Dickens wins the mark of approval to be a man of letters

TO BE FRANKED The recently-unveiled statue of Charles Dickens in Guildhall Square

TO BE FRANKED The recently-unveiled statue of Charles Dickens in Guildhall Square

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ALL mail sent to Portsmouth is set to get a Charles Dickens postmark as Royal Mail marks the author’s birthplace.

It comes as the company says it wants to celebrate the 19th century author’s life after a bronze statue of the man himself was installed in Guildhall Square.

Royal Mail Charles Dickens stamp Postmark

Royal Mail Charles Dickens stamp Postmark

And his great-great-grandson Ian Dickens said he is delighted as it will highlight his ancestor’s work and connection with Portsmouth – his birthplace.

Ian told The News: ‘It’s terrific, it’s very nice that they’re going to do that.

‘As ever, one is constantly surprised but proud there are so many ways that people want to recognise Charles Dickens and his contribution.

‘Anything that highlights that connection with Portsmouth is great.’

He added that while working on the statue project he found a lot of people did not know the author of Great Expectations was born in the city in 1812.

‘People make the assumption that it was London or maybe somewhere in Kent,’ he added.

Just as Shakespeare is synonymous with Stratford-upon-Avon, he wants to make sure people tie Dickens and Portsmouth together.

He said: ‘We should be getting the same response – when you say Dickens, people should say Portsmouth.’

From today until March 7, post sent to any PO postcode will get a postmark reading ‘Celebrating the birth of Charles Dickens 1812 – 1870’.

It comes after Royal Mail marked the 2012 bicentenary of the author’s birth with six stamps featuring illustrations of characters from his novels.

Ian added he would like to see all post leaving the area also have the postmark as it would spread the message to those further afield.

The sculpture of Dickens was revealed in the city on February 7 – exactly 202 years after he was born in Old Commercial Road.

It is the first full-size statue of him 
in the country – there are others overseas including in Philadelphia and Sydney.

More than 100 guests were invited to the unveiling of the £150,000 statue, including 40 members of the Dickens family. Ian said £10,000 still needs to be raised to pay for the statue.

Royal Mail operations director Tony Fox said: ‘Charles Dickens was one of the truly great British novelists.

‘We are delighted to commemorate his life in this unique way’

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