info Coronavirus postponement

In line with government advice to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we have taken the decision to postpone Dickens 150 commemorative events. 

While we appreciate that this will be disappointing news, we hope you understand that the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff is of the utmost importance to us.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

More about Medway's response to the coronavirus

This year we’re celebrating all things Charles Dickens to commemorate 150 years since his death.

We have a jam-packed events calendar running from April onwards.

There’ll be exhibitions, poetry trails and art projects, as well as guided walks, dramatic adaptations and an open top bus tour.

Not to mention the much-loved Dickens Festival on 13 and 14 June. See Dickens come alive through street theatre, music, dance performances, displays, readings, workshops, roaming characters and parades.

There’s so much to see and do!

Dickens 150 anniversary logo

April

Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth on 2 April 1836 - this workshop celebrates the 184th anniversary of their wedding.

Booking is advised. You can visit any library or call 01634 337 799.

Location: Rochester Library

Time: 2.30pm to 4pm

Invitation to the exhibition preview, book launch and prize giving.

Join our exhibiting artists to celebrate the opening night of The Last Dream of My Soul Dickens 150 Print exhibition.

Find out who the winning print makers are in each category and be the first to pick up a copy of the limited edition Edwin Drood book.

Cost: Free All welcome. Refreshments available.

Location: Rochester Art Gallery

Visit Rochester Art Gallery between 9 April to 22 June and vote for your favourite Dickens themed print in The Last Dream of My Soul exhibition.

The winning people’s choice print maker will get a £100 art materials voucher to use in Artycat, kindly donated by Francis Iles, Rochester.

Cost: Free

Location: Rochester Art Gallery

This exciting exhibition focuses on Dickens’ death and his last unfinished book – Edwin Drood.

It will showcase works submitted by amateur and professional printmakers inspired by Dickens-related themes. Including a variety of printed work from linocuts, etchings, screenprints, letterpress to monoprints and even hand printed textiles or ceramics.

The exhibition will also include the rarely seen Victorian Funerary treasures. Including beautiful mourning jewellery, clothing and accessories, paintings and funeral cards.

You’ll also be able to see the re-issued first part of Edwin Drood. Including a wide range of different versions of the front cover, which were submitted to the gallery from local artists.

Come and help us celebrate the most iconic and ironic of English traditions at the English Festival.

Whilst you’re there, you can decorate your own postcard and write a message to Dickens. For inspiration, you can explore and handle various Victorian objects.

Location: Riverside Country Park

Time: 11am to 4pm

Location: Rochester Art Gallery

Join literary organisation Wordsmithery for a special workshop as part of Dickens 150. We invite Medway residents to fill the space left by Charles Dickens with their own writing.

Create your own poem or short story inspired by the exhibition in a session led by writer Sam Hall.

The gallery curator will select some of the finished pieces to add to the exhibition.

Location: Huguenot Museum

Cost: Normal admission prices apply

May

Location: Huguenot Museum

Time: 10am to 4pm

Cost: £50

Workshop with Heather Haythornthwaite.

Location: Medway Archives Centre

Cost: Free to view during normal opening hours

Come and view the amazing Dickens collection, which belonged to Percy Fitzgerald, a great friend to Dickens.

Location: Medway Archives Centre

Cost: Free to view during normal opening hours

Pop down and visit our exhibition on how Dickens is portrayed by various artists and photographers.

Also view Dickensland then and now, and learn even more about the writer.

Location: Gads Hill Place

Play by Ryan Philpott, Dickens Theatre Group

Keep checking back for more information or follow us @enjoymedway

June

Dickens and the Medway town workhouses.

Time: 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Location: Medway Archives Centre

Come and enjoy this free talk by Deborah Collins, who is an expert researcher for Kent workhouses and poorhouses.

Book by calling 01634 332714 or email malsc@medway.gov.uk

Ten writers have been spending time in various locations that held significance to Dickens.

They’ve drawn on this inspiration and created original poetry, which you can enjoy as part of the trail. Or simply stumble across as you wander around Rochester.

Collect your illustrated souvenir maps from any of our community hubs or from the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester.

