Retrace the footsteps of the City’s literary heroes

Dickens 13/02/12 (PM)''Madeleine Salvetti from Eastrney who is leading the Charles Dickens guided walk through Portsmouth.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (120514-5)
Dickens 13/02/12 (PM)''Madeleine Salvetti from Eastrney who is leading the Charles Dickens guided walk through Portsmouth.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (120514-5)
Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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Charles Dickens’s birthday may have come and gone last week, but his bicentenary celebrations don’t end there.

Following a free Dickens Guided Walk last Tuesday, to celebrate 200 years since the birth of the great novelist in Southsea, there will be free walks every other Saturday at 2.30pm from tomorrow until August 18.

The 90-minute walks start from Victory Gate at the entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and end at Portsmouth City Museum, where visitors can see the new free Dickens exhibition, A Tale of One City. This explores the links between Charles Dickens and life in Portsmouth today.

Covering the area where the Dickens’ family lived and worked, the walk takes participants into the dockyard and out and around the outside perimeter wall to Portsea. They will then go towards the Old Beneficial School and out into St George’s Square before the route meanders down to Museum Road.

Talking about the author’s life in Portsmouth, the walk gives an insight into Victorian life and the different issues that Dickens was involved with.

The exhibition, meanwhile, covers education, health, crime – all the themes that Dickens brought into his books.

Leading tomorrow’s walk will be former teacher and chairman of Portsmouth Guiding Service Madeleine Salvetti.

She says: ‘The walk gives a general overview of the impact of Dickens, his links to Portsmouth and how proud we are of him and what he achieved.’

The walks continue after August as part of the September Heritage Open Days and Christmas events. See the panel below for full dates and booking details.

If you want to know more about other famous authors who have lived and worked in Southsea, try the Authors of Southsea Guided Walk which starts at the City Museum at 2.30pm on Sunday.

This walk will take you in the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who created his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in Southsea; H. G. Wells, who was an apprentice in Southsea; Rudyard Kipling, who lived in Southsea as a boy and, of course, the Great Inimitable himself – Charles Dickens.

For more information about the Southsea authors walk, call 023 9282 6722.

And, for a more sinister tour of Portsmouth’s historic figures, join the Spice Island Ghost Walk tonight.

Starting at the Square Tower on Broad Street at 7.30pm and ending at the Round Tower 60 to 90 minutes later, it sees costumed guides take participants deep into the city’s chequered history of murder, mayhem, plotting and politics.

From the sinking of flagships to the assassination of nobility, this walk is an experience of life in Georgian and Victorian Portsmouth.

Tickets cost £10 from 0808 120 1020.