More than 300 people packed a tiny remnant of Dickensian Portsmouth this morning to pay tribute to the master wordsmith.
In biting cold and a handful of aptly atmospheric snowflakes, they burst into a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to wish Charles Dickens 200th birthday greetings.
The scene in Old Commercial Road was brought to life by many dressed in Victorian costume.
Great great grandson Ian Dickens told The News: ‘It’s a marvellous occasion with people here from all over the world.
‘This just cements in my mind the wonderful affection in which my great great grandfather and his works are held today by young and old.’
Ten-year-old Sky Musselwhite, a pupil at Charles Dickens’s School said: ‘I really wanted to come today and be part of history.
‘We’ve just read Oliver Twist at school and it made me realise how lucky we all are to have enough to eat.’
A service of thanksgiving is now being held at St Mary’s Church, the parish church of Portsea.