Welcome to Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum
Charles Dickens – Portsmouth’s most famous son
Portsmouth, the Home of Great Writing, has touched the lives and works of Britain’s most famous writers - from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Michelle Magorian, from H.G. Wells to Neil Gaiman. But the city’s most famous son is Charles Dickens – novelist, journalist, and social commentator. Although homes in London and Chatham would later claim him, Dickens’ early life was spent in Portsmouth.
Charles Dickens was born at 1 Mile End Terrace (now re-named 393 Old Commercial Road) on 7th February 1812 - the first married home of his parents, John and Elizabeth Dickens. Here you can experience the authentic atmosphere of the comfortable Regency home which would have greeted the new-born Dickens. Much of Victorian Portsmouth still remains in the city’s streets and heritage, drawn upon by Dickens himself in Nicholas Nickleby. The Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum is the perfect place to start exploring and experiencing the work of one of England’s most famous and best-loved writers.
About the displays
The displays bring the birthplace to life, perfectly presenting the furnishings and style of the Dickens family.
A fully-furnished parlour, dining room and bedroom feature genuine Regency furniture and household items, allowing you to step into the world of the 19th century Dickens family. See exhibits belonging to the man himself, including personal possessions such as his snuff box and even the very couch on which he died.
Charles Dickens Guided Walks
Discover the area where the Dickens family lived and worked! These walks are led by Portsmouth Tourist Guides and take place on various dates over the year. They all start at the Victory Gate (the entrance to the Historic Dockyard) and finish at the Portsmouth Museum, Museum Road. This also provides an opportunity for you to see the "A Study in Sherlock" exhibition at the Portsmouth Museum, which showcases the largest collection pertaining to Doyle and his creation Sherlock Holmes in the world, making Portsmouth the home of great writing.
Come and hear readings of Charles Dickens' work
On the first Sunday of each month (April to September), come and hear readings from a selection of Charles Dickens' works, by members of the Dickens Fellowship. The readings are 'in the style of Dickens', and take place at 3.00pm, lasting around 45 minutes. Included in the usual admission price, no booking required.
Please contact Charles Dickens' Birthplace Museum on the day to confirm that the readings will be taking place.
For details of other events and special opening days at Charles Dickens Birthplace, see our Visitor Information page.
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A man who could build a church, as one may say, by squinting at a sheet of paper.
...Charles Dickens ”
A Tale of One City
Step back in time to where it all began. Packed full of historical artefacts and information about the Literary great.
For further information on visiting Charles Dickens' birthplace may be found in this section.
Comprehensive information for visiting schools and educational programmes regarding Charles Dickens.
If you would like further information about the Charles Dickens Birthplace and the work of the Portsmouth Cultural Services visit this section.
Birthplace Museum Enquiries