peoples Print  
Visit  Rochester Art Gallery between 9 April - 22 June and vote for your favourite Dickens themed print in The Last Dream of My Soul exhibition.

The winning people’s choice printmaker will receive a £100 art materials voucher to use in Artycat, kindly donated by Francis Iles, Rochester.

Thursday, 9 April to Monday, 22 June.  Postponed until further notice.

Exhibition Preview: Image by Lydia Chrysanthou - The Mystery of Edwin Drood

INVITATION - Exhibition Preview, Book Launch & Prize Giving   
Join our exhibiting artists to celebrate the opening night of The Last Dream of My Soul Dickens 150 Print exhibition, find out who the winning printmakers are in each category and be the first to pick up a copy of the limited edition Edwin Drood book.

Free, all welcome. Refreshments.

Thursday, 9 April.  6.30-8.30pm.  Postponed to further notice.

The Last Dream of my Soul (Image 'Edwin Drood is missing' by Richard Mott 2020)

The Last Dream of my Soul - Dickens, Death and Drood at Rochester Art Gallery
Incorporating an Open Print Call for artists to create a new front cover for 'Drood' or works inspired by Dickens life.

Prints will be exhibited alongside beautiful Victorian funerary treasures, mourning dress and Dickens items loaned from the Guildhall Museum's collection.

From Friday, 10 April to Saturday, 27 June 2020. Admission Free.   Postponed until further notice.

A Postcard to Dickens at The English Festival

A postcard to Dickens – at The English Festival 
Decorate your own postcard and pen a message to Dickens on the back. 

Explore Victorian objects from the Guildhall Museum for inspiration.  Suitable for all ages.  Part of The Empty Chair Project.

Saturday, 18 April.  11am-4pm.   Riverside Country Park, Gillingham. Postponed until further notice.

The Empty Chair Writing Workshop - Image by Emily Woolford '58: In Memoriam'

The Empty Chair - Writing Workshop
Join literary organisation Wordsmithery, at Rochester Art Gallery for a special workshop as part of Dickens 150 inviting Medway residents to fill the space left by Charles Dickens with their own writing.  

Create your own poem or short story inspired by the exhibition in a session led by writer Sam Hall www.wordsmithery.info/chair.  The gallery curator will select some of the finished pieces to add to the exhibition.

Wednesday 22nd April.  2-3.30pm. Postponed until further notice.

Special Exhibition: Phiz who drew Dickens

Phiz the Huguenot who drew Dickens
Huguenot Museum
A display of drawings and prints by artist Phiz, who worked with Dickens and other authors to bring their stories to life.

Hablot Knight Browne was an English artist and illustrator and a Huguenot descendant. Well-known by his pen name 'Phiz', he illustrated books by Charles Dickens.  For admission times and prices, click here for details.

29 April to 5 September 2020.  Start date postponed until further notice.

May

Dickens Guided Walks

The City of Rochester Society - Special Charles Dickens 2020 Events
To mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death the Society is putting on a wide variety of special guided walking tours and rambles, plus a unique & entertaining musical concert.

From 9 May to 5 September - For further details click hereStart date postponed until July.

Drypoint Etching Workshop

Drypoint Etching at the
Huguenot Museum, Rochester
Create your own prints or be inspired by Phiz's work using the same technology the engravers and printers used in Dickens' time with Heather Haythornwaite.

At this workshop you will be able to consider the importance of these images to the text before having a go at your own drypoint etched prints.

Saturday, 16 May. 10am-4pm. Workshop fee £50. To book click herePostponed until further notice.

 

Dickensland: Exhibitions

Dickensland at Medway Archives Centre, Strood
Aspects of Dickens: three free exhibitions running concurrently in the Foyer. 

