The Dickens’ Trail

Birthplace- 393 Old Commercial Road, Landport, Portsmouth. Charles Dickens was born there on the morning of 7th February, 1812, and lived there until the family moved to Hawke Street.

The Navy Pay Office, HMS Dockyard. John Dickens worked there, paying the sailors, from 1807 to 1815.

The George Hotel (1784), Queen Street. John Dickens’s local inn, oldest in the town.

16 Hawke Street, Charles Dickens’s second home, yards from the George (now gone). Near the dockyard, with the oldest inn in Portsmouth, the George Hotel (1784) on the corner where Marc Brunel and John Dickens would have met (plaque on the wall).

The Common Hard – On the Common Hard, just outside the main Dockyard Gate, Nicholas Nickleby and Smike would find cheap lodgings above a Tobacconist’s up “two pair of stairs and a ladder”. (In Nicholas Nickleby,they had been to the Portsmouth Theatre – later the Theatre Royal – in the High Street, Old Portsmouth where the present Portsmouth Grammar School stands opposite the John Pounds Memorial Church.)

38 Wish Street(now a green space next “8 Kings Road”, Southsea): Charles Dickens’s third home.

Beneficial Hall (1784), 42 Kent Street, Portsmouth. Elizabeth Dickens had to leave a dance there precipitately on the evening of 6th February, 1812. Charles was born the following morning.

St. George’s Square, here, in St. George’s Hall (now gone) Dickens gave his last readings in Portsmouth on  24th and 25th May, 1866.

St. Mary’s Church (1883), Fratton Road. Charles was baptised, on 4th March, 1812 at the 15th Century font in the Norman church (1164) which originally stood on this site. Charles’s  sister, Fanny, had been baptised here in 1810, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1806.

St. Alban’s Church, Copnor Road. This now houses the font where Charles was baptised.

Highland Road Cemetery. Dickens-related graves.

John Pounds Memorial Church and replica of his Workshop/Ragged School. High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Reverend Ashton Burrows Naval Academy, North Grove House, big house on Right in Grove Road North – here Sidney Smith Dickens, Dickens’s fifth son, was entered to study to become a naval officer at age 12 in 1859.

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