Dickens and Broadstairs

Charles Dickens visited Broadstairs in Kent regularly from 1837 until 1859
and immortalised the town as "Our English Watering Place".

He wrote "Our English Watering Place" in 1851. Having come to stay in Broadstairs in 1837 when he was twenty-five and already famous, with 'Pickwick Papers' the first of his novels, appearing in fortnightly parts the year before.

After lodging at 12, High Street, where he worked on 'Pickwick', he took a house, which is now part of The Royal Albion Hotel, where he finished 'Nicholas Nickleby'. He also stayed at Lawn House, which is now Archway House, where he wrote part of Barnaby Ridge and finally at Fort House where he spent the majority of his holidays in Broadstairs and wrote part of 'American Notes', 'David Copperfield' and 'The Haunted Man'.

It was at Fort House, now Bleak House, on his last long holiday in Broadstairs that he wrote 'Our English Watering Place' published in August 1852 and standing as a permanent reminder of his affection for the town.

In 1937, to commemorate the centenary of the author's first visit, Gladys Waterer, the then resident of Dickens House, conceived the idea of putting on a production of David Copperfield and of having people about the town in Victorian dress to publicise it.

Dickens Fellowship Logo

Thus the festival was born and, with the exception of the years of World War 2, has been held annually ever since.

The Broadstairs Dickens Fellowship was formed the same year - 1937 and constitutionally 'requests' the festival each year.

They still meet in Broadstairs on the first Wednesday of each month - new members are most welcome. A full programme of their events is available at www.dickensfellowship.org or contact Hon Sec of Broadstairs branch: chris.ewer@btinternet.com

The 'Global' Dickens Fellowship was founded in 1902 and the headquarters is based at the Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London, WC1.

As well as UK branches there are branches worldwide - Europe, Canada, USA, South America India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Broadstairs branch are in touch with other countries through regular newsletters.

Dickens and Broadstairs
Dickens and Broadstairs Dickens and Broadstairs

Below is an Extract from a letter, written by Charles Dickens to his great friend John Leech, which captures his feelings for Broadstairs

BROADSTAIRS FRIDAY, FIFTH OCTOBER, 1849 THERE has been a trifle of rain here-- a spot or two. But to-day is one of the most wonderful and charming days I ever saw, the air is so brisk and bracing as it is nowhere but at Broadstairs-- the Channel so busy and alive with shipping as it is nowhere but off Broadstairs-- the hotel is so cosy and like a private house as it is nowhere but in Broadstairs-- everything as nothing is out of Broadstairs. Veeve la Broadstairs!

Dickens and Broadstairs

For additional information about The Broadstairs Dickens Festival contact us.

The Broadstairs Dickens Festival reserves the right to make changes to Broadstairs Dickens Festival events and event schedules.

Contact Details


c/o Festival Treasurer
10 Lanthorne Road
CT10 3NH

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