What the Dickens? Statue in Portsmouth on DI Andy Horton's Marine Mystery Patch

The UK's first ever statue of the great author, Charles Dickens, is to be created next year to mark the bicentenary of his birth and it will be in Dicken's birthplace and my DI Andy Horton marine mystery country the City of Portsmouth, where I was brought up.

Designed by sculptor Martin Jennings, who also did the bronzes of John Betjeman in St Pancras and of Philip Larkin in Hull, the statue will be placed in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth. Dickens will be seated in a chair next to a pile of books in the statue.  The statue is the project of the Dickens Fellowship's Portsmouth branch, which is currently working to raise the £100,000 necessary for its completion, and has the support of Dickens's great great grandson, Ian Dickens.

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England in 1812. The house miraculously survived the bombing in the Second World War and the developers and is now preserved as a museum furnished in the style of 1809 which is when John and Elizabeth Dickens set up the first home of their married life there. It backs onto the motorway into the City, is close to the thriving commercial port, and surrounded by Council tower block flats nestling in a small road that has remained unscathed by the activity surrounding it. I think Dickens would have drawn great inspiration from the area as it is now.

It is well worth a visit.  It hasn't featured in my crime novels or thrillers yet but maybe it will soon, along with the statute. I'm really looking forward to seeing it and being able to walk up to it,  and touch it.


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