The house where Dickens was born in 1812 is now a museum
A project to discover how life was in Portsmouth around the time of Charles Dickens' birth in the city is to be funded with £270,000 of lottery cash.
The Dickens Community Archive project will mark the 2012 bicentenary of the author's birth.
Up to 1,000 residents will take part to research and chronicle life in the city during Dickens' era and compare it with life today.
It will be based at Dickens Birthplace Museum in the house where he was born.
The research will cover themes such as childhood, education, philanthropy, poverty and industrialisation and will be funded by money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Volunteers will work with artists, playwrights, photographers and filmmakers, leading to an exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum and other special events in 2012.
'Bring to life'
The archive will go online and volunteers will also be trained to act as costumed interpreters and dramatic readers at the Dickens Birthplace Museum.
David Williams, chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, said: "The Dickens Community Archive project aims to get people across the city working on family and community archives and sharing what they find with others.
"People who want to can then go on to work with the city archives, which vividly bring to life some of the issues Dickens explores in his novels, to see what they say about life in Portsmouth at the time he was writing."
The project will be run by Portsmouth City Council's Museums and Records Service.