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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 05:24 GMT 06:24 UK
Work starts on Dickens theme park
Artist's impression of Dickens World
An artist's impression shows Chatham's planned Dickens World
Work is due to start on a 60m theme park in Kent based on the life and work of Charles Dickens.

Dickens World is to be built on derelict dockland at Chatham, where the Victorian novelist lived as a boy.

A multiplex cinema with bars and restaurants is to open in October 2006 and the theme park in April 2007.

"We look forward to Dickens World becoming one of Medway's leading visitor attractions," said project director Jonathan Sadler.

Cobbled streets

The themed attraction will be based on the life, times and books of Dickens.

It will reproduce Victorian architecture, with cobbled streets and specialist lighting providing the background to rides and other entertainment.

Work is expected to begin in the next two months.

Chatham Maritime site is the flagship of the South East England Development Agency (Seeda).

"Rochester and Chatham make a natural location for a project based on Charles Dickens," said Mr Sadler.

"Dickens not only lived here, but it is where he originated many of his storylines."

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