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Medway children follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens

Friday, 19 May

Hundreds of children will be embracing Dickensian life at this year’s Dickens Festival.


Rochester’s summer festivities celebrate the life of Charles Dickens, and this year’s Dickens Festival is part of the 350th commemoration of the Battle of Medway.


The theme for this year’s festival, which takes place between Friday 9 and Sunday, 11 June, is The Pickwick Papers.


On the Friday more than 800 primary and secondary school children and their teachers will be following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens as they take part in the Grand Parade at 1.30pm. Dressed in Victorian and Dickensian themed costumes, the children will walk along Rochester High Street, where Dickens once wandered to gather inspiration for many of his novels and characters.


Fun activities for all the family

Throughout the day more than 1,200 schoolchildren will take part in a number of fun and educational workshops, from making framed illustrations of Dickens’ famous characters to screen prints of Victorian silhouettes. They will also be able to explore a collection of Victorian objects and clothes, join in guided tours of Rochester and the cathedral, and enjoy an open air production of A Dickens Dictionary, by students from London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.


They will also get to meet Charles Dickens’ great-great grandchild, Gerald Dickens. He will be speaking about the world-renowned novelist’s fascinating childhood, including Dickens’ time in Chatham. 


Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “The Grand Parade will be a lively spectacle with hundreds of children taking to the streets of Rochester wearing Victorian costumes and surrounded by Dickensian characters.


“Lots of activities have been arranged throughout the Dickens Festival weekend for all of the family to enjoy. There will be walking tours, craft fairs, live music performances and much more.”