News and Events


The Dickens Fellowship

The Dickens Fellowship is an international organisation which has many branches in the U.K. and all over the world. The Portsmouth Branch is well-established and thriving in this city, having many connections with Charles Dickens, not least the house in which he was born, which has been a museum open to the public for over one hundred years.

If you are interested in the novels and other works of the author, and would like to find out more about his fascinating background and life, there is no better way than joining your local branch of the Fellowship.

Mission Statement

To knit together in a common bond of friendship all lovers of Charles Dickens's writings, and to spread the love of humanity, which is the keynote of all his works.

Portsmouth – the Birth Town of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on 7th February, 1812 in a small terraced house, number 1 Mile End Terrace, Landport, and lived there for the first four months of his life, before the family moved on to 16 Hawke Street, Portsea. When the house came up for sale in 1903 Portsmouth Corporation bought it, and opened it on 22nd July 1904 as a museum dedicated to the great author. It was administered in the earlier years by the Libraries & Museums Committee. In 1967 the Birthplace needed to be renovated, and its large collection of Dickens-related books, largely supplied by its first curator, Mr Alfred Seale, was transferred to the Central Library, which at that time was the one behind the Guildhall, and which is now Park Building, owned by the University.

What does the Portsmouth Branch do?

We hold regular meetings on the second Tuesday of each month, with the exception of February, July and August. These are held mainly in St. Swithun's Church Hall, Waverley Road, Southsea, and run from 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. The meetings are well-organised, and sometimes include talks, which are usually on a Dickens-related theme. We also have regular discussion and/or readings concerning our book of the year.

What else do we have to offer?

In addition to the meetings we run a number of other events, including:-

  • An Annual Birthday Lecture at John Pound's Church, High Street, Old Portsmouth, on the Saturday before 7th February (Charles Dickens's birthday).
  • A wreath-laying ceremony at the Birthplace Museum on the 7th February, in celebration of the birth of Charles Dickens.
  • A Birthday Lunch on the first Tuesday in February.
  • A church service at St. Alban's Church on a Sunday, when it falls on the 4th March, to celebrate the Baptism of Charles Dickens.
  • An annual outing by coach during the month of May.
  • An Evensong Service in St. Mary's Church, followed by refreshments and readings from the works of Dickens in the church hall to commemorate the death of Charles Dickens. This takes place on the Sunday nearest to 9th June.
  • Film shows at the University Library, University of Portsmouth, Cambridge Road, mostly the films of Dickens's novels.
  • The placing of a garland around the neck of the statue in Guildhall Square on the 7th February each year at approximately 12 noon.

Forthcoming meetings and events: 

Tuesday, 9th May
A Talk by Len Russell
What was going on in Portsmouth in 1870?
Also a talk by Prof. Tony Pointon entitled The Pickwick Syndrome

Friday, 9th June
An outing by coach to London including:
Visit to the Borough of Southwark, well-known to Dickens Entry to the Charles Dickens Museum in Doughty Street Commemoration of Dickens’s death with service in Westminster Abbey. For full details and booking forms- phone Margaret Durrant on 023 9286 4626

Sunday, 11th June
Commemoration of the death of Charles Dickens (9.6.1870)
4:00 pm: Evensong at St. Mary’s Church.
4.30 p.m: Readings and refreshments in the church hall.

Tuesday, 13th June
Bring & Buy Sale
Presentations/Discussion of Pickwick Papers

Tuesday, 12th September
Talk: The Complicated Origin of Pickwick Papers
By Prof. Tony Pointon
Presentations/Readings/Discussion of Pickwick Papers

10th October
Presentations/Readings/Discussion of Pickwick Papers

Tuesday, 14th November
Annual General Meeting with Bring & Buy

Tuesday, 12th December
A Dickens Christmas Occasion

What does it all cost?

The Branch charges an annual membership fee to members of only £8. This is exceptionally good value for money, and covers all meetings and communication. Certain events, such as the Annual Coach Outing and the Birthday Lunch, carry a separate cost, and members are informed of the ticket prices well in advance.

How do you find out more?

For further details and information, or if you would like to consider joining the Dickens Fellowship, please contact:

Geoffrey Christopher:
Tel: 023 9266 4205

Prof. Tony Pointon:
Tel: 023 9238 2241