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Charles Dickens’ renovated Portsmouth home is unveiled

A £3.1m revamp of a former home of Portsmouth-born Charles Dickens has been unveiled.

The Charles Dickens Museum, in Bloomsbury, central London – family home to the 19th century critically acclaimed author between 1837 and 1839 – will reopen on Monday after undergoing major renovation work.

Visitors will be able to tour the house where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and finished writing The Pickwick Papers, stripped as far as possible of modern additions and restored to its original condition.

The Great Expectations project, funded largely through the Heritage Lottery Fund, has also restored neighbouring 49 Doughty Street to include a visitor and learning centre and a cafe, welcoming regular school trips for the first time.

It renovations works are completed in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth in Portsmouth.

The redesign, which opens the attic and kitchen of the house for the first time, has transformed the museum, first opened in 1925, director Florian Schweizer said

Visitors will be able to tour Dickens’s dining room, complete with place names for famous visitors such as William Macready, the great Shakespearian actor of the time and to see Dickens’s marriage licence.

His original writing desk and his reading desk, designed by himself, are among a series of items and documents on display.

It will also include costumes from the recent adaptation of Great Expectations, including Helena Bonham Carter’s Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes’s Magwitch costumes.

 

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