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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 10:57 GMT
Dickens theme park rides tested
Artist's impression of Dickens World
An artist's impression shows Chatham's planned Dickens World
Work is near completion at a 60m theme park that celebrates the life and writings of Charles Dickens.

Safety testing has started on Dickens World's centrepiece boat ride which will take visitors on a journey through Dickensian England.

It is hoped the four-acre theme park in Chatham, Kent will draw 300,000 visitors a year when it opens in April.

The owners said it would enable visitors to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone age.

Dickens World has been built on derelict dockland close to where the writer lived as a child.

Smells and rats

Dickens World spokeswoman Emma Johnson said: "It will really take visitors on an amazing journey from the depths of the sewers of Dickensian London, with smells and rats, up through a magical flight over the rooftops...

"[Visitors will] really encompass the whole site and get a feeling for Dickens' world.

"We do want to convey that Dickensian times weren't the cleanest or nicest, but that is part of the attraction."

Believed to be one of the biggest undercover attractions in the world, it will house rides, a cinema, bars and restaurants.

Medway Council hopes the local economy will receive a boost with an estimated 200 jobs created at the site alone.




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