Dickens’ Portsmouth home open for private viewings
Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth is set to reopen for private viewings for the cost of a normal admission ticket.
The small rooms in the Portsmouth City Council-run museum make social distancing difficult so it is being opened for groups from the same household or support bubble, with no other visitors there at the same time.
Private viewings give visitors an hour slot to explore the museum and must be booked in advance.
Initially slots are available on 5, 18 and 19 September and 9 and 11 October.
Charles Dickens was born in this modest house in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812, when Britain’s Navy was still at war with Napoleonic France. Charles’s father, John Dickens, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, had brought his young bride Elizabeth down to Portsmouth in the summer of 1809, renting the house as the first home of their married life.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: “It is great news we’re able to reopen Charles Dickens’ Birthplace to visitors and these private viewings are a fantastic opportunity for anyone who hasn’t been before to discover more about one of our country’s greatest authors and his links to Portsmouth.
“It’s a small building so rather than bring in impractical social distancing measures people can book a time slot where they get it to themselves for an hour and can enjoy it without worry about other people, at no extra cost.”
The three furnished rooms feature a display on Charles Dickens and Portsmouth, as well as a small collection of memorabilia including the couch on which he died at his house in Kent along with his snuff box, inkwell and paper knife; poignant reminders of an author celebrated for his prodigious talents and creative output.