The Dickens Fellowship are very sorry to learn of the death of Donald Hawes. Donald died peacefully in hospital on Saturday 14 November having been diagnosed recently with advanced cancer both of the liver and the pancreas and had been unable to eat or drink very much at all for some time. Dickensians will remember him from his regular radio and television reviews in our journal, as well as from his other contributions to scholarship in books like Who's Who in Dickens (2001), Charles Dickens (2007) and his highly-respected edition of Barnaby Rudge in the Everyman Dickens series (1996).
Throughout December the town of Malton in North Yorkshire will be celebrating Charles Dickens with Victorian street theatre, music, food, dance, horse and carriage rides, celebrity performances and talks. Miriam Margolyes is headlining and other participants include Michael Slater and Lucinda Hawksley.
Dr Jeremy Parrott has revealed that he bought from a second-hand bookshop in Wrexham a twenty volume de-luxe set of Dickens’s journal All the Year Round. On examining the set he found that it was annotated in Dickens’s own hand to reveal the authors of many previously anonymous pieces. Contributions by Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Lewis Carroll are amongst those now identified.
The Tower Theatre Company, billed as 'the most active amateur theatre company in London' is presenting a production of Simon Gray's 2007 play about the relationship between Charles Dickens and Ellen Ternan. Performances are at the Teatro Technis in Camden from 9th to 13th June. Further information, including booking details and location map, is available at http://www.towertheatre.org.uk/little_nell.htm
Gregory Greenleaf from Maine in the USA has finished reading all of the completed novels of Charles Dickens. To celebrate he decided to write a song to mark the achievement of this decades old journey. It is called ‘Bella and I’ (from Our Mutual Friend) and he imagine it is the song John Rokesmith might have written for Bella Wilfer. It is well worth a listen via the link below. https://soundcloud.com/simple-things-amuse/bella-and-i
Guided tours of Dickens’s home at Gad’s Hill in Kent have been announced. They will all be on Sundays, from 12 April – 4 October and Saturdays from 6 June, starting at 13.00. For further information, please see the link below.
In 1852 Dickens travelled to Redhill in Surrey by train to visit the Philanthropic School there. He recorded his impressions in the Household Words article ‘Boys To Mend’ in September 1852.To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Reigate and Redhill being granted municipal borough status by Queen Victoria, Dickens’s great, great grandson – Christopher Whinney – has launched a well produced self-guide walk of the route Dickens took, which is attached.
The Fellowship is sad to report the death of Rose Roberts on 12 March 2015 at the age of 93. Rose was a mainstay of the New York City Branch of the Fellowship for over a quarter of a century and was a past President of the Branch. A fuller biography of Rose will appear in The Dickensian.
A recent meeting of the Central Fellowship established that the only big screen version of Our Mutual Friend in (part) existence is a Danish version. The Danish Film Institute website has a fascinating collection of still photographs and publicity material related to the 1921 screen adaptation - Vor Faelles Ven. It is available at http://www.dfi.dk/faktaomfilm/film/en/16009.aspx?id=16009
Those who attended the Fellowship conference in 2012 will have attended a splendid production of Barnaby Rudge at the King’s Theatre in Southsea. The adaptor was Eileen Norris, whose love of and faith in this novel is illimitable. Eileen has now devised a website devoted to the novel which can be accessed from the link below. It would be good to see another television adaptation of this undervalued novel; and Eileen seems the ideal candidate for the job! www.dickenslocksmith.org.uk
The Victorian Society alert us to the threat of destruction still facing the Cleveland Street workhouse which featured prominently in Dr Ruth Richardson's 2012 work Dickens and the Workhouse. A petition is circulating in an attempt to save the site and the link below will take you to it
The Dickens Fellowship regrets to inform members that George Wright, who served as Treasurer to the Fellowship 2002-2010, died on 3rd January. We extend our condolences to his widow, Jane, and all members of his family.
Ms Evgenia Amey seeks assistance in completing her Master’s Thesis project. Evgenia is completing a Master’s Degree in Tourism Studies at the University of Lapland in Finland and her thesis focuses on the experiences of tourists from the UK whose main motivation to travel to a certain place comes from fictional literature and for whom a literary visit has personal significance. If you are from the United Kingdom, and are willing to share your experiences – please contact Evgenia by email (email@example.com) before 01 January 2015.
Medway Council in Kent are offering coach tours of local Dickens related places. Tours start and finish in historic Rochester and include the villages of Cobham and Cooling, Cobham Hall and Gad's Hill Place.
Tours last two and half hours and run every weekend from Saturday 15 November until Sunday 21 December 2014. Tickets £10 adults, £7.50 concessions/child and include mulled wine and mince pie at the start of the tour.
Members of Rochester & Chatham Branch will be assisting the tour at Gads Hill Place.
9 December - 3 January London theatre Trafalgar Studios is showing a double bill of new productions based on Dickens's writings. Linda Marlowe stars in the London run of the Edinburgh Fringe success 'Miss Havisham's Expectations' and James Swanton stars in 'Sikes and Nancy'
The Discovering Literature section of the British Library website has interesting material on Charles Dickens. It includes articles and illustrations based on the collections at the B.L. www.bl.uk/people/charles-dickens or follow link on the Fellowship website (under Useful Links on left hand side of home page)
This summer the National Literacy Trust launched the Books about Town campaign to promote reading for enjoyment www.booksabouttown.org.uk. You may have seen benches on display in London Bridge / Bloomsbury / City / Greenwich areas.
The paintings that Dickens was familiar with in Rochester Guildhall, and which he has Pip describe in Great Expectations as: ‘shining black portraits on the walls, which my unartistic eye regarded as a composition of hardbake and sticking-plaister’ feature in a brief BBC news item that can be accessed below. Professor Cathy Waters of the University of Kent provides the commentary. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-21609238