- Posted by membership
- On February 7, 2023
New Dickens letter will soon be on display in Medway
A new letter, written by Charles Dickens’ son, will soon be on display in Medway.
Medway Council is delighted to announce today (Tuesday, 7 February), on Charles Dickens’ birthday, that a letter written by his first-born son, Charlie Dickens, has been donated to The Guildhall Museum in Rochester.
The letter from the ‘Office of All the Year Round’ is dated 29 June 1870, the month of Dickens’ death, and is addressed to Francis M Webb Esq, Hon Secretary, Rochester Book Society, City Coffee House, Rochester and thanks the society for their ‘kind address of condolence’. Both the envelope and the letter feature a heavy black border to mark his death.
Stephen Downham, a member of the Pickwick Bicycle Club and the Dickens Pickwick, donated the letter to The Guildhall Museum in Rochester High Street as he wanted to find it a new home before moving abroad.
Last week, Harry Whinney and Ian Dickens, Charles Dickens’ great, great grandsons, delivered the letter to The Guildhall Museum.
The letter will be put on display in the council’s The Making of Mr Dickens exhibition later this year. The exhibition explores the relatively unknown side of Dickens’ life including his happy and adventurous childhood in Chatham, the days he spent living hand to mouth in London and his return to Higham, near Rochester, as well as the inspiration he found from living in Medway.
The exhibition was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen Consort (formerly HRH The Duchess of Cornwall) in February 2022.
Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I would like to thank Stephen Downham for donating this letter to our exhibition. It will make an excellent addition to The Making of Mr Dickens exhibition which celebrates one of England’s finest writers. The exhibition is the starting point for residents, and visitors, wishing to discover more about Dickens’ fascinating life as well as his inspirations and connections to Medway.”
Visit here more information about The Guildhall Museum, and the Dickens’ exhibition.