Virtual tours of Charles Dickens' Portsmouth birthplace are being held this weekend
CITY bookworms will have the chance to explore the birthplace of a beloved author this weekend - despite the pandemic.
Portsmouth City Council is hosting a virtual tour of Charles Dickens' birthplace on Sunday, to celebrate the author's date of birth on February 7, 1812.
The site, in Commercial Road, is shut due to the coronavirus outbreak and so the tour will be broadcast virtually via its Facebook page.
Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's culture boss, said: 'While the pandemic will prevent us from commemorating the anniversary of Dickens' birth in the usual way, our museums team have been working behind the scenes to bring the birthplace into the comfort of your home.
'Having access to the first Dickens' family home is an incredible honour and I hope many people will take advantage of the virtual tour being offered as part of the anniversary.'
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Rob Wood, agreed. 'It's important to remember Charles Dickens, who started his life in our city and went onto to enjoy unprecedented popularity throughout his life,' he said.
'He is widely considered as England's most famous and best-loved authors and to host a part of his history in Portsmouth is something that should be celebrated.'
In addition to the virtual tour, the Portsmouth Museums team will also be scheduling a number of social media posts to celebrate the life and works of Dickens.
Ian Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens and president of the Dickens Fellowship added: 'While I can't be there in person this year, I will be there in thought, as we mark the 209th birthday. Here's to normal service being resumed next year.'
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Dickens was born in Portsmouth and lived at 1 Mile End Terrace (now 393 Commercial Road), which is now home to the Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum, until the age of three.
The virtual tour will be broadcast live on the Charles Dickens' Birthplace Museum Facebook page at 11am on Sunday, February 7.
You can view it all via facebook.com/pg/DickensBirthplace. If you miss the tour on Sunday, it will be available from Monday as a recorded video.
Find out more about the museum at charlesdickensbirthplace.co.uk.