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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 December 2005, 09:43 GMT
Roads close for Dickens festival
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens lived in the Medway town of Rochester as a child
Parts of Medway will be traffic-free this weekend as the Dickensian Christmas festival gets under way.

Seven road closures will be in place during daylight hours in Rochester.

The council has apologised for delays but promised an "enchanting" experience including street entertainment, music, people in costume and Dickens readings.

A midday parade and twilight carols can be seen on both days as the town sets out to capture the Victorian Christmas described in A Christmas Carol.

Events include a chance to visit the house that inspired Charles Dickens to write his Christmas story, The Seven Poor Travellers.

And the council has said there will be guaranteed snow.

From 1000 to 1800 GMT
High Street from the Esplanade to Star Hill
Boley Hill from St Margaret's Street to the High Street
Northgate from Cathedral Garage car park to the High Street
Castle Hill
Epaul Lane to its junction with Boley Hill
From 0600 to 1800 GMT
Acorn Wharf Road
Horsewash Lane
(Closures in place both days)

Charles Dickens lived in Medway from 1817 to 1822 and returned to the area for the last 13 years of his life, dying at Gads Hill in 1870.

Restoration House in Rochester was the setting for Satis House in Great Expectations, where Miss Havisham lived.

And the novel also uses a bleak churchyard on the Hoo Peninsula as inspiration for the scene where the young Pip meets escaped convict Magwitch in the opening chapter.

Rochester is also home to the Grade I listed Eastgate House, which Dickens used as the Westgate House Seminary for Young Ladies in The Pickwick Papers and as the Nuns' House in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Other Dickens connections in Kent include Dickens House in Broadstairs which was once the home of a woman on whom the writer based Betsey Trotwood - a character in David Copperfield.

The first Dickens Christmas festival took place in Medway in 1988.

Dickens letter under the hammer
09 Sep 04 |  Southern Counties
Closing a chapter on Dickens
03 Aug 04 |  Kent


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