1.  Dickens' friend Percy FitzgeraldPercy Fitzgerald was a writer and sculptor.  He knew Dickens personally and was one of the founder members of the Dickens Fellowship;
2.  Dickens as portrayed by artists and photographers: illustrations from the Medway Archives Centre Collections;  
3.  Dickens Land then and now - places known to Dickens and mentioned in his writings 

Thursday, 21 May to Friday, 31 July. Free to view during normal opening hours.  Start date postponed until further notice.

Percy Fitzgerald Exhibition

Percy Fitzgerald Exhibition at Medway Archives Centre, Strood
Come and view the amazing Dickens collection, which belonged to Percy Fitzgerald, a great friend to Dickens.

Free to view during normal opening hours.

Thursday, 21 May to Friday, 31 July. Start date postponed until further notice.

Dickens Dream by the Dickens' Theatre Co.

Dickens' Dream at Gad's Hill Place, Higham
A brand new play by the Dickens’ Theatre company with performances held at Gad’s Hill Place, where Dickens spent the latter part of his life and died. The play takes you through Charles Dickens’ final hours with his sister-in-law, Georgina.

Saturday, 30 May to Sunday, 21 June. Limited places available, pre-booking essential.  Click here for more information on dates and timings.  

Tickets £25 available from 01474 337600 or via email [email protected] 

June

'Please Sir, I want some more'

'Please Sir, I want some more': Dickens and the Workhouses of Medway
(at Medway Archives Centre, Strood) 
Come and enjoy this free talk by Deborah Collins, expert researcher for Kent Workhouses and Poorhouses. Please book by calling 01634 332714 or email [email protected]                                

Wednesday, 3 June. 2.30-3.30pm.  Postponed until further notice.

 

Dickens Lecture Series - Lecture One

Dickens Lecture Series: Guildhall Museum 
First in a series of four lectures on Charles Dickens. The lecture will be delivered in the Main Chambers of the Guildhall by Dr. Jeremy Clarke.

It will be last about an hour, with refreshments afterwards.

Tickets will be £10 (£8 for friends of the Guildhall Museum).

Tuesday, 9 June 2020. Postponed until further notice.

The Making of Mr Dickens

The Making of Mr Dickens
Come and enjoy our new permanent exhibition. This immersive and exciting experience explores the man behind the stories. From his childhood days in Chatham through to his life as a global phenomenon in the splendour of Gads Hill Place. You’ll be taken on the journey that made Charles Dickens the sensation we know today. 

Opening 11 June 2020. Admission Free.

For a preview on The Making of Mr Dickens exhibition visit the Guildhall Museum. Postponed until further notice.

Dickens Festival Family Print Workshop

Dickens Festival Family Printmaking Workshop
Visitors to the Summer Dickens Festival can make their own commemorative Dickens print in Rochester Art Gallery inspired by the 100  Dickens prints on show there.

Free drop in activity suitable for all ages. 

Saturday, 13 and Sunday 14 June.  11am-1pm and 1.30-3.30pm. Postponed until further notice.

Penny Prints: Medway Libraries

Penny Prints: Medway Libraries
Use pennies old and new to create your own souvenir print, and help us to create penny print frames for portraits of characters from Charles Dickens stories.  

A family printing activity suitable for 4-10 year olds. Penny Prints is part of a Medway Print Festival 2020 event.

Saturday 13 June at 10.30-11.45am and 11.15-11.45am. Postponed until further notice.

Flowers for Mr Dickens & Language of Flowers writing workshop

Flowers for Mr Dickens & Language of Flowers writing workshop at the Guildhall Museum
Come and make a paper or card flower that can form part of our floral tribute to Charles Dickens.  All the blooms and foliage will be brought together to form a display (or several) that will be exhibited in the museum during the Dickens Festival weekend.

You can also take part in the Language of Flowers workshop with Wordsmithery at the museum on the same day. A drop-in workshop, led by Animate Arts, open to all and no need to book.

Friday, 12 June.  10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm. Postponed until further notice.

The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair  
Throughout 2020, Wordsmithery are running writing workshops and spoken word events inspired by the life and works of Charles Dickens at Medway Libraries, The Guildhall Museum and Medway Adult Education. 

At regular and pop-up events, we are inviting Medway residents and visitors to fill Dickens’ ‘Empty Chair’ with their own words.

From June to September.  Start date postponed until further notice.

Dickens Lecture Series - Lecture Two

Dickens Lecture Series: Guildhall Museum
Second in a series of four lectures on Charles Dickens. The lecture will be delivered in the Main Chamber by Professor Cathy Waters.

It will last about an hour, with refreshments afterwards. Tickets will be £10 (£8 for Friends of the Guildhall Museum). 

Tuesday, 16 June 2020. Postponed until further notice.

Dickens Lecture Series - Lecture Three

Dickens Lecture Series: Guildhall Museum
Third in a series of four lectures on Charles Dickens. The lecture will be delivered in the Main Chamber of the Guildhall. 

It will last about an hour, with refreshments afterwards. 

Tickets will be £10 (£8 for Friends of the Guildhall Museum). 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020. Postponed until further notice.

Dickens Lecture Series - Lecture Four

Dickens Lecture Series: Guildhall Museum
Final lecture in a series of four lectures on Charles Dickens. The lecture will be delivered in the Main Chamber by Joss Marsh of the Kent Museum of the Moving Image. 

It will last about an hour, with refreshments afterwards.

Tickets £10 (£8 for Friends of the Guildhall Museum).

Tuesday, 30 June 2020. Postponed until further notice.

Treasures of Childhood at Eastgate House

Treasures of Childhood at Eastgate House
Explore 150 years of playing and learning at Eastgate House this summer. Wander through a maze of rooms filled with displays, toys, games and artefacts from Victorian times to the present day, along with  memories from local people about the games they invented as children.

Saturday 11th July until Sunday 15th November and is open Wednesday to Sundays, 10am to 5pm (last admission 4.15pm). 

Normal admission fees apply, for further details click here.

November

A Christmas Carol at Eastgate House

A Christmas Carol at Eastgate House 
This performance of one of Charles Dickens’ best loved novels is truly unique.

As you enter our 16th century grand reception room, the drama will start to unfold all around you. 

During November and December.  

Late Night Dickens Ghost Stories

Late Night Dickens Ghost Stories at Eastgate House
Come along and listen to eerie late night Ghost Stories at Eastgate House.

Dickens was not only famous for his classic books but also his ghost stories.  A Christmas Carol being the most popular and The Signalman the eeriest. 

During November and December.

A Victorian Christmas at Eastgate House

A Victorian Christmas at Eastgate House   
A special festive treat for all the family at Eastgate House.  Listen to a fireside tale about the mice who live in the house read by Victorian Father Christmas.

After the story see if you can find the mice all around the building.

During November and December.

December

Festive Fun with the Fizziwigs

Festive Fun with the Fizziwigs at The Guildhall Museum, Rochester
Come and enjoy an afternoon of fun and dancing with Dickens’ best-loved couple, in the beautiful setting of the museum’s 17th century main chamber. Includes a reading from  A Christmas Carol and a Victorian dance demonstration with costumed characters. 

Mince pies and soft drinks included. Come early and explore the museum before the event.

During December. 

Dickensian Christmas

Dickensian Christmas - Historic Rochester
Uncover a feast of Victorian delights, costumed characters and wonderful Dickensian parades.

Then when dusk is upon us, join in our Christmassy open-air carol concert. During the day there’s also an amazing Christmas market set in the beautiful grounds of Rochester Castle Gardens. There’s even a guaranteed snowfall. For more information click here.

Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 December.

Please Sir, can I have so more....  With so many exciting chapters making up the story of Dickens' 150th anniversary, it's hard to know where to begin.  

The legacy of Charles Dickens lives on at the places associated with the author throughout Kent -for more information go to Visit Kent's website.  Plus, don't forget to check out the special commemorative events that will also taking place not far from Medway in Gravesham - www.visitgravesham.co.uk