Jump aboard our Dickens themed bus and learn even more about the famous writer.

Spot some of Dickens’ most loved characters along the route.

There’ll even be costumed characters on-board too!

The bus tour will also be running during the summer holidays.

Keep checking back for more information or follow us @Enjoymedway

Location: The Guildhall Museum

Cost: Free

Come and enjoy our new permanent exhibition.

This immersive and exciting experience explores the man behind the stories.

From his childhood days in Chatham through to his life as a global phenomenon in the splendour of Gads Hill Place.

You’ll be taken on the journey that made Charles Dickens the sensation we know today.

Watch a sneak peak of The Making of Mr Dickens

Location: Eastgate House

Come and wander through the various rooms as we take you back in time to a Victorian ladies’ college. Exactly what Eastgate House used to be.

There’ll be toys, games and clothing on display too.

Floriography is the sending of secret messages using flowers. It grew in popularity in Victorian time.

Join us and explore the language of flowers through writing.

Location: The Guildhall Museum

Cost: Free

Time: 10.30am to 3.30pm

Location: The Guildhall Museum

Dickens loved flowers – in particular, the geranium.

All the blooms and foliage will form a display that will be exhibited in the museum during the Dickens Festival on 13 and 14 June 2020.

Location:The Corn Exchange, Rochester

Come dressed as Dickensian milkmaids, ostlers, hoppers, farmers, or landed gentry. Meal included.

Earlybird ticket price of £22 per person until Monday 18 May. £26 after that date.

Book online

Location: Medway libraries

Times: 10.30am to 11am and 11.15am to 11.45am

As Dickens delivered many ‘Penny Readings’ of his own, we invite you to come and create frames made from pennies, both old and new.

We will use these frames to display artwork that local schools and art groups have developed.

Location: Huguenot Museum

Time: 9.30am to 1.30pm

Location: Rochester

The much-loved Dickens Festival returns as part of Dickens 150.

Join in and watch Dickens come alive through street theatre, music, dance performances, displays, readings, workshops, roaming characters and parades.

More about the Dickens Festival

Location: Huguenot Museum

Cost: Free

A fascinating series of short talks

Time: 11am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 3.30pm Cost: Free

Visitors to the Summer Dickens Festival can make their own commemorative Dickens print in Rochester Art Gallery inspired by the 100 Dickens prints on show there.

Drop in activity suitable for all ages.

Location: Guildhall Museum

Tickets: £10 or £8 for Friends of the Guildhall Museum

A series of four lectures on Charles Dickens by Dr Jeremy Clarke. Each talk will last about an hour, with refreshments afterwards.

November and December

Location: Eastgate House

Times and dates: To be confirmed

This performance of one of Charles Dickens’ best loved novels is truly unique.

As you enter our 16th century grand reception room, the drama will start to unfold all around you.

Keep checking back for more information or follow us @Enjoymedway

Location: Eastgate House

Times and dates: To be confirmed

Keep checking back for more information or follow us @Enjoymedway

Location: Eastgate House

Times and dates: To be confirmed

Explore this beautiful Grade I listed building all dressed up for Christmas, and discover how the Victorians invented many of our festive traditions.

Keep checking back for more information or follow us @Enjoymedway

Location: The Guildhall Museum

Times and date: To be confirmed

Come and enjoy an afternoon of fun and dancing with Dickens’ best-loved couple in the beautiful setting on the museum’s 17th century chamber.

Keep checking back for more information or follow us @Enjoymedway

Location: Rochester

Uncover a feast of Victorian delights, costumed characters and wonderful Dickensian parades.

Then when dusk is upon us, join in our Christmassy open-air carol concert.

During the day there’s also an amazing Christmas market set in the beautiful grounds of Rochester Castle Gardens. Wander the Bavarian food village, visit the funfair and be entertained by live performers.

There’s even a guaranteed snowfall.

Location: Meeting outside the Visitor Information Centre, Rochester on various days

Dickens' guided walks run throughout the year.

Be taken on a tour of Rochester, organised by the City of Rochester Society.

Learn all about Dickens as well as the local buildings and places that inspired him.

Fair in rochester castle gardens
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