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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 11:18 GMT
Birthday treat for Dickens fans
Charles Dickens
The house was the first that Dickens' parents lived in together
Fans of Charles Dickens are invited to celebrate his birthday with a free tour of the place where he was born.

The Charles Dickens Birthplace museum is at a modest terraced house in Portsmouth, Hampshire, where the author was born on 7 February 1812.

Entry fees are being waived on Monday at the attraction, which usually only opens between April and September.

The young Dickens lived in Portsmouth until he was three and later visited to research his novel Nicholas Nickelby.

His father, John Dickens, had moved to the house in Portsmouth with his young bride Elizabeth in the summer of 1809, for his job as a clerk at the Navy Pay Office.

The couple rented the house, the first of their married life.

Three rooms - including the bedroom where Elizabeth gave birth to her son - have been restored and furnished in the Regency style the couple would have favoured.

Other artefacts include the couch on which Dickens died at a later home in 1870, by then a celebrated novelist and father of 10.